Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Could the primeval Giants who operate exclusively behind closed doors be the featured team on HBO’s 2014 “Hard Knocks”? Back in 2010, team owner John Mara offered up this response to the above suddenly relevant query: “That announcement will come when I’m next to my father in Gates of Heaven cemetery”.
Unfortunately for Mr. Mara — and Big Blue Nation alike — that final decision is firmly in the hands of the NFL. In 2013, the league passed a measure that gives it authority to force a team to appear on the show should there be no volunteers. The three stipulations for selection, all of which the Giants meet, are as follows:
1. The team doesn’t have a new head coach
2. The team didn’t make the playoffs in either of the previous 2 seasons
3. The team didn’t appear on Hard Knocks in the last 10 years.
Mara was never on board with the NFL’s verdict: “I voted against the resolution. I have nothing against the show. It may not be for us, but I understand why teams would want to appear on it. I just think that participation should be voluntary, not compulsory.”
Tomm Looney of Fox Sports tweeted yesterday that the Giants were among three finalists for HBO glory, along with the Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers. However, his tweet was quickly refuted by NFL Bleacher Report writer Mike Freeman. Freeman cited the words of NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, who reportedly denied the legitimacy of Looney’s list.
The five other teams eligible for “Hard Knocks” are the Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced recently that the chosen party will be determined in relatively short order. Cross your fingers, folks.