The Raiders really, really don't want to be on 'Hard Knocks' this year

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis really doesn't want his team to be featured on "Hard Knocks" this year. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis really doesn't want his team to be featured on "Hard Knocks" this year. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

It’s been a transformative 15 months for the Oakland Raiders. They got a new coach, traded a star player, had a putrid season, and then signed and acquired a slew of new players that should give fans a reason to care about the team in 2019.

It would be interesting to see the latest phase of the Raiders’ transformation on HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” a reality show that follows one team a year during NFL training camp. But that’s exactly what Raiders owner Mark Davis doesn’t want.

Mark Davis wants nothing to do with “Hard Knocks”

The Raiders are one of just five teams eligible for “Hard Knocks” this year. And despite how interesting it might be for fans to see the Raiders featured, Davis doesn’t want his team to be part of it. He joked to ESPN that he’d rather fire coach Jon Gruden and hire him back, since teams with first-year coaches aren’t eligible to be on the show.

Joking aside, Davis does have actual reasons he doesn’t want the Raiders to be on “Hard Knocks.”

"It would be disruptive," he told ESPN at the NFL owners meetings on Tuesday. "We've got a lot of business to take care of, get ready for the season. I appreciate that they might think we'd be great TV, but we got something to accomplish."

With all those new players (not to mention the drama that seems to follow Gruden everywhere), the Raiders would definitely be compelling on “Hard Knocks.” But that also seems to be why Davis doesn’t want that scrutiny. It’s hard to blame him — the show is fun and interesting for fans to watch, but what team wants to have their business aired on national television?

Does anyone want to be on “Hard Knocks?”

The Raiders aren’t the first team this year to publicly resist the intense zoom lens of “Hard Knocks.” Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn made it clear to ESPN in February that they didn’t want their team to be the (un)lucky one picked this year. They both pointed to the Raiders as the ideal team, with Patricia saying it would be “fantastic viewing” before agreeing that being on “Hard Knocks” would be like having a weeks-long root canal.

There are three other teams eligible: the San Francisco 49ers, the Washington Redskins, and the New York Giants. It’s hard to imagine any of those teams being more compelling than the Raiders, but at least the Giants have a high awkwardness quotient with Eli Manning still at starting quarterback. The Raiders would undoubtedly be better, but both teams have that train wreck factor that could make for excellent TV.

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