Over the past few seasons, HBO has followed one NFL team throughout the preseason to get a very personal view into what usually is behind closed doors. Hard Knocks does a great job of showcasing the personalities of coaches and players just like in other reality television shows. Hard Knocks started in 2001 with the Baltimore Ravens but gained popularity with Rex Ryan’s Jets in 2010. Last year, the Houston Texans appeared in a couple episodes because the Atlanta Falcons happened to have combined practices and a road preseason game against the Texans.
This year, the Bills, Redskins, and Texans are the three remaining teams interested in being featured in the series. Since the Buffalo Bills are going through a huge transition with an entire new coaching staff and some new key offensive players, they appear to be the least likely out of the three. The Washington Redskins reportedly are not in consideration according to ESPN’s John Keim. That leaves the Houston Texans. The Texans makes sense in 2015 particularly as they play huge fan bases in there four preseason games (49ers, Broncos, Saints, and Cowboys), which play a big part in the series.
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The next step for the Texans to be officially announced is to accept the bid. Owner Bob McNair is the last person to sign off which would be a bold move for the usually overly conservative NFL owner. In the past, Hard Knocks follow teams with either fascinating owners (Jerry Jones x2) or head coaches (Rex Ryan and Marvin Lewis x2). The Texans quite frankly do not have a Type A personality in the front office or coaching staff.
Instead, the Texans’ have superstar J.J. Watt and his massively bruised thighs. J.J. Watt is the face of the NFL on the defensive side and America seems to be ready to learn more from the best defensive player in the league. Another headline would be the health of former first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney, who spent all last year battling knee injuries that cost him his rookie season. On top of this Clowney and Watt will welcome fan favorite Vince Wilfork to the defensive line.
On the offensive side, the Texans are one of only a few NFL teams with a head to head quarterback competition. Ryan Mallet and Brian Hoyer should be battling for first team reps all summer long. The next offensive headline would be with DeAndre Hopkins, Cecil Shorts, and rookie Jaelen Strong as they try to replace Andre Johnson.
Overall, teams who appear on HBO Hard Knocks are 73-71 in the following season.