One of the many storylines we’ve dealt with since Jim Tomsula arrived with the San Francisco 49ers was the question. The question of when/if the team would be selected to be on Hard Knocks once that inagural season for a head coach ended. The questions died quickly since the 49ers fired their head coaches, which made them exempt, but after Kyle Shanahan lasted for more than one season, it started creeping back up again as a possibility. It hasn’t been asked this offseason, because the 49ers are exempt.
Technically, any team can volunteer to appear on the show, but the NFL has had issues in the past with getting a volunteer. In 2013, they created some rules for mandatory inclusion. The league could require a team appear on the program, but they created three exemptions:
1. They have a first-year head coach in place.
2. They appeared in the playoffs in the past two seasons.
3. They have appeared on Hard Knocks in the past 10 years
This puts the 49ers out of Hard Knocks for 2020 and at least 2021 under the above rules. Would they volunteer? Hell no. I don’t know if you remember back to the 2019 offseason, but John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan made it very clear they had no desire to be on the show.
So who’s left? Well with the above rules that leaves the Pittsburgh Steelers, Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, and Jacksonville Jaguars. Of those teams, I’d probably be most interested in the Cardinals appearing. One the distraction trickles into the regular season (which helps the fan in me) and two, I could do a bit of Kliff Kingsbury for a few weeks of TV. The Steelers seem boring without
A ntonio Brown Mr. Big Chest to carry the show. The Broncos? I love Vic Fangio, but I think that show could be boring. Real boring. The Jaguars could be the sleeper favorite just to get some behind the film of Gardner Minshew which could be interesting.
And then there’s the Lions. I don’t know about you, but the Lions just seem, well, meh.
The Cardinals aren’t exactly the home run that the Raiders would be in 2019, but I think they stand out a bit better, with the Jaguars being a team to surprise you.
Anyone you’d like to see on Hard Knocks?