Since 2001, in collaboration with NFL Films and HBO, “Hard Knocks” has provided a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what it takes to prepare for a football season. Per Adam Schefter, the NFL plans to announce something that involves the future of “Hard Knocks” during “Thursday Night Football” in Week 2. Many think this announcement could simply be a precursor to a cancellation, but what if there are bigger plans?
Is “Hard Knocks” getting the axe?
It’s possible that after 16 seasons on-air, the show the NFL has referred to as the first sports-based reality series is getting the axe? Ratings have been down in recent seasons and to be fair, the drama just hasn’t been there.
However, “Hard Knocks” still offers an inside look that many fans crave. To anyone who tuned into 2021’s coverage of the Dallas Cowboys, there were still several heartwarming moments fans rarely get to see, such as Azur Kamara making the team.
Or like Isaac Alarcón and his family. Witnessing his mother become the biggest Cowboys fan in the stands, shouting words of excitement still sends chills through my spine. For Alarcón, he’s been working tirelessly to make the Cowboys’ roster since 2020 as a member of the International Player Pathway Program. An inspiration to young athletes everywhere, it’s hard not to root for players such as Alarcón.
Or how about Aaiden, the son of Trevon Diggs? His favorite player is Patrick Mahomes. Hard to argue with that right? The issue is, his dad happens to play with Dak Prescott, another great quarterback on his own, but he’s not Mahomes.
Cameras were rolling and they asked the younger Diggs, who his favorite QB was. His answer? Mahomes. Gotta love the honesty of innocence.
When it came time to meet Dak, he got the two confused, calling Prescott by the wrong name. Aaiden stole the show and it gave Cowboys fans an idea of how Prescott is off the field, interacting with his fans. Even if some still admittedly like Mahomes more.
As now-retired tight end Luke Willson said in the 2019 version covering the Raiders, “Some ships are made of metal. Some ships are made of wood. But the best ships, are friendships, and that’s the way it should.” Well, it appears the NFL’s friendship with “Hard Knocks” could be coming to an end. Or is it?
Could “Hard Knocks” be moved to a different network?
One interesting note omitted from Schefter’s tweet was any inclusion of HBO, the network Hard Knocks currently airs on. Could this change simply be to announce Hard Knocks is being moved to a different network?
Look at Amazon for example. They already have All or Nothing, an exclusive deal to stream “Thursday Night Football”, and are now considered front-runners to land NFL Sunday Ticket. Wouldn’t Amazon make perfect sense to pick up Hard Knocks if it were available? I wouldn’t rule it out.
Maybe “Hard Knocks” merges with All or Nothing?
To many, “Hard Knocks” is great, but having the show end just before the regular season begins leaves fans wanting more. What if the NFL decided NOT to end production when the regular season begins and instead drops a new episode every week of the football season?
There are about a million different ways production crews could take. Whether it’s sticking to the same somewhat tried-and-true method of following a singular team the whole season or hopping around to a new franchise each week, “Hard Knocks” has options.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle for the NFL to navigate is the fact that no team wants to draw the short straw, being forced to appear on “Hard Knocks.” Organizations like their secrecy. As we’ve seen over the years, none of the franchises volunteer to have cameras follow them around, potentially giving away clues to their opponents.
Nobody wants to be on Hard Knocks. Yet, there are some fanatics who eat up everything it has to offer. Look at the Peyton and Eli Manning Megacast for example. For some, it was pure gold. To others, it felt very different. Hard Knocks is much of the same. Some people seek out drama, where others sprint away from it. To each their own.
We’ll see what the NFL has in store for the future of Hard Knocks with their Thursday announcement. I may be in the minority, but I sure hope it keeps filming.