Even as 'Hard Knocks' shows signs of fading, NFL and HBO extend it for four more seasons

The HBO show “Hard Knocks” has been extended for four more seasons. (AP)
The HBO show “Hard Knocks” has been extended for four more seasons. (AP)

Last season, “Hard Knocks” wasn’t very good. The season with the Los Angeles Rams fell flat because the Rams were the dullest team that has been on the show and every story line could be predicted before the opening credits rolled.

The NFL isn’t giving up though, as Sports Business Daily reported that the HBO show has been extended for four more seasons.

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One big problem is that teams don’t want to be on the show. The Rams “volunteered” to be on the program (sure they did), but it seems obvious they were on because the NFL wants us to believe everyone is excited about football in Los Angeles, even though Los Angeles itself doesn’t seem to care much. We’ll be exposed to the incredibly boring 2016 Rams again on Amazon’s “All or Nothing” series, which was a compelling show when it featured the highly entertaining Arizona Cardinals last year.

Until the NFL can figure out a way to get a marquee team on (if the league got the New England Patriots to do it, that would fix pretty much every problem the show has), it’s just not going to have that much pop.

The other issue is tougher to figure out. There have been 11 seasons of “Hard Knocks.” They’ve settled on the same types of players to feature. Those angles were great early on in the series, and now they’re practically a drinking game (“Finish your beer when they show the family that has had to move from city to city as the veteran player battles for a job!”). If you watched “Hard Knocks” and “All or Nothing” last year, there’s zero doubt “All or Nothing” was better. “All or Nothing” was different and new, following a team around during the regular season. We’ve had more than a decade of “Hard Knocks.” We can guess what this season’s show will be like before we even know which team will be on.

Make no mistake, “Hard Knocks” was an excellent, groundbreaking show in many ways, for many years, and it deserved every award it got. It’s just hard to keep the show fresh, especially when it’s obvious no NFL team wants to be on it.

Maybe the show will rebound over the next four years. Having a more interesting team on will help. It’s hard to see the NFL forcing one of the top teams to do it, but whichever franchise is told it has to be on will be more watchable than the Rams.

There will officially be four more seasons of the show. Plenty of challenges are ahead.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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