Although there are still a few weeks left in the NFL season, it's never too early to look forward to next season. Especially if your team is no longer playing for the Lombardi trophy.
Hard Knocks has become a staple of every NFL fan. It's the unofficial beginning of the new season. When you hear the intro music hit, you get chills down your spine knowing football is only a few weeks away.
Still one of the best intros I have ever seen in any show.
So for us fans of loser franchises, we always wonder when our team is going to be featured on Hard Knocks. While some may be against it because of the distraction it brings to the team, I have always been curious to see how my favorite team operates during training camp.
How does a team qualify for Hard Knocks? If any of these rules apply, they are exempt from being selected.
- The team has a first year head coach.
- They have reached the playoffs in one of the past two seasons.
- They have appeared on the show in the last 10 years.
So with those qualifications, that leaves five teams that are eligible to appear on Hard Knocks this year. The Broncos, Cardinals, Cowboys, Giants, and Panthers.
Let's breakdown the least interesting to most interesting team I want to see featured on Hard Knocks this year.
5. ARIZONA CARDINALS
The Cardinals might be the best team out of the group. They were one win away from the playoffs. I'm just not the biggest fan of the personalities on that team.
At the end of the day, it's not about the talent on the team. It's all about the stories and personalities of the players and coaches. We learned in the past that HBO could make anyone look like an All-Pro with their montage videos. At the end of the day, Kyler Murray seems like a pretty boring dude. Kliff Kingsbury isn't the most animated coach in the NFL. They do have Deandre Hopkins, who gave us this legendary Hard Knocks moment a few years back with the Texans.
Hopkins talking trash and breaking ankles isn't going to do it for me. With no other characters that come to mind, the Cardinals are the last team I want to watch.
4. DENVER BRONCOS
The Broncos are an interesting team. I am curious to see how Vic Fangio is as a head coach. Every time I see him on camera, he looks miserable. Of course, you also have how the Broncos are going to deal with Von Miller after the texting scandal he had.
There's going to be new leadership in Denver this season. After John Elway stepped down as the head decision-maker, let's see how George Patton can put this team back on the map.
I'm off the Drew Lock train. All that dancing and celebrating for a below-average QB makes me mad every time. If I wanted to watch a young, cocky QB, I'd turn on QB1: Beyond the Lights on Netflix. I wouldn't be mad if it were the Broncos, but they're definitely not in my top three when it comes to interest.
3. CAROLINA PANTHERS
Out of all the teams, I have a feeling it's going to be the Panthers that are going to be selected.
They have a good, young head coach in Matt Rhule. They're most likely going to draft a QB depending on how the draft shakes up. They also have one of the hottest assistant coaches in Joe Brady.
Myself, along with many fans that have heard the name Joe Brady the past two years are definitely interested in what this guy is all about. He's supposedly the next Sean McVay, and with everything we've seen, I can't disagree with that. How did he turn LSU into one of the best offenses we have ever seen in college football? How was he able to manage a semi-decent offense without Christian McCaffrey last season?
With an energetic head coach like Matt Rhule along with a young team looking to take the next step, the Panthers could be a fun one.
2. NEW YORK GIANTS
If there's one new head coach that made an impact with NFL fans, it's Joe Judge. The long time special teams assistant made waves this year. Whether it was his unusual practicing methods or not calling any of his players by name when he first took the job, everyone in the NFL world had an opinion on him.
Taping tennis balls on defensive backs hands, making players run laps, and major football energy. Joe Judge is the stereotypical football coach you see in movies.
Pair Judge with GM Dave Gettleman, who's known to have a big personality as well, and we could have one hell of a Hard Knocks. Although Daniel Jones has the personality of a doormat, I think seeing Judge rip his head off after a mistake he makes in practice would be some electric television.
Saquon Barkley is coming off a torn ACL, so seeing his progress for fantasy football fans would also be good. Knowing how the Giants owner, John Mara, feels about the show, the Giants probably won't be on it. But seeing Judge in his natural habitat would be awesome.
1. DALLAS COWBOYS
Imagine this. Mike McCarthy opens up his first team meeting with an intern that brings in a ton of watermelons. He gives a speech about how they need to change their mindset this year, then BOOM! He smashes a watermelon and the intro rolls on. That might compete with Jon Gruden for best opening on a Hard Knocks.
The Cowboys are coming off a season from hell. There's a lot of interesting storylines surrounding the Dallas-Fort Worth area. To begin, is Dak Prescott the QB of the future for the Cowboys? I expect Dak to get franchise tagged if they can't agree on a long-term deal. Coming off a huge lower leg injury, along with Jerry Jones' comments during the season, it will probably be the most talked-about story this offseason.
Of course, Jerry Jones is a lightning rod. Seeing him and his idiot kids construct a football team would definitely be hilarious. We've seen the Cowboys on Hard Knocks in the past, but this particular team is fascinating. They have all the talent in the world, can Mike McCarthy put it together? Or will he be another victim that tried to bring the Dallas Cowboys back to prominence?
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