There's another thing in this life, in addition to death and taxes, that Detroit Lions' fans have been forced to get used to. Every July, just before the start of training camp, there's a rumor the team is being approached to join HBO's hit series 'Hard Knocks.' Then, every year just as fast, it gets shot down.
The Lions don't want all the invasive publicity, people say. However, the series is less about trying to unearth top secrets and more about showing fans what their favorite team's training camp actually looks like from the inside out. Yes, there may be ugly or frustrating moments, but that's to be expected where true reality television is concerned
Previous editions of the Lions didn't need Hard Knocks. The 2009 and 2010 teams, laden with rookies, certainly didn't need bright lights shining on them. 2011's edition, entrenched in an offseason of drama, didn't either. Time is finally getting right for Detroit to join the show, though, as the team matures and perhaps has a need to showcase that fact to the rest of the league.
Even though the Lions typically allow their fans a brief look inside the fortified walls of Allen Park from time to time during training camp, they'll always want to know more. They want to know what the inside of buildings look like, what the players and coaches say to each other and experience a whole new side to boring preseason games. It's the one thing the NFL has going to create drama and excitement around training camp and meaningless exhibition games, until scheduling alterations eventually do away with such nonsense.
Typically, Roger Goodell represents a polarizing figure, who's moves are widely criticized by fans and media alike. Goodell, for his part, could finally be right if he decides to force all teams to eventually have a place on Hard Knocks. What, exactly, are teams opposed to the show trying to hide? Are those teams actually the most dysfunctional behind closed doors? It doesn't help that the four teams mentioned by Carlos Monarrez as never wanting to appear on Hard Knocks—the Patriots (Aaron Hernandez trouble), Lions (offseason problems, team issues), Saints ("Bountygate" scandal) and Raiders (hey, they're the Raiders)–have all had substantial problems come to light during the offseason.
Those teams, and the Lions, should drop their paranoia act and allow fans a peek inside at their training regimen. As far as building excitement for a season goes, it could only help. Perhaps, it would also assist in breaking some recent stereotypes about Detroit football as well, such as Ndamukong Suh is a dirty playing, soulless robot, the Lions are a bunch of thugs and Jim Schwartz is an arrogant, clueless coach. None of those notions are true, but people will never get to understand that unless they're allowed access inside.
"You guys asked me how I felt about it," he told reporters, "and it's the same way I felt about it last year."
Despite that, every season is different, Tom. For the betterment of your brand as a whole, it's time to think outside the box and be more open to Hard Knocks.
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