Denver meets the three criteria for mandatory inclusion
While there are likely some teams that welcome the pandemonium that exists with extra cameramen around 24/7 during one of the most crucial parts of a team’s developmental period, most do not.
And nothing Vic Fango has said or done gives me any reason to think he is one of the anomalies here.
So if we operate under the theory that each team in the NFL would prefer to not have more cameras in their face while they try to build a team, then we can safely eliminate every team that has the option to say, “no”, to Hard Knocks.
That’s right, teams can say, “no”, as long as they meet each requirement. If a team has a first-year head coach, has made the playoffs in either of the last two seasons or has been on the show in the past ten years, they can say, “no”.
The only teams that don’t meet all three of those criteria (as of right now) are the Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Tennessee Titans.
However, each of these teams (except for Denver, Detroit, and Arizona) comes with a few question marks.
The Jaguars could be looking to start fresh after firing dictator Tom Coughlin and move on from head coach Doug Marrone, and the New York Giants could relieve themselves of the disaster that has been Pat Shurmer (9 wins in two seasons).
Meanwhile, we don’t know whether the Steelers or Titans will make the playoffs this season yet. Right now, the Titans currently have the final spot and the Steelers are right behind in 7th with Oakland in 8th. Those are the only three teams vying for the final spot at this time, and unless Oakland manages to pull off a 9-team parlay, either Pittsburgh or Tennessee will be in the playoffs and safe from HBO’s Hard Knocks.
So as of now, there are just eight teams that have to allow HBO’s Hard Knocks, with a chance of this number whittling down all the way to four by the end of Black Monday. We’ve got a good chance Broncos Country.