Don’t Buy the Hype with HBO’S Hard Knocks At The Lions This Year
Hard Knocks on HBO is one of my favorite shows. Every season, it gives me a little bit of an inside look at some of the players I might draft in my Fantasy Football leagues. And typically, it's been with teams who are on the "up and up" after a few bad seasons - Browns, Chargers/Rams, Raiders, Colts.
This year, though, they're at the Lions, and while SOME of those teams they've focused on before showed SOME life during their "Hard Knocks" seasons, I caution you... don't buy the hype from the show. It will only crush your soul during the regular season.
Last year, they focused on my lifelong team of choice - The Dallas Cowboys. It was our year. We'd been mediocre since the 90s, and struggled to do anything of significance, except botch crucial catches, fumbled field goals, and AWFUL CLOCK MANAGEMENT, all in playoff games.
Watching "Hard Knocks" brought back the excitement! New Head Coach, new players, an inside look at the "fun" they were having... it seemed, again, like it was our year. And we all know how that ended... 12-5, Division Champions (arguably in a dumpster fire of a division), and bumped out of the playoffs in a Wildcard Game against the 49ers with THAT play.
DAMN YOU HARD KNOCKS FOR GETTING MY HOPES UP!!!
So this year, the show is in Detroit, and already, there's a LOT of energy behind the team.
"From this time last year, we're at a higher level." - Dan Campbell, Lions Head Coach
Yes, we get it. The whole "this year's different than years past" thing. It's played out.
I know Dan Campbell has the team's best interest in mind, and arguably, there are a lot of great pieces in place to make the Lions a viable. Jared Goff isn't as "lame" as the rest of the NFL would make him out to be. D'Andre Swift is showing signs of being a top-tier Running Back, and Amon-Ra St. Brown is looking to accentuate an otherwise amazing Rookie Year. And speaking of Rookies, new Defensive End Aidan Hutchinson - Michigan born and bred - was the team's prized No. 2 overall pick this year.
But I said the same thing about the Cowboys.. and the Rams... and the Raiders... and the Browns. I drafted players in my fantasy leagues SPECIFICALLY because of things I saw on Hard Knocks. Almost none of them worked out.
Now, the difference here is, the Lions are coming out of a dismal few years.
So, if they DID end up with a 12-5 record like the last Hard Knocks team did, I'm sure Lions fans would be ecstatic. But it's still not enough, because you're still going to get quote like this from Dan Campbell:
"These guys are really competing, they're smart, they're relentless. These guys are gonna be a terror in the league."
THAT! That right there. It's motivation, and I'm sure right now, he believes it. They players might even believe it. But I still encourage Lions fans to at least be cautiously optimistic.
Nonetheless, Hard Knocks coming back DOES mean the NFL season is right around the corner. We've already seen one Pre-Preseason Game at the Hall of Fame Inductions. The official Preseason kicks off this week, and the Lions are actually playing the Falcons on Friday. You won't see anyone of significance on the field, except maybe a few rookies. But, it will be good to see teams back on the field, AND my favorite TV show come back.
Hard Knocks premieres Tonight (Tuesday, August 9th) on HBO at 10pm.