While most NFL teams offer fans the opportunity to attend several training camps during the offseason, nothing gets a fan closer to their favorite team the way HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’ does.
As the 2019 offseason enters full swing, it was recently announced that the Oakland Raiders will be the featured team this season.
Many teams prefer not to be on ‘Hard Knocks’ because of the insight it can give to opponents, but Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther has been on it before when he was with the Cincinnati Bengals, and he does not give merit to that issue, via Scott Blair of NBC Sports:
“I really don’t think [so],” Guenther said. “They do a really good job of staying out of your way. You can see, kind of, what’s going to be on the show. I think the positive thing is you find out a lot about your team and the coaches on the staff that, ‘Hey, when the camera is on you are you going to be a different guy or a different player or if you’re not.’ Because really after the third day, you don’t notice, you’re so used to having them around that you just go about your business.
“I don’t really pay attention to where the cameras are in the building. You just go about and coach the guys how you know how to coach them and that’s all you know how to do.”
While one would expect professional athletes and coaches to be accustomed to cameras, intrusion into an important part of the offseason can upset progress made as a team.
However, it is hard to deny the Raiders natural television appeal with head coach Jon Gruden, three first-round picks, multiple veteran players with questionable career choices and the upcoming move to Las Vegas.
For new Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who also was a part of that 2013 Bengals team that was on the show, filming ‘Hard Knocks’ would not be out of the usual and the key to overcoming TV distractions is to just treat it as any other day:
“No, you just come in every day to work,” Burfict said. “Obviously, there are cameras around the building but every day is a work day and just come and get better.”
While professional athletes can hopefully overcome the intrusion of HBO, this season, in particular, will be an important one for the Raiders. Bringing in a high profile player such as wide receiver Antonio Brown will certainly make for an interesting offseason and possibly television content.