How About the Cleveland Browns for HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’?

HBO has had a difficult time recruiting a team for its upcoming season of “Hard Knocks,” a sports reality show featuring one NFL team’s training camp.

During last year’s lockout they weren’t able to field a show and that has caused them to lose some momentum. ProFootballTalk.com has chronicled HBO’s pursuit of a host team for this upcoming season all spring.

So far, the 49ers, Falcons, Jets, Broncos, Redskins, Ravens, Texans and Seahawks have all said no.

Per the report, only the Jaguars are interested, and HBO has announced they need to have their searched wrapped up by June 1, 2012. Translation: if you’re interested, speak up now, or we’re all stuck with the Jaguars.

“Hard Knocks” presents an interesting opportunity for a team. It provides a lot of exposure for the organization and face time for the players. That can be a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on where your team is at.

For example, the New York Jets were a wonderful fit for the show three years ago. They had a hungry team on the rise, lots of big-name player acquisitions to feature, and head coach Rex Ryan’s voice was fresh and exciting.

But this year, they want nothing to do with “Hard Knocks’” atmosphere as their locker room grows more and more divided, and the jobs of Ryan and quarterback Mark Sanchez are vulnerable.

Now, the Cleveland Browns don’t appear to be anywhere on HBO’s radar, but if they were, what would that show look like?

For starters, the first thing on everyone’s mind would be two ugly words:  “quarterback” and “controversy.”

One of the reasons the Jets are passing this year is because they’ve created an uncomfortable situation for themselves by trading for Tim Tebow. With Mark Sanchez coming off a bad year, they probably don’t want to see a sensitive situation escalate in front of a national TV audience.

The Browns have a similar sticky situation brewing between quarterbacks Colt McCoy and Brandon Weeden. McCoