Report: New Orleans Saints embracing reality of Hard Knocks assignment

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Jul 26, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; The Hard Knocks film crew prior films the Atlanta Falcons during training camp at Falcons Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 26, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; The Hard Knocks film crew prior films the Atlanta Falcons during training camp at Falcons Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /
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Aug 3, 2015; White Sulphur Springs, WV, USA; A general view of the New Orleans Saints training camp facilities at The Greenbrier. Mandatory Credit: Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 3, 2015; White Sulphur Springs, WV, USA; A general view of the New Orleans Saints training camp facilities at The Greenbrier. Mandatory Credit: Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Orleans Saints organization is embracing the reality of being forced to be the subject of HBO’s very popular Hard Knocks TV series this year.

Per Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, the Saints are one of seven teams that could appear on this season’s program. Hard Knocks, which got its start in 2001, has recently featured the Houston Texans, Atlanta Falcons, and Cincinnati Bengals. The reality sports documentary is a series that focuses on the personal and professional lives of football players, coaches, and its staff both on and off the field during the course of training camp leading up to the regular season.

Teams were not always so willing to open up their private facilities to expose some of the trials, challenges, and overall aspects of the behind the scenes work that goes into preparing for the new season. So, in October 2013 the NFL announced that the league could actually force a team to take part in Hard Knocks. The only saving grace for a club was based on three sets of criteria: (1) appear on the program in the past ten year, (2) have a first-year head coach, or (3) they’ve been in the playoffs in either of the two previous seasons.

Unfortunately, none of that qualifies the New Orleans Saints. In addition to the black and gold, the Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers, and Oakland Raiders could also be forced to appear on Hard Knocks.

If it were up to me, I would cast my personal votes for Rob and Rex Ryan in Buffalo, or the Los Angeles Rams, who just had their franchise move from St. Louis. You can likely expect an announcement of the reluctant winner in May.

If you know anything about head coach Sean Payton, then you’ll realize that this won’t be something accepted with open arms. However, he won’t have much of a choice.

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