The Detroit Lions are one of a handful of teams that could appear on the HBO show Hard Knocks prior to the 2020 NFL season, but how realistic are their chances of being picked when all is said and done?
Recently, Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com took the liberty of ranking all the potential teams to be featured on the show, and naturally, he doesn’t believe the Lions have much of a chance at all to get the call. Rosenthal placed the teams 1-5, and Detroit placed in the No. 5 spot in dead last.
Here’s what Rosenthal wrote about why the Lions might not appeal in the end:
“This is the second straight year the Lions are eligible. Hard Knocks producers went in a different direction in 2019, and we’re not seeing what has changed to sway opinions in 2020. Simply put, the Lions lack juice. This is a 3-12-1 team that will likely put its offseason focus on improving a dreadful defense. Barring the highly unlikely possibility of a Matthew Stafford trade, it’s hard to find an easy hook for this team. You’ll still get that Thanksgiving game, though, Lions fans.”
In 2020, the Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Denver Broncos, Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers are all eligible to be on the show. The Lions are a lone holdover from 2019, and there are some exciting new additions for the league to consider for this time around.
As Rosenthal writes, he believes the order will be Steelers, Broncos, Cardinals, Jaguars, Lions. Naturally, he thinks the Steelers will get the call and given their history in the league, that projection makes plenty of sense.
How NFL Teams Make Hard Knocks
Typically, the league will look at the teams with the best storylines for the cameras before making a choice, or will look to big market teams. Last season, the Oakland Raiders were the pick, and were featured given the emergence of Jon Gruden back into the NFL. In the recent past, squads like the Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Rams have been shown.
The ground rules to be featured on the show typically go as follows: teams will avoid being considered for the show if they have a first-year head coach, if they have a playoff berth in the past two seasons and if they have appeared on Hard Knocks in the past 10 years. None of these particular squads make that distinction for this season, thus, their inclusion on the short list.
As for the selection process this season, a team like the Steelers could be interesting for the league. They are one of the classic franchises, and while the big name players like Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown have left, they still have Ben Roethlisberger and a team looking to rebound to get back to the postseason next year.
Arizona and Denver have young quarterbacks, and Jacksonville will be looking to trying to rebound. As for Detroit, it could be interesting to get a peek behind how the team is charting a course for 2020 after a disappointing 2019 season on the field.
Will the Lions Be Featured on Hard Knocks?
When it comes to all the teams listed and their chances of cracking the game, there is one team amongst most that likely doesn’t want any part of the show, and it’s Detroit. The Lions might not want to be involved at all in the show given their comments on the matter months ago. From Bob Quinn to Matt Patrica, there is less excitement about being on the show than in most spots in the league given the competitive disadvantage the Lions believe it provides.
Smart money remains on the Lions being passed over again when all is said and done given their relative obscurity in the league, but if they are selected by the league, they will have no choice but to relent and be on the show.
Typically, an announcement on which team has been selected to the show comes in the summer, perhaps from the May-July period. If this reporter is to be believed, the Lions might not have much to fear.
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