The Detroit Lions – as closed off as the franchise might want to be – has been pretty open and transparent about one thing: There is little to no interest in being on HBO’s "Hard Knocks." For months now, general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia have been campaigning against it.
They even suggested at the team’s season ticket holder summit how good of a candidate the Oakland Raiders and Jon Gruden would be – and that was before the franchise traded for Antonio Brown. At the end of all of it, though, the Lions also know they have little actual say in the matter.
If HBO wants the Lions, the Lions will have to comply.
“It’s an interesting thing because obviously we’re one of the teams, as you all know, that could be forced to be on it,” Lions team president Rod Wood told reporters at the NFL owners meetings on Tuesday. “I’d much rather end up in a position of not being forced to be on it.
“Since we’re in that position I guess we’ll have to live with the consequences of what they decide.”
Wood said there haven’t been any “direct conversation” about whether the Lions would be the team the popular television show chooses for the year. And he also wasn’t sure about the timetable for a decision, although in past years the decision has usually come down in April or May.
He also didn’t know if the Lions were still under consideration or had been eliminated from those talks. Detroit is one of five teams that would have to do the show if asked. The others are the Raiders, Giants, Redskins and 49ers.
There is a thought, of course, that doing the show could help the marketing side of a team, but Wood said they would prefer not to be in this position.
“There’s the episodic viewing of it on HBO and does that help the brand somewhat depends on how well it goes, I think,” Wood said. “As I said, I’d much rather not be qualified for it. Let’s be in the playoffs, not be one of the teams that are eligible.”
While the Raiders seem like the obvious option, here’s something to consider. That franchise might be more intriguing in 2020 – if you work with the thought that Oakland isn’t going to fire Gruden and on paper seem like a non-favorite to make the playoffs – when the club is expected to start play in Las Vegas.