It’s fair to argue that the most recent season of “Hard Knocks” was the worst in the show’s history. Nevertheless, “Hard Knocks” is still consistently better than any other series on the sport by a significant margin. It’s not HBO’s fault that Joe Philbin acts like a peevish, passive-aggressive office tyrant and is eminently unlikeable. Still, “Hard Knocks” is almost certainly doomed. This is because the media has decided that teams are doing themselves a disservice by agreeing to be the subject of the show, because of the threat of distractions and fun and other sorts of things that reporters usually scold teams for.
That strategy has been pretty effective, as HBO had a hell of a time even finding a team to agree to be “Hard Knocks” this year. Producers were turned down by most of the teams in the league before they found a willing participant in the Dolphins. Of course, the Dolphins were then lambasted in the media for only doing it to court publicity and spectacle to an otherwise unwatchable team.
Whether the usual chiding by reporters would have been enough to eradicate the show entirely is debatable, the admission by Texans defensive end J.J. Watt that he was able to pick up the Dolphins’ snap count on Sunday thanks in part to “Hard Knocks” gives its detractors a concrete example to point to when they argue that being on the show hurts them competitively.
Watt made that statement on Mike Florio’s show. Floors, of course, is eager to sound the death knell.
[Hard Knocks] did nothing to help the team win. It routinely televised embarrassing and sensitive moments involving players, driving a wedge between the organization and its most important employees and potentially making it harder (and costlier) to attract free agents to South Florida.
If anyone wants me, I’ll be marshaling all the fun left in the world into a fallout shelter where the media can’t get to it.