HBO Better off Canceling Hard Knocks Than Featuring Jaguars
Slowly but surely, teams from across the NFL are turning down the opportunity to appear on HBO's highly acclaimed television show Hard Knocks. The Houston Texans added their name to that ever-growing list on Thursday, according to John McClain of The Houston Chronicle.
However, one NFL team—the Jacksonville Jaguars—has remained interested this offseason in participating with the Emmy Award winning show. Their interest was confirmed again this week by beat writer Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Union.
But if HBO eventually runs out of viable options and is forced to turn to the Jaguars in order to produce the show, Hard Knocks should seriously consider canceling for 2012.
While interest in football and the NFL is at an all-time high level, there simply wouldn't be enough national interest in a training camp documentary featuring the league's least popular franchise. The story lines coming from Jaguars camp would likely be few and far between.
Maurice Jones-Drew is a recognizable face, and has always been a compelling character in front of the cameras, but the Jaguars wouldn't offer much beyond their best player.
A potential quarterback battle between Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne would be the only other potential storyline worth looking into, and even that scenario looks unlikely. Head coach Mike Mularkey is already on the record, NFL.com's Albert Breer reports, stating that Gabbert is and will be the team's starting quarterback in training camp and beyond.
I’m not a big show guy or one of those guys that likes to be behind the camera or stuff like that. If the team wants it then obviously we are going to have to deal with it … If the organization wants that, then obviously it’s going to be great media to the team and get to know some of the guys on the Jaguars.
Jacksonville might also struggle to keep up with the historical entertainment value of the show. Compared to the cast of characters we are used to seeing involved with the show, the Jaguars don't offer much.
Should HBO's Hard Knocks have the show during training camp if the Jacksonville Jaguars are the only NFL team willing to participate?
Think back to the days of the Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals, or most recently the New York Jets, who gave HBO arguably its best season in the show's history. The contract holdout of Darrelle Revis, combined with the profanity-laced tirades of head coach Rex Ryan, gave HBO television gold during the 2010 training camp.
How do the Jaguars continue that tradition of quality watching value?
When the dust finally settles, it may be hard for HBO to turn down the Jaguars for a role on the show. Hard Knocks has been active in finding a suitable team, but throwing a franchise that actually wants to participate under the bus would be an ugly black eye for the successful show.
But considering how small the Jaguars fan base currently is, and the lack of national attention a showing featuring Jacksonville would generate, HBO's best move would likely be to pull the show if no other franchise steps to the plate.
It's a harsh reality, but there's few who would want to watch a Hard Knocks season with the Jacksonville Jaguars as the featured franchise.
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