My guess is HBO approached the Oakland Raiders about being the focus of its wildly popular series “Hard Knocks” and was told to get lost. That’s just a hunch, I have nothing to base it upon, unless you count 20 years of following the ups and downs of this enigmatic franchise a worthy source. If the Raiders had said yes, it would have been a ratings bonanza.
Note: If there is a Hard Knocks series to watch this summer, the Tampa Bay Bucs are the odds on favorite to be the featured team.
The Oakland Raiders and their energetic coach Hue Jackson would shine on the national stage. NFL Films would attempt to bring back the Raiders’ glory days and tie them in with the present, with the one common factor being owner Al Davis, obviously.
Would it be a fascinating series to watch? You bet.
However, what if there is no football,then what? How about these nonfootball editions of reality television. Hard Knocks: Jets Part II, Trolling High Schools with Mark Sanchez, Hard Knocks: Meet the Tebow’s and Other Inspirational Messages, Hard Knocks: Fun Facts about Daniel Snyder and the Indigenous Americans of Washington DC.
…And we’re back. The question is would Davis ever allow the HBO cameras more than just a peek behind the Silver-N-Black curtain? At the very least, it would be no worse then watching the harmless, yet entertaining antics of Gary Busey on "Celebrity Apprentice." And then we could all decide for ourselves if the Raiders are truly the most upside down run organization in all of professional sports.
Biggest storyline for the Oakland Raiders this offseason
This would be where the boss draws the line. Secrecy has long been a Davis trademark and that's not about to change now.
Still, who wouldn’t want to be a fly on the wall for Tom Cable’s alleged punch out of former Raiders secondary coach Randy Hanson? Or maybe we could have a special guest one day, say like Bill Romanowski? Rather than buying his tell all book, he could just show us what each little pill in his pharmaceutical suitcase does.
If 'Hard Knocks Napa Valley' did go down, it might look like this: Davis would be in his customary golf cart, meticulously watching Nnamdi Asomugha knock down pass after pass, (yes, I said it. Nnamdi stays) while Jackson is barking at Jason Campbell and the rest of the offense.
Richard Seymour would be asked for the thousandth time ‘which team got the better end of that Raiders-Patriots trade?’ Of course this could be a moot point, if Belichick decides to trade the No. 17 pick to the Chargers.
Meanwhile, the ongoing saga of Darrius Heyward–Bey plays out for everyone to see.
How did he look this day, how many balls did he drop that day, is he going to be the deep threat the Raiders so desperately need? These are the questions that will surround the former No. 7 overall pick until proven otherwise.
Just how much of a distraction was last year’s "Hard Knocks" series for Gang Green? Not much. For a savvy veteran group like the Jets, it wasn’t a distraction—it was a public relations boon for the organization. They were defeated in the AFC title game and there’s certainly no shame in that. But did Rex Ryan’s Super Bowl or bust proclamation ratcheted up the pressure?
You’re (expletive) right it did.
To be pragmatic about it, this young Raiders team doesn’t need the distraction or the pressure. They need to learn how to take their 8-8 season from a year ago and launch it to the next level. “Build a bully,” as someone in that organization once said. The Oakland Raiders on “Hard Knocks” would have been must see TV, but that’s precisely why Davis would turn them down. Somethings in this world are just better left a mystery.