The outstanding HBO series Hard Knocks is still looking for an NFL team to profile during training camp for 2012. According to Michael Shain of the New York Post (via SportsBusiness Daily) , HBO wants to know who the team will be by June 1st (which is a week from today).
For months, Mike Florio of PFT has been saying that the Indianapolis Colts should be one of five or six teams that should vie for the show's spotlight. Florio stated recently that he has a feeling it will be the Cowboys.
Sorry, but we've seen the dysfunctional Cowboys on Hard Knocks before, and there is only so much of Jerry Jones' plastic face that I can tolerate.
For this upcoming season, Jim Irsay and the Colts should push to be on Hard Knocks. The reasons for doing so are obvious, with the most glaring one being that the Colts are losing money and need to grab the center of attention once again from the normally fickle, fair weather fanbase that defines the state of Indiana.
Season ticket renewal rate this off-season for the Colts was just 87 percent, six percentage points below last year’s rate. For whatever reason, some people in Indianapolis feel "betrayed" by Jim Irsay for cutting Peyton Manning. These same people will likely point to Manning's renewed health in Denver during the preseason and say Irsay made a mistake releasing a 36-year-old QB with four neck surgeries in two years. With each practice in August, each preseason game, Peyton Manning will dominate the headlines.
This will promote the Broncos while diminishing the Colts.
For those of you who think that winning cures all ills, think again. Look no further than the Indiana Pacers, who had a good team this year, yet still struggled to sellout playoff games. Star power and headlines drive sports interest, not simply winning.
If the Colts were to star on Hard Knocks, they would be the center of attention, not Manning and the Broncos. The show would introduce casual fans to new players like Andrew Luck, Coby Fleener, and Cory Redding. New head coach Chuck Pagano, who has drawn rave reviews from local press for his openness, sense of humor, and pleasantness on camera, would represent the franchise well on the show.
There is also Jim Irsay, whose always been a maverick in league circles. He too is great in front of a camera.
The knocks against Hard Knocks are that it is a distraction; that it opens the doors into the organization, allowing for opponents to gain some sort of competitive advantage by seeing how the featured team does its business.
Paranoia is far to pervasive in the NFL. This is football. It's about blocking, tackling, throwing, catching, kicking, and running. That's it. More often than not, the better team wins. Since the Colts are clearly "rebuilding" (no matter what the team says or thinks otherwise), who cares if people see more of the inner workings of the franchise?
Overall, the positives outweigh the negatives. With the insanely paranoid Polian family no longer in charge of the organization, now is the time to open things up a bit more. Hard Knocks would go a long way to helping this small market team earn a few more fans. I see it as a win-win.