The 'Hard Knocks' Trailer is Here and It’s Beautifully Delusional

Gabe Zaldivar

HBO unveiled a first look at the next season of its hit show “Hard Knocks,” a documentary series that takes fans behind the scenes of NFL training camp.

This year, the show will take a close look at the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, two teams that will open the new SoFi Stadium in 2020.

Well, that’s the plan anyway.

There is that pesky COVID-19 pandemic that could get in the way. It’s an elephant in the room that producers decided to just ignore in the trailer that hit the Internet on Monday afternoon.

The trailer has a certain quality that I can quite pinpoint. Oh, that’s right. It completely treats this offseason as if things were normal.

But they aren’t, and the show knows that. Another clip posted shows Rams head coach Sean McVay chatting with coaches behind a face shield, later joking that he might bring in a blowtorch because he looks like a welder.

The show is set to premiere on Aug. 11, which coincides with the NFL’s gradual acclimatization process it's setting for players. The month will be about getting tested for the novel coronavirus and then increasing the intensity of workouts.

As baseball has shown, however, it’s hard to keep 30 or so players COVID negative let alone the dozens that are necessary to complete a proper football training regimen.

There are going to be positive cases. As MLB works on its third team dealing with an outbreak, it’s increasingly clear that football will have to grapple with the same question on a much more prolific scale.

We all continue to kid ourselves, plodding along as if the pandemic were just the backdrop to our sports world, a nifty subplot we get to use the heighten the narrative.

In reality, it’s a novel virus that we are still learning about and is still very much running rampant around this country.

McVay’s mask is just one of myriad protocols the NFL and teams might employ to curb the possibility of a COVID breakout in camp.

The Philadelphia Eagles have created a safe haven themselves, but their head coach Doug Pederson still managed to catch the disease, showing that even a safe environment can be breached in a country where the pandemic is thriving.

Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman laid out how the NFL will ultimately protect their players from the disease.

“It’s on everybody in this organization,” Spielman said, via the StarTribune, “whether you’re a player or coach or anyone on the staff to not only be responsible inside this building but also be responsible outside this building.”

They are taking their pages out of the MLB book of futility. So you know how this ends. It ends with episodes of “Hard Knocks” ultimately asking where things went wrong.

Precisely when the league decided to start a season during a global pandemic.