On Tuesday, NFL owners met in Washington, D.C. for their fall meetings. There was not a lot on the docket, but one interesting vote revolved around the HBO show Hard Knocks. The owners approved a measure that would allow the league to "compel" a team to appear on the show if nobody volunteers. There will be certain exceptions to this. Teams cannot be required to appear if they made the playoffs in either of the two previous seasons, have a new head coach, or appeared on the show in the last ten years.
Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians was not pleased with this decision, indicating he would fight it if the Cardinals were required to appear. We all know the 49ers keep things close to the vest when it comes to the media. You have to think they would be less than thrilled with having to appear on Hard Knocks.
Given all this, the media decided to use Coach Harbaugh's press conference to inquire about this issue. Coach Harbaugh was not entirely annoyed by the idea. Of course, he may have known about the playoff exceptions, and figured he wouldn't have to worry about the show. Maybe that is why he was particularly low key about it.
Here is a transcript of his thoughts on the Hard Knocks stuff:
Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians had some strong words when he was asked about being on Hard Knocks, being compelled to be on Hard Knocks. What would be your take on being told that you have to appear on that television show?
"If that's something we were in position to do, then we'd certainly do it. I think it'd be good if there was a, kind of a criteria. You knew because of where you finished. A team from the AFC, a team from the NFC was the Hard Knocks team that year. Similar to how staffs do the Senior Bowl based on their finish or coach the Pro Bowl based on their finish or coach the Super Bowl based on their finish. Maybe there could be something like that. A criteria. I think they have one or are discussing one. So, I think that would be something everybody would know going in. It would be fair, so it wouldn't be arbitrarily assigned."
So you're saying that maybe the last place team gets to be on Hard Knocks the next year?
"No. Maybe you have the Super Bowl team and you have the team that played in the Championship Game, the team that had the bye. Maybe the team that had the third best record in the regular season was the Hard Knocks team next year. Just as an example, so it's set. Similarly how they dot the Pro Bowl and Senior Bowl. Just a thought, just thinking out loud."
But, the fact that they have cameras in meeting rooms, cameras in the GMs office, that seems to run counter to how you guys have operated. That wouldn't bother you to have that scenario?
"Like I said, if there was a criteria where everybody knew going in that that was the team that would be assigned. There's going to be teams that are going to be on Hard Knocks and that seems like a popular thing and something people want to see. So, I don't see it going away. You could stamp your feet and say I don't want to do it, but I don't know how productive that is for anybody concerned. You might have people a year from now, some team that's on Hard Knocks wins the Super Bowl and then everybody's going to be, ‘why can't we be on Hard Knocks, it's an advantage to be on Hard Knocks.' I don't know. I'm just, again, thinking out loud. I've probably given that a lot more time than it needs to."
Have you guys been tempted at all in these first three Jim Harbaugh training camps to go on Hard Knocks?
Have you talked about it internally?
"Haven't been tempted, no."
"Just haven't been tempted."
Have you ever watched it?
"Yes. I find it quite entertaining."