Phil Emery wraps up interview, decision may come soonContinue reading.
Decision on 2014 ‘Hard Knocks’ team coming ‘pretty soon;’ Will it be the Chicago Bears?
NEW YORK — Bears general manager Phil Emery always has been opposed to having his team be a part of HBO’s “Hard Knocks” series. So it’s a good thing for the Bears that it sounds as if some teams have stepped forward with an interest in being the focal team for the 2014 season.
“There were a lot of discussions with clubs at the March meeting [in Orlando, Fla.],” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said during the Associated Press Sports Editors meetings in New York on Thursday.
“There are several clubs that are interested in doing this. I just don’t have an update on which club, whether it’s going to be a volunteer or if it’s somebody who is going to have to fulfill the obligation. But I’m sure that decision will be made pretty soon.”
The Bears would be a team that falls under the “fulfill the obligation” category. According to new rules passed in October that allows the NFL to force teams to take part in “Hard Knocks,” the Bears are one of eight teams that are eligible for the series for the coming season.
Teams are exempt if they made the playoffs in one of the previous two seasons, hired a new head coach and appeared on “Hard Knocks” within the last 10 years. The other eligible teams for 2014 include the Bills, Cardinals, Giants, Jaguars, Raiders, Rams and Steelers.
Of those teams, the Bears are definitely the most exciting. The Bears have plenty of players — from guard Kyle Long to tight end Martellus Bennett to receiver Brandon Marshall to defensive end Jared Allen and so on — who would naturally make “Hard Knocks” must-see TV for all NFL fans. Over-analyzed quarterback Jay Cutler would surely be a hot topic, too.
In a chat with fans on the team’s website in September, Emery expressed his opposition to being part of the series, echoing earlier statements from 2012.
“We are a traditional organization that feels our best connection with our fans is to come down to Bourbonnais, [Ill.], and enjoy the live experience with us,” Emery said. “There’s nothing like seeing the team through your own eyes and how it’s coming together.”
Goodell said he has felt resistance from teams.
“To be fair yes, sure,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons why we passed the policy that we did is to get every team the opportunity to do this. We understand that it’s an additional responsibility, that it’s an additional thing to film out around your [training] camp and some clubs prefer not to have it.
“But it’s important for all clubs to contribute to it in some fashion. I think we designed a very interesting concept that allows teams if you have a coaching change not to have that be an issue, but also have some kind of rotation to it.”