Every year, the NFL chooses a team to be featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks. The Raiders could be the lucky one that is selected and if that were to happen, it would be a perfect time to gauge how much the team has grown… or not.
There’s a three step formula to picking an NFL franchise to partake in Hard Knocks. Teams with a rookie coach can’t appear on the show. The Raiders are going into year two under head coach Jon Gruden. If they made it to the postseason either of the last two years, they’re out… of the show, not the playoffs and Oakland had a losing season in 2018, so they fulfill both requirements so far.
Last but not least, they need to make themselves available if they haven’t been part of the series and since the inception of the show, the Raiders have never been in it, so they will have no problems clearing the three steps. Other teams, such as the Browns and the Redskins qualify, but there is no better choice than the Silver and Black.
Gruden has always been one of the most colorful personalities in the league. Win or lose, there is always an entertaining nugget coming out of his mouth and it isn’t in one bit surprising that he would put together a team of many different personalities together.
As immature as wide receiver Antonio Brown has behaved lately, his penchant for dumb Tweets is only second only to his ability to influence his team positively and make plays on the ball. Also, his former rival, linebacker Vontaze Burfict signed a one-year deal with Oakland. There’s nothing better than seeing enemies join forces in order to fight (literally and figuratively) a bigger evil or in this case, foes in the AFC West.
Moreover, the Raiders just signed unstable but talented guard Richie Incognito. He could mesh well with his teammates or he could make the locker room implode. Either scenario is must watch TV. Something that can spice things up is the fact that the former Bill will play for offensive line coach Tom Cable, who has his own history of violent interactions.
Lost in all these personalities, quarterback Derek Carr’s calm demeanour should complement the rest of the team. It remains to be seen if he truly is the franchise quarterback everyone (including himself) needs him to be.
Even without Hard Knocks, all these are plots everyone should have an interest in. However, some argue against the Raiders being featured on the show because it can be a distraction and can’t prevent the Alameda team from developing chemistry.
The show would bring an army of cameramen and all kinds of personnel a TV production needs such as chefs, electricians, make-up artist and so on. Of course, it is distracting to have a crew next to every single member of the staff, but NFL players are professionals after all and anyone who claims to be the best at their trade is going to perform regardless of the circumstances.
Saying that the Raiders will lose because of a group of outsiders would be a weak excuse to say that they aren’t good enough. Although it’s true that no team that has appear on Hard Knocks has gone to make it to the playoffs, it feels like those teams were not worthy enough to begin with and might have had a losing record whether they they were featured or not.
The brightest stars shine through adversity and if the Raiders can’t thrive under the spotlight that Hard Knocks brings, the aren’t ready for cable television nor playoff contention.