May 16, Alameda, CA, USA; Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2014 Oakland Raiders: Hard Knock Life


Will this be the year the Oakland Raiders finally let the cameras of HBO’s “Hard Knocks” into Napa?

Much like the late Al Davis, Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders have kept up the tradition of being a secretive organization who values it’s privacy.

Reggie is “Old School”, and comes from another organization in Green Bay, who also despised any unwarranted attention. The thought is…why add any undo stress on a team during the intense, competitive landscape of training camp.

While fans would love a behind the scenes look into their favorite team, the GM’s, coaches, and owner’s may have some reservations. There are several factors that come into play, but in my opinion the Oakland Raiders are in the best position in years, to be the face for the 2014 season of “Hard Knocks”.


A Platform for the Voice of the Raiders

Who are the Oakland Raiders? And what do the new Oakland Raiders represent?

These are questions that need to be answered when addressing fans, media, and sponsors alike, who unlike you and me do not follow everything Silver and Black.  As fans we can forget the business aspect to running an NFL franchise. Despite all of the fan support and loyalty, professional football is still a business first.

The spotlight “Hard Knocks” would bring to the Oakland Raiders could be just the incentive owner Mark Davis is looking for. “Hard Knocks” would be a chance to showcase his team in the post Al Davis era. A way to brand himself as the new head of the Oakland Raiders, while highlighting his father’s legacy.

The current Raiders are team struggling for respect, struggling for some attention, and struggling for a new stadium. Mark has been stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to stadium talks. Trying to build a stadium in Oakland, a city on the verge of bankruptcy, or having to sell the team, as the NFL seems to not want a “Davis” or the Raiders back in LA. Dont belive the hype or threats, Mark Davis can’t move the Raiders to Los Angeles without the NFL’s approval.

“And, as noted, there are plenty within league circles who believe the NFL — which will very much control entry into this lucrative market — will be loathe to let Davis be the first man there no matter what, especially in light of all of their legal struggles in the past in that regard with Davis’s father, Al.” Jason LaCanfora, CBS Sports NFL Insider.

So what options does a desperate owner have? Well…build support by showcasing your team to the world. With “Hard Knocks” Mark Davis would have the opportunity to highlight the somewhat underrated job he has done since his father’s passing. Taking a struggling franchise and bringing it back to glory, a chance to market the Raiders as a great investment guided by a great owner.

Nov 17, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 17, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


The Timing is Better than Ever

In previous years I understood the reluctance of the Raiders organization in allowing “Hard Knocks” into the building.

Whether it was a new head coach (which was often, and against the criteria for “Hard Knocks”), some fragile rookies, poor leadership, or just trying to keep a competitive edge, keeping the cameras out made sense at times.

But those days are past, it is time to reward the fan base after years of purgatory. Time to open the gates behind the shield, eyepatch, and cross swords and let the world in.

This coaching staff has been its most stable in years. Dennis Allen going into a critical third year, with much of the same support staff he began with. The few exceptions are veteran assistant coaches and coordinators like Greg Olsen and Tony Sparano who are respected in league circles. Outside of the Raiderette lawsuit, the organization has enjoyed mostly good publicity. Reggie McKenzie knocked the 2014 NFL Draft out the park, and has been praised this off-season, not only for the draft but also his free agent acquisitions. Reggie is a no-nonsense GM, who shouldn’t be afraid of the cameras.

With those off-season acquisitions you have a bevy of veteran leaders, who shouldnt be affected by the attention and cameras during training camp. The time is finally right, and the Oakland Raiders are capable and ready to welcome the worldwide attention “Hard Knocks” would bring.


Storylines, Competition, and More 

There is a reason “Hard Knocks” has been such a succesful show since it began in 2001. The captivating storylines have included, new rookies adjusting to NFL life, intense competition to make the team, head coaches/GM’s on the hot seat, family lives of players and coaches, contract disputes and of course the drama of players getting cut from the team. The 2014 Oakland Raiders would provide ample storylines to continue the tradition of this great documentary series.

  • The grooming of Derek Carr would highlight the series. His tutelage under the veteran Matt Schaub would make great television, as Carr could be an injury away from starting.
  • The London connection would be a great sub-plot, watching fellow “Brits” Jack Crawford and Menelik Watson battle it out opposite each other. May the best “Chap” win.
  • Charles Woodson, and what may be his final year in the NFL. The decision to keep playing and retiring with the Raiders.
  • “Bash Brothers” Khalil Mack and Sio Moore, learning from the veterans Justin Tuck and Lamarr Woodley.
  • Mark Davis getting a new Haircut????

Just a few examples, but the intrigue, especially for Raiders fans would be awesome.

Dec 22, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Raiders being selected by “Hard Knocks”, let alone the Raiders organization allowing a sneak peek into the Silver and Black is a long shot.

The Raiders may indeed hold off and continue their tradition of being a secretive organization, who will never seek outside publicity.

But the time may not be any better than now, for the Oakland Raiders to showcase to the world what has been brewing in Oakland. A new attitude, swagger, and discipline, built upon the legacy Al Davis, and always dedicated to a “Commitment to Excellence”.

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Tags: 2014 Offseason HBO Hard Knocks Oakland Raiders

  • joe VICE

    I am 100% against this. I do not want any distractions for my team. We don’t need publicity or reality shows. We need to focus and win some games!!!

