Ever since the early days of the NFL, the Mara family, who today own one half of the New York Giants, one of the league’s oldest franchises, has always put the good of the league ahead of all else.
But when it comes to HBO’s Hard Knocks series, which annually chronicles an NFL franchise's daily ins and outs, that’s where the line is drawn.
John Mara, who once said that the Giants would be on Hard Knocks "when I’m next to my father in Gates of Heaven cemetery," isn’t likely to let the new NFLcom ranking that has his Giants listed as the second most desirable franchise (behind the more suited Dallas Cowboys) persuade him to approve the franchise as the stars of the 2021 series.
Notes Dan Hanzus, the writer who compiled and then ranked the list of eligible franchises:
Don't expect to see the Giants on Hard Knocks unless the Mara family chooses to be involved. Given that it hasn't happened in the first 15 seasons of the show's existence, it seems unlikely at this time.
Then again, maybe Big Blue management will jump at the opportunity to showcase a new era of Giants football now that the Eli Manning era has receded further into memory.
While there would be any number of interesting storylines—head coach Joe Judge himself could easily become the star of the series given his mastery of blending a no-nonsense approach with a human side that reminds his players they're all in this together—Judge never has nor never will be about grabbing the spotlight because that goes against his "team first" mantra.
What about running back Saquon Barkley’s rehab from a torn ACL? Giants fans and the organization itself will certainly be interested in how that progresses over the summer, but realistically, how many clips can be taken of Barkley getting rehab or going through workouts that will differ from those posted on social media?
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What about getting to see the real Daniel Jones behind the scenes? Supposedly the quarterback has a different personality that he suppresses from the media, one that is a little more outgoing than the dry and dull robotic-like presence he has on Zoom calls with the media.
But is anyone really that more interested in seeing that side of him as opposed to seeing how he’s finally going to take that next step forward and put an end to the on-going bemoaning by fans who wish an aging Eli Manning were still around to save the day?
And what about an inside look at the assistant coaches? Patrick Graham, Sean Spencer, and Jerome Henderson have all been described as animated sorts when they're at work, so that might be a point of interest.
And on the offensive side, maybe the cameras might have more luck capturing another side of newly promoted senior offensive assistant Freddie Kitchens than what he’s shown on Zoom calls.
At the end of the day, does any of this potential entertainment value matter if the Giants post yet another losing season?
It doesn’t, which is why Judge and the Giants—and in particular Judge, who has gone to great lengths to ensure that the distractions to the team are minimal—and the Giants will only be starring in one series this year: Their regularly scheduled 16 (or 17-week, pending the outcome of the league and NFLPA about adding a 17th game to the regular season) slate of games.
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