The Washington Redskins head coach, Mike Shanahan, is the latest to decline the offer from HBO's series Hard Knocks to come and film during pre-season training. Interestingly enough, HBO never came calling in the first place. Coach Shanahan explains in an interview with Pro Football Talk " To be honest with you, they asked me to do it at Denver on my first year there and it was the first year of Hard Knocks. I just didn’t feel comfortable with being in that situation. You know, I can’t be myself. I don’t think coaches can be their self and I’d like players to concentrate on their job. I don’t know if it’s old school or what. You know, for me I just didn’t feel comfortable with that atmosphere."
When asked if they've approached the Redskins, he answered "No, they have not".
Among teams who have taken a pass on the show are: San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets, New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons and the Denver Broncos. Add the Redskins and we're at nearly 25% of the league saying thanks, but no thanks.
So this begs the question, why? Why don't these teams want the added exposure for themselves. Dan Snyder is an avowed media whore, as is Jerry Jones in Dallas. But yet, they're declining the chance to get in front of a national audience for a little "behind-the-scenes" access.
I have to believe that the reluctance to be a part of the show stems from the "Bounty-Gate" tapes that have surfaced for the New Orleans Saints this off season. The Saints had a chance at getting a slap on the wrist until someone with some video and audio footage came forward and sealed their fate.
That's not to say that the teams who have declined are doing anything WRONG, but in the eyes of the media, any little thing that is overheard or seen through un-educated eyes can potentially become a disaster for the franchise.
That is exactly why I believe nobody is interested in signing on for unhindered access to their training rituals. All it will take is for one microphone to pick up part of a conversation that is then taken out of context for those involved to get severely punished by Goodell, lord and master of the NFL.
So good. Make the game less accessible to fans because you're worried about your Public Relations more than the integrity of the game. You can blame the NFL front offices for this crap.