With a Minnesota Vikings victory and the New York Giants loss, New York has officially been eliminated from the 2018 postseason and now all of their attention and focus can be shifted to the 2019 offseason. If things break in a certain direction, the 2019 offseason could be a very eventful one for Giants fans that culminates in the team’s first ever appearance on HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’ television series.
The Giants are a strong candidate to be forced into appearing on Hard Knocks this coming August. For starters, the NFL and HBO established a set of rules before agreeing to create and continue the annual late-summer television series. Those rules include three key exemptions for teams who do not wish to participate in Hard Knocks.
1. If you have a first-year head coach, you are exempt. 2. If your team has made the playoffs in either of the past two seasons, you are exempt. 3. If your team has been the featured franchise in Hard Knocks during any of the last 10 years, you are exempt.
The Giants do not qualify for any of the three exemptions unless they do the unexpected — and they won’t — and fire first-year head coach Pat Shurmur. While HBO will look to fill this season with a willing participant if no other team wants to take that spot, the Giants could be forced to make an appearance. We use the word forced because Giants co-owner John Mara has gone on record multiple times in the past about his reluctance to have his franchise featured on the series.
“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,” Mara said back in 2013 before adding that the Giants would only appear over his “dead body”.
Giants co-owner Steve Tisch also shares the same opinion as Mara.
“I don’t think it brings anything to the team,” Tisch said to TMZ back in 2013. “It’s a bit of a distraction and I think it’s sort of misleading for the players … especially the young guys.”
“Even though it comes off as a documentary, you’re asking young athletes to perform,” Tisch said. “Perform on the field … don’t perform in the locker room for a TV show.”
It’s possible though unlikely either owner’s opinion has changed since. Having said that, if no other NFL team is willing to volunteer for the series, the Giants ownership could be out of luck.
Here are all the other teams in addition to the Giants who do NOT qualify for any of the three exemptions: Washington Redskins (unless they fire Jay Gruden), Detroit Lions (unless they unexpectedly fire Matt Patricia), San Francisco 49ers (unless they unexpectedly fire Kyle Shanahan), Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts (ONLY if they miss the 2018 playoffs), Denver Broncos (ONLY if they unexpectedly retain Vance Joseph), and the Oakland Raiders.
If HBO deems the Giants to be the most exciting team — should they say make a quarterback change and bring in a rookie from the 2019 NFL Draft — it will be difficult for ownership to find a way out of participating this August.