Ridiculous rule change proves the NFL is desperate to get the Packers on Hard Knocks

Green Bay Packers, Matt LaFleur
Green Bay Packers, Matt LaFleur / Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin /

Whether they like it or not, the Green Bay Packers could soon be forced to participate in HBO's "Hard Knocks."

Head coach Matt LaFleur previously said he would have no interest in being selected for the show, which is the view many teams take. Having cameras filming their preparations for the regular season is not only a potential distraction but can also be a competitive disadvantage by shining a spotlight on their practices and team meetings.

Under the previous rules, teams that had reached the playoffs in the last two seasons or had a first-year head coach didn't have to participate. Since 2007, the Packers have only failed to make the playoffs in consecutive years once, resulting in the hiring of LaFleur, a first-year coach, ruling them out of the next edition of the show.

However, the NFL has made significant changes to the "Hard Knocks" rules, forcing the Packers to participate on the show whenever the league wants.

Packers can no longer avoid appearance on 'Hard Knocks' after rule changes

The Packers have avoided appearing on "Hard Knocks" until now, but the league has introduced new rules to get around that.

There are two significant changes. According to Ben Fischer of SBJ, teams are still eligible for "Hard Knocks" even if they have made the playoffs in the previous two seasons. Teams can only opt out for one of these reasons:

  • They have appeared on "Hard Knocks" in the past eight years
  • They have a first-year head coach
  • They will appear on the in-season edition of "Hard Knocks"

The Packers don't check any of those boxes—not yet, at least. However, they could be selected for the in-season version of "Hard Knocks" under the new rules.

According to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, the in-season edition of the show will focus on an entire division rather than just one team. That potentially brings the Packers and the NFC North into play.

It would be a fascinating division to follow. The Packers have a talented young team, the Chicago Bears have a new quarterback, and Dan Campbell makes must-watch TV with the Detroit Lions. Even if they don't select the NFC North, the Packers are eligible for the preseason edition of "Hard Knocks" under the new rules.

While watching the Packers' training camp through the "Hard Knocks" cameras would be fascinating viewing for the fans, it doesn't help the team.

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