While nothing will reconcile the months of sports being lost due to the coronavirus pandemic, NFL Films and HBO are set to do their best to make up for it by featuring a “supersized” version of “Hard Knocks” — the annual football documentary series leading up to the regular season.
According to reports, the show will follow two teams for the first time in its history by spotlighting the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers. However, this will only take place if training camps take place before the 2020 NFL season.
The official announcement was set to be made at last week’s NFL annual meeting, but the canceled gathering was replaced by a conference call. Now, NFL Films and the entire league are preparing for the first virtual draft in the history of the sport.
It’s currently unclear what NFL training camp would look like under the cloud of a pandemic, but NFL Films, which is located in Los Angeles, would have the benefit of following two local teams.
The close proximity of everyone involved would allow the production team to capture the preseason preparations of both the Rams and Chargers while tackling the creative challenges of featuring both teams from NFL Films headquarters.
Most Intriguing Aspects of Rams, Chargers
While “Hard Knocks” will always provide entertaining insight into how NFL teams conduct preseason training camps and prepare themselves for a grueling season, there are always a few extra points of intrigue depending on the team being featured in the show.
When it comes to the Rams and Chargers, the most noteworthy aspect for either team could be the recent departures of former star players.
For the Rams, the loss of Todd Gurley is one that stood out for NFL fans around the country. There was a time between the 2017 and 2018 seasons when Gurley was considered by many to be the best running back in football. After hitting the wall so many players at his position hit, Gurley is now a rebuild project for the Falcons.
For the Chargers, long-time quarterback Philip Rivers moved on after 16 seasons with the franchise. With Rivers now a Colt, the Chargers will be an intriguing follow to see how they navigate the QB position.
The Chargers own the No. 6 pick in the upcoming draft, which the team could easily turn into the likes of Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, or another rookie quarterback.
Many expect the documentary series to also cover the topic of the Rams’ new logo, which has been met with plenty of fan pushback. But head coach Sean McVay will be much more interested in getting his team, which is just two years removed from the Super Bowl, back to the sport’s biggest game.
Is Hard Knocks Featuring a Super Bowl Contender?
Last season, the disappointing Chargers ended with a record of 5-11 and weren’t close to competing for a championship. The Rams finished 2019 at 9-7 but missed out on a playoff position.
Does either team have a shot at reaching the playoffs and competing for the Lombardi Trophy?
For the Chargers, much of their potential will come down to who’s under center. At this point, Tyrod Taylor owns the top spot on the depth chart, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see the team add Cam Newton, Jameis Winston, or a top rookie prospect.
For now, the Chargers are more of a longshot, with odds of +3400 to win the Super Bowl, tied with the Bears for the 18th-best odds in the NFL.
The Rams were much closer a season ago. In fact, if the NFL’s new playoff format of 14 teams was in place in 2019, the Rams would have earned the final NFC spot. This time around, the Rams’ chances could come down to whether or not McVay can get big-money quarterback Jared Goff back to his best form.
With odds of +2400 to win it all, the Rams are in a group of four teams with the 12th-best odds in the NFL.