New York Giants co-owner John Mara is not, nor ever has been a fan of the HBO reality series "Hard Knocks" which features NFL teams during training camp. In fact, back in 2010, Mara went as far as to say the Giants would appear on the show over his dead body.
"That announcement [to appear on Hard Knocks] will come when I'm next to my father in Gates of Heaven cemetery," Mara said.
At the time, appearing on Hard Knocks was entirely optional, so Mara was able to choose whether or not the Giants ever appeared. However, that all changed in October of 2013 when NFL owners passed a resolution forcing teams to appear on the show if and when there are no volunteers.
“I voted against the resolution,” Mara said at the time. “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.”
In addition to passing the aforementioned resolution, NFL owners also set a series of guidelines that would help determine which team appears in the event there are no volunteers. And it's those very guidelines that may doom Mara and the New York Giants in 2014.
The rules/guidelines that dictate which teams are eligible to be selected are as follows:
- The team doesn’t have a new head coach.
- The team didn’t make the playoffs in either of the previous 2 seasons.
- The team didn’t appear on Hard Knocks in the last 10 years.
Based on those guidelines/rules, it narrows the field down to eight eligible teams for 2014. Those teams include:
- Arizona Cardinals
- Buffalo Bills
- Chicago Bears
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- New York Giants
- Oakland Raiders
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- St. Louis Rams
Potentially narrowing the field down even further, the Jaguars did appear on an HBO special entitled "Inside the Training Camp: Jaguars Summer" that aired in 2004. Although not Hard Knocks, it was a very similar brand of show within the 10-year window and one that may eliminate Jacksonville from consideration.
In the event the Giants are selected (and that would be a foolish decision by NFL owners), you can expect John Mara to fight it. He views the show — and perhaps rightfully so — as nothing more than a distraction. It adds no value to the product put on the field each Sunday and does little more than sidetrack young players.
Even defensive end Justin Tuck was not happy with the owners' decision to force a team to appear in the event there were no volunteers.
“The NFL is trippin’,” Tuck said in October. “How are they going to pass a rule to force you to be on Hard Knocks?”
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