JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It appears the Jacksonville Jaguars’ chances of appearing on “Hard Knocks” have taken a hit based on several reports.
ESPN Houston Texans reporter Tania Ganguli reported Friday that the Texans were the favorite to appear on the HBO show, which showcases a team going through training camp and features behind-the-scenes footage. John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reported earlier Friday that the Texans were one of three finalists.
Also on Friday, Toni Grossi of ESPN radio in Cleveland reported that the NFL is honoring the Cleveland Browns’ request to not be considered.
In addition to the Jaguars, Texans and Browns, the following teams are reportedly also under consideration: Tennessee, Minnesota, St. Louis, Washington, Tampa Bay and the New York Giants.
An announcement could be made as early as next week.
While teams can request to appear or not appear on Hard Knocks, the NFL makes the final decision. In order to be under consideration, a team must not have made the playoffs within the past two seasons, have a new head coach, or have already appeared on the show.
The Jaguars meet those conditions but there are some other unwritten and unofficial criteria in play as well, such as a compelling storyline with a team or a high-profile player. The Bucs, for example, have quarterback Jameis Winston, the No. 1 pick in the draft. The Titans have quarterback Marcus Mariota, the No. 2 overall pick. The Giants have Odell Beckham Jr. and the Vikings could have Adrian Peterson in the fold, and his situation would make for compelling television.
Let’s not forget the Texans have J.J. Watt, who is arguably the best defensive player in the game.
As for the Jaguars, they lost first-round pick Dante Fowler Jr. to a torn ACL on the first day of rookie minicamp, they’ve won just nine games in the past three seasons, and the most nationally-recognizable player on the roster is tight end Julius Thomas.
But the Jaguars do have some compelling storylines, as well:
Quarterback Blake Bortles entering his second season and trying to rebound from a rookie season that saw him throw 17 touchdowns and post the worst Total QBR of any starter (21.9).
The three second-year receivers (Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns) growing along with Bortles.
Coach Gus Bradley is one of the most personable, energetic, and interesting people in the NFL. He’d be a huge hit on the show, both on and off the the field.
There’s one part of Hard Knocks, however, that makes some teams uneasy: The cameras are rolling when players are cut. It’s an emotional moment for both players and coaches and some teams are not comfortable with that arrangement.
The Jaguars will likely be featured on the show sometime, but it doesn’t appear that it’s going to be in 2015.