HBO’s Hard Knocks Shunned By Five Teams, Now What?

Once upon a time, HBO’s Hard Knocks was “can’t miss” television. The inside look into training camp was unlike anything general fans had ever been privy to. The first season in 2001 featured the Baltimore Ravens and didn’t disappoint.

Coach Brian Billick, Ray Lewis, Tony Siragusa and company, having just come off a Super Bowl win the previous season, shared the rigors of two-a-days and meetings, the joys of practical joking, and the heartbreak of cut day.

Wow. Todd Heap looked brand spankin’ new.

Fast forward to 2011 and the luster may be gone. Five NFL teams (Detroit Lions, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, and the New York Jets) have turned down an invitation from HBO to appear on the show.

Last season the New York Jets (yes, a 2011 appearance would be a reprieve) were the featured team, and the star was inarguably their head coach, Rex Ryan.

Ryan was brash and candid, so much so that his persona took on a life of its own. He was oft quoted, mimicked, and in some cases ridiculed (there was controversy behind alleged photos and video of Ryan’s wife’s feet that surfaced on the net).

Could it be that the onslaught of attention and criticism the Jets franchise received became a red flag for other teams?

Maybe, maybe not.

The NFL Lockout also plays a great part in this. Obviously if there is no football, HBO will have to scrap their plans anyway.

I hope it doesn’t come to that. I am a Hard Knocks junkie.

Other teams featured on past seasons of HBO’s Hard Knocks include the Dallas Cowboys (2002, 2008), the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Cincinnati Bengals.

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