BOURBONNAIS, IL - AUGUST 06: Earl Bennett #80 of the Chicago Bears breaks away from Chris Conte #47 during a summer training camp practice at Olivet Nazarene University on August 6, 2011 in Bourbonnais, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Back in October, the NFL and HBO announced that they had agreed to continue making the popular series "Hard Knocks," which chronicles an NFL team for four weeks while they go through their training camp and preseason.
It is an incredibly enlightening show, giving fans an inside glimpse into what it’s like to be an NFL player during the dog days of summer. From showing players getting cut to showing behind the scenes videos from meeting rooms as offenses and defenses are installed, the HBO series has been compelling television since it hit the air, and the league recognizes the power of having that kind of advertising for its brand.
When the continued relationship was announced, it was also revealed that, unlike in previous years where teams could decline to participate, the NFL can force teams to appear on the program if there aren’t any teams that volunteer to appear on the show.
That ability to compel teams to be featured on the show does have three exceptions, however. The first exception is that a team has hired a new head coach. The second is if the team in question has already appeared on the show. The third and final exception is if the team has been in the playoffs during the past two seasons.
For the 2014 edition of the show, that leaves eight teams that are eligible to be chosen. Those eight teams are the Arizona Cardinals, the St. Louis Rams, the Buffalo Bills, the New York Giants, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Oakland Raiders, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and…….the Chicago Bears.
That’s right, Bears fans. If no team volunteers to be on the show for the 2014 preseason, then the NFL could force the Bears to participate. Fans would get to see firsthand the adventures of Martellus Bennett as he cruises around Bourbonnais. Mel Tucker's efforts to install a new defense would be on full display. There might even be an entire episode of Marc Trestman and Phil Emery getting their nerd on while talking about football.
Other teams do have a fairly compelling case to appear as well. The Giants are a team that has been at the top of the heap fairly recently, but are going to be looking at some serious changes as free agency causes the team to rebuild around Eli Manning. The Steelers have a head coach in Mike Tomlin that’s made some serious waves. Heck, the Raiders could be a fascinating team to watch on the show as they screw up draft picks and sign horrible free agents.
We won’t know for a little while longer who will be on the show (the announcement usually comes around June), but it will be interesting to see if a team steps up and volunteers to do it, or if the NFL actually has to follow through and force a team to appear.
What do you think, Bears fans? Would Chicago be the most compelling club, or would another team make a better season than Cutler and company?