“Hard Knocks” may be going Hollywood this offseason.
The HBO series is planning, for the first time ever, to feature two teams: This year’s version of “Hard Knocks” will cover both the Chargers and Rams, according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter. NFL Films, which produces the series, could tackle several storylines with two teams in Los Angeles; it would “be special to figure out the creative for a ‘supersized’ series this summer,” one source told Schefter.
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There is one issue looming over “Hard Knocks,” of course. The ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic could threaten to cancel NFL training camps. The league has already been forced to adjust the format of the 2020 NFL Draft by moving all team personnel to separate locations in order to conduct a fully virtual draft. It’s impossible to predict if it will be safe to hold a typical training camp ahead of a new season.
As for the stars of the show, the Rams last appeared on “Hard Knocks” in 2016. After losing to the Patriots in Super Bowl 53 two years ago, the Rams finished 9-7 last season and missed the playoffs. They’ve stirred up a little drama with the recent release of star running back Todd Gurley and the reveal of a new logo. (The fan reviews weren’t great.)
The Chargers have followed a similar trajectory with a 12-4 season in 2018 followed by a 5-11 campaign in 2019. (They have never appeared on “Hard Knocks.”) It will certainly be a transition year for coach Anthony Lynn, as the Chargers will need to fill the void left by longtime quarterback Philip Rivers, who signed with the Colts in free agency. The team was reportedly in contention to sign Tom Brady before he chose the Buccaneers, so unfortunately for NFL Films, that juicy angle won’t be available to boost ratings.
Going the two-team route may be the only way to match the chaos of last year. Remember all of that stuff with Antonio Brown and Jon Gruden?
Good luck to the Chargers and Rams in trying to clear that high bar for entertainment.