Four NFL teams are eligible for ‘Hard Knocks’ in 2023, and three of them don’t seem to want to

The NFL might have a hard time finding a team for “Hard Knocks” this year, and that’s because HALF of the teams eligible for the show don’t seem to have any interest in going on the show.

For those of you unfamiliar with the “Hard Knocks” formula, a team doesn’t must be on the show if ONE of the three rules below applies to them:

  1. They have a freshman head coach in place.
  2. They have a playoff berth the past two seasons.
  3. They have appeared on “Hard Knocks” for the past 10 years.

For example, the Denver Broncos don’t need to be in action in 2023 because they will have a new head coach. The New England Patriots won’t have to be on the show because they’ve made the playoffs at least once in the past two seasons and the Dallas Cowboys won’t have to be on the show. show because they’ve appeared on “Hard Knocks” for the past 10 years.

When we consider these three rules and apply them to everyone, we are left with only four teams that the NFL can force to be on “Hard Knocks” this year:

  • New York Jets
  • Chicago Bears
  • New Orleans Saints
  • Washington Commanders

The obvious choice here would seem to be the Jets, who will instantly become one of the most compelling teams in the NFL once traded for Aaron Rodgers. However, I wouldn’t bet anything on the Jets’ selection as they don’t seem too excited about landing on “Hard struck.”

Jets special teams captain Justin Hardee wants nothing to do with the show, which he says would be a distraction.

Jets owner Woody Johnson and head coach Robert Saleh were recently asked how they feel about being on “Hard Knocks” and they both dodged the question.

“I’m going to leave that one alone,” Saleh said at the NFL’s annual league meeting last week, via ESPN.com.

As for Johnson, he gave a very evasive answer.

“Whether we do it this year, I think we’ll have to seriously think about it,” Johnson said, through the New York Post.

It might sound like Johnson is on the fence, but if he was in favor of doing the show, he’d probably say that. For example, in 2012, he clarified that the team was open to be on “Hard Knocks” (they didn’t end up being cast that year, though). The Jets previously appeared on Hard Knocks in 2010, best remembered for Rex Ryan telling his team to go eat a “God d — snack.”

As for Johnson and Saleh, if you want to be on the show, you would just say you wanted to be on the show when you were asked about it. If you don’t want to be on the show, you’ll dodge the question or just say you don’t want to be on the show, which is the route taken by Bears president George McCaskey.

McCaskey made it clear at the league meeting that he would be happy to see any team on the show this year except the Bears.

“We think there are a number of teams that have compelling stories to tell on ‘Hard Knocks,'” McCaskey said during the owners’ meeting, via The Athletic. “Thirty-one more.”

On the commanders side, Jeremy Reaves of Washington, who was a special teams All-Pro in 2022, doesn’t seem very interested in putting on a show.

One thing that works in Reaves’ favor is that the NFL might be hesitant to put the spotlight on Washington right now. The team is going through a lot of drama related to Dan Snyder and even though he is looking to sell the team, there is still a chance that he will be the owner when ‘Hard Knocks’ begins this summer.

Even if the Jets, Commanders and Bears don’t want to be on “Hard Knocks,” that doesn’t mean they won’t be picked. The NFL can force any of the four eligible teams to participate in the broadcast. The Raiders didn’t want to show off in 2019, but the NFL chose them anyway. On the other hand, the Jets, Commanders and Bears could be off the hook if a team volunteers to appear on the show. The Rams and Chargers put on a show together in 2020 even though they weren’t on the list of eligible teams.

With only four teams eligible this year, the Jets, Commanders and Bears are hoping someone else will volunteer or the NFL will end up picking the Saints. New Orleans could actually be a fascinating pick with the addition of Derek Carr, plus the Saints have never been in the series.

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