The wait is over; HBO and the NFL announced on Tuesday that the Oakland Raiders will be featured on this season’s edition of Hard Knocks. Whether you want the team to be on the show or not, it’s here to stay and all we can do is embrace it.
Oakland has a lot of dynamic personalities, which is why a lot of people (like Jay Gruden) have been clamoring for the team to be on Hard Knocks. A lot of people will point to head coach Jon Gruden or wide receiver Antonio Brown as the likely star, because of their popularity and personalities. However, I think there is one Raider that is being overlooked as a potential star for Hard Knocks: defensive tackle Ronald Ollie.
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Hard Knocks has gained popularity because the show offers an inside and in-depth look into training camp. While the big names help increase people’s interest in the show, the compelling storylines are with the players trying to make the roster. These training camp battles are what helped Hard Knocks gain popularity and become the show it is today. Ollie is exactly what the producers of Hard Knocks should be looking for.
Not only will Ollie be competing for a roster spot, but also he already has a brand and some star power to him. Back in 2016, Ollie was featured in Netflix’s Last Chance U and most of the viewers fell in love with Ollie’s big personality. Unlike most players competing for a roster spot, Ollie already has a brand and one that people have already shown interest in. The blend of his star power and compelling storyline is exactly what Hard Knocks is or at least should be looking for.
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In recent years, Hard Knocks has slightly shifted its focus from the training camp battles to portraying the more popular players. Why? Because the stars are what draw interest and what the majority of people care about. While this might appeal to the masses, Hard Knocks aficionados like myself have felt the show has gotten away from what made it so special. Ollie can be the perfect person bridge this gap because as mentioned above, he is someone that the masses care about and will be involved in a traditional Hard Knocks training camp battle.
It also helps that Ollie has previously been a reality television star and a football player simultaneously. He should be more comfortable and his personality might be more apparent than others.
Obviously there are a lot of personalities to pick from, but comment with who you are most excited to watch on Hard Knocks.