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Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Giants could end up on 'Hard Knocks'

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

So Deadspin figured out (actually, one of their readers figured out) that the New York Giants are one of eight teams the NFL could force to appear this year on HBO's "Hard Knocks," the annual miniseries that takes viewers behind the scenes at a team's training camp. You may remember that they had a tough time finding a team to do it last year and then passed a rule that said they could force any team to do it who didn't have a new head coach, hadn't made the playoffs in two years and hadn't appeared on the show in the last 10. Well, the Giants are on that list, along with the Bears, Bills, Cardinals, Jaguars, Raiders, Rams and Steelers.

The Giants have made it clear in the past that they would not welcome this. They disdained the way the Jets embraced the sideshow elements of the thing, and they generally hold themselves to be above such things (and most other things). Coach Tom Coughlin, who lives by his routines, would certainly not be happy about cameras filming every minute of training camp. The Giants would be a grouchy, unwilling partner in this enterprise. Which could make it kind of fun, in a way.

Now, there's a theory out there that Giants ownership is cozy enough with the league office and powerful enough among league leadership that the Giants get their way on matters such as this. I'm not going to sit here and tell you there isn't evidence to support this theory -- not with 10 inches of snow falling outside my window 12 days before the Super Bowl is to be played 18 miles from here in a stadium that doesn't have a roof on it, no sir. Combine the Giants' distaste for the idea with the fact that there are teams among the other 24 who might do the show voluntarily, and the chances of the NFL forcing the Giants to be on "Hard Knocks" seem very slim. But jeez, they'd better make the playoffs this year, or else that list of teams who can be forced to do it might be even smaller next year.

Side note: I think too big a deal is made of this anyway. I was in Jets camp a few years ago when they were doing the best season of "Hard Knocks" ever, with Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum hamming it up for the cameras while the Darrelle Revis negotiations were going on. The cameras weren't intrusive. HBO's been doing this for a long time now and knows how to stay out of the way and still make a good show. The Giants would complain, but in the end, it wouldn't make a difference in terms of how they prepare for their season, I don't imagine. I just think it would make a bigger star out of Antrel Rolle.