Posted on 22 April 2012.
NFL Network’s Albert Breer reported Saturday the Atlanta Falcons removed themselves from consideration for HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” meaning we’re back to the drawing board.
Where to now? You won’t agree with a word of this, but here’s my top five:
1. Carolina Panthers — Two words: Cam Newton. The chance to watch one of the game’s most engaging young stars prepare for Year Two. The show hinges on head-coach charisma, and Ron Rivera has the moxie to pull this off. A young, driven team, utterly disappointed with last year’s record and anxious to show they’re better than 6-10. Sign me up.
2. Washington Redskins — A year ago, if I had to pick between (a) nine straight hours of “Wheel of Fortune” blindfolded or (b) an equal amount of backroom Redskins footage with eyes wide open, we’re talking about a coin flip. This is the power of Robert Griffin III.
3. San Francisco 49ers — At February’s combine, watching Jim Harbaugh in real time was a revelation: witty, irritated, humorous, short with reporters and mystical, all wrapped into one. “Hard Knocks” couldn’t find a better coach-reality star in 2012.
4. New York Giants — The Jets are fine television, but if they’re unwilling to take another swing at the show, let’s focus on the New York team tasked with defending the world championship, not just talking about one.
Debate: Toughest schedule
5. New Orleans Saints — Nobody will go for this, but the name of this show is “Hard Knocks.” The skinny: A team that’s made grave mistakes, now forced to fight their way out of a corner. Great character development. For the players and coaches inside this organization — the ones who had nothing to do with the “bounty” fiasco — this is the training camp I want to see.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars — I can’t find anything compelling here. I know the gallant and mustachioed Shahid Khan is probably hot for this project, but (a) they’ve already been featured on a version of the show and (b) once was enough.
Honorable mention: Houston Texans, Denver Broncos (Manning wouldn’t touch it, Elway might) and the Indianapolis Colts.
We got this all wrong, right?
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