  • Eric Beaulieu

    I would be very disappointed if the Raiders were exposed this way while being distracted at such a pinnacle point in rebuilding. I also love the mysterious character the Raiders have continued to maintain…let the field show the league watchers what we’ve been up to. Go Rrrrrrrrrrrrraiders!

  • raidernation

    I don’t know guys, it seems that team who comes out in the show make it to the playoffs that same yr or the very next year. I dont know?

  • Aethelred

    I am skeptical about the benefit that would accrue to Mark Davis from featuring the Raiders on Hard Knocks. Hard Knocks is a television show, an enjoyable one to be sure, but at bottom it must show the same basic ingredients behind all reality shows, a combination of drama, humor, and engaging characters. The Raiders on Hard Knocks will look much like every previous team to do it when it has been molded into a finished product ready to air. To a viewer with no special knowledge of the Raiders, only the names will be different, and the story lines modestly tweaked. If Davis truly faces such opposition from his fellow owners by dint of his last name, it seems very unlikely that any of them will set aside personal grievances and profit-making concerns after watching a few hours worth of a show that portrays a preseason process that they have all witnessed before.

    The Raiders certainly appear to be on the upswing from past years, but that does not mean the coaching staff will be any more appreciative of outside interference, especially one that by its nature must hone in on drama and elevate a few players among many to starring roles. As a diehard fan, I relish any opportunity to peer inside the team. I can’t say that some part of me would be thrilled to watch Raiders Hard Knocks each week. However, the greatest thing a fan can ask for is a win. I don’t see how Hard Knocks would do anything to help those chances, and there is a strong likelihood that it would hinder them to some degree. If Mark Davis wants to court other owners he should find a way to miraculously make the lawsuits piling up disappear; showcasing his ability to run a organization that gets through preseason without a major meltdown will do little to impress.

  • Brutus

    The Raiders don’t need PR, they need to win and we will do that this year. Mark Davis will not do this show to enhance his chances of moving to LA. If he wants to move to LA, he will do it if he can make a deal. RM is old school. I don’t see the Raiders being anymore cooperative than necessary if they force us to do the show – not going to happen.

  • Jaime Olguin

    I am completely against the show the timing of it is a bad one to say the least. we have a new team
    and having the cameras around would make players act like someone their not their heads have to be in
    This all the way thru. It would be a cuircus we need continuity and this would have their heads out of trying
    to build a winning attutude. Just thinking about this scares the tar out of me, hell no. Give it to the Rams
    they would make for a prefect ophra show with Sam I am.

  • Mike

    How fun would the Raiders of the 70′s been on this show!!

  • Raider Grant

    No to HBO! Yes to giving opponents some HARD KNOCKS!!!! Go Raiders

  • Pridenpoise

    The Raiders need Hard Knocks about as much as they need a hole in the head, nothing but a distraction, this article is BS, us true fans don’t give a flying F**k what anyone else thinks about OUR team. We want a winner this year, and being in a stupid reality show is not going to increase our win total, or aid in the building of a new stadium, be it in Oakland or L.A, so that theory is bogus, let the Squeelers have hard knocks, they seem to like the limelight.

  • KloverJane

    Considering that we haven’t seen much excitement on the field, in a decade, maybe they could fix it under the microscope.

  • bigninaross

    Horrible idea

  • Aethelred

    Hey, don’t dismiss the benefits of a hole in the head so quickly. It would make a great place to tuck the ball away. Jacoby Ford could have used it as a vast upgrade over his hands. Hard Knocks is actually more useless than a hole in the head.

  • Bill Pol

    Too many new players that need to gel, thats hard enough, no more distractions .Next year I’m all in .

  • Pridenpoise

    You got me there.


    Hey Nation, unfortunately for us, we have no choice in who hard knocks chooses, and I don’t mean us as a smart ass, I mean the Raiders as an organization don’t have a choice, HBO and the commish made a deal a couple years back where the teams do not have the final yea or nea on being on hard knocks…there is a pool of teams theat meet the requirements i.e. teams with new head coach, etc etc don’t have to be on it, when I last checked (last year) we were one of I believe 5-7 teams in the pool!! the lambs were one and I don’t remember any others.. So although the distraction is not what we need now, we might not have a choice!!..**just found this Nation**
    •That team doesn’t have a new head coach.
    •That team didn’t make the playoffs in either of the previous 2 seasons.
    •That team didn’t appear on Hard Knocks in the last 10 years.

    Right away that rules out many of the teams you may have been hoping for such as all the ones you saw play this weekend and all of the #1 and #2 seeds who play next. That leaves us with EIGHT possible teams that could be tapped. Here they are:
    •Arizona Cardinals
    •Buffalo Bills
    •Chicago Bears
    •Jacksonville Jaguars*
    •New York Giants
    •Oakland Raiders
    •Pittsburgh Steelers
    •St. Louis Rams

    *Appeared In Inside the Training Camp: Jaguars Summer in 2004 on NFL Network, a show similar to Hard Knocks,which may count to take them off the list of potential teams.

  • CognizantImpiety

    Hard Knocks just causes team disruptions. I don’t care how much the author of this article was paid, he is wrong.

    We don’t need the distractions while the team remakes itself. This is just another way for the media to mock the Raiders.

  • CognizantImpiety

    Why not make the show about the losers of the last year’s Super Bowl?

    Making it about teams that didn’t make the playoffs is just engendering and magnifying personal personnel problems.