- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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No, I don't think it'll happen, but the plain fact is that the New York Giants are one of the teams the NFL could compel to participate in this year's edition of HBO's "Hard Knocks" if no team volunteers.
A team is exempt from "Hard Knocks" only if it meets one of the following three criteria:
It has a new head coach.
It has made the playoffs in at least one of the previous two seasons.
It has appeared on the show at least once in the past 10 years.
Because Tom Coughlin is entering his 12th season as the Giants' head coach, they haven't made the playoffs since 2011 and they've never been on "Hard Knocks," the Giants are fair game if the league can't find anyone else to do it. They've made it clear throughout the years that they have no interest in participating in the series, which follows a team through training camp and televises behind-the-scenes aspects of its operation. Coughlin and the Giants are very secretive and guarded with inside information and also believe the series would be a distraction as they prepare for the season.
So, because the Giants are something of a favored franchise and John Mara wields a great deal of power in the league, I'd be surprised if they were forced to do "Hard Knocks" against their will. But that didn't stop us from imagining them as one of four candidates, along with Houston, Buffalo and Washington, for this year's show. Here's what David Auguste had to say on the possibility:
Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. just exudes swagger and is in the midst of an NFL takeover that has seen him reel in the catch of the year and land the "Madden 15" cover. Next, America gets an inside look at his meteoric ascent and all the insane grabs previously not privy to cameras.
How red can Tom Coughlin's face get? We're sure to find out as rookies bungle drills and draw the ire of the fiery coach.
Manning face! Manning face! And more Manning face!
Look, I've been to Giants training camp, and I don't think it's interesting enough to make for a good TV show. J.J. Watt, Rex Ryan and Robert Griffin III offer much more ratings and entertainment value than the Giants do. Beckham is the one truly compelling superstar they have (no offense to Eli Manning, who's remarkably accomplished and quite pleasant to talk to but not likely to carry his own TV show at this point), and Coughlin's grumpiness at having to do the series likely would wear off as a novelty early on.
But if something weird happened and the Giants ended up on "Hard Knocks," I'd caution fans not to worry too much about it. I was around the Jets in training camp the year they were on the show, and the cameras were really not intrusive at all. Players and coaches had a chance to ham it up if they wanted to, but they weren't required to, and the Jets didn't suffer for having been on the show. They went 9-7 and reached the AFC Championship Game.
So again, likely nothing to see here, but if it did happen, neither Coughlin, the Giants nor you would have any reason to think it was any kind of horrible imposition.
If the New York Giants ended up on "Hard Knocks," I'd caution fans not to worry too much about it.