Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan could make a return visit to HBO’s Hard Knocks next summer. Or the show could feature a team looking to relocate to Los Angeles.
With the regular season concluded, we have some clarity on the NFL teams eligible to be drafted for the 2016 edition of Hard Knocks. They include:
• New Orleans
• St. Louis
• San Diego
Teams are exempt from Hard Knocks when they make the playoffs within the past two seasons, have appeared on the series in the past 10 years, or hire a new head coach. The seven teams above fit the qualifications for now. Ryan appeared on the show as the Jets coach in 2010, one of the most popular years in the series history. HBO and the NFL would have a ton of interest, undoubtedly, in a team moving to Los Angeles given the storyline. That would put Oakland and San Diego near the top of the wish list. One team unlikely to agree: New Orleans: Current coach Sean Payton told The New Orleans Advocate that he would never appear on tape releasing a player.
HBO averaged 847,000 viewers for its five episodes of Hard Knocks featuring the Texans this season, the show’s most-viewed season since 2010 and the second-best viewership since ’02. Also worth noting: For the sixth straight season the team that appeared on Hard Knocks either matched or exceeded the previous year’s record. (Houston finished the regular season at 9-7, matching last year’s record). Four of the last six teams to appear on Hard Knocks have also won their division.