With Raiders on board, 'Hard Knocks' posts most-watched premiere since 2010 Jets

Jack BaerWriter

Antonio Brown’s feet and Jon Gruden’s Gruden-iness turned out to be quite the draw for the Oakland Raiders and HBO.

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The premiere of HBO’s “Hard Knocks” saw 879,000 fans tune in at home and via streaming on Tuesday, a 13 percent increase from last year’s Cleveland Browns premiere. It was reportedly the highest-rated premiere since the New York Jets hit the small screen in 2010.

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In case you don’t remember, that “Hard Knocks” Jets season had Rex Ryan, Darrelle Revis’ holdout and arguably the most infamous moment in show history. We’ll see if this season manages to top that.

Raiders were born for ‘Hard Knocks’

There is no shortage of explanations for why the Raiders saw strong ratings in their first episode on HBO.

Their head coach is one of the most well-known figures in football and an established television entertainer. They just traded for one of the NFL’s most popular and divisive players with Brown, who is now seriously missing time after getting “extreme frostbite” in his feet from a cryotherapy mishap.

Jon Gruden can still deliver the ratings. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Jon Gruden can still deliver the ratings. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

The team has two even more controversial players in Richie Incognito and Vontaze Burfict on its roster, though the premiere itself didn’t focus much on the two. And there’s also the matter of the team’s impending move to Las Vegas. A team with that much talent, personality and controversy makes for a compelling product.

Episode two figures to be a winner as well, given that the premiere didn’t even address the frostbite. Seeing Gruden’s face as the situation is discussed would be an absolute delight.

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