- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery has expressed repeatedly a desire for HBO’s cameras to skip his team when making a decision on what club to feature on the reality series “Hard Knocks,” but he may not have a choice in the matter.
Deadspin.com recently pointed out that the Bears could be one of eight NFL teams forced to appear on HBO’s series in 2014. The NFL’s owners passed a rule in October that could force teams to appear on the show if no other club volunteers.
Teams exempt from the rule would be those that have made the playoffs in one of the last two years, clubs with new head coaches or those that have appeared on the show within the last 10 years. Obviously, the Bears don’t fit in any of those categories.
The NFL’s owners passed the rule because in 2012 multiple teams declined offers to appear on the show.
“To me, it’s all about football,” Emery said when asked about “Hard Knocks” back in 2012. “Personally, no. But if that was in the best interest of the club, I’m sure we would all consider it. If that helped bring the Chicago Bears, particularly to our fans in Chicago, we would consider it.”
But Emery hasn’t backed off his general reluctance to have the Bears featured on the show. During a live chat on the team’s official website in September, Emery was asked again about the possibility of the Bears appearing on "Hard Knocks."
Emery responded: “As I spoke about in our first press conference at the start of camp, we are a traditional organization that feels our best connection with our fans is to come down to Bourbonnais, [Ill.], and enjoy the live experience with us. There’s nothing like seeing the team through your own eyes and how it’s coming together.”
But the possibility definitely exists now that fans sitting on the couch for training camp in 2014 can get an even closer look via HBO's plethora of cameras -- if that's the direction the show decides to take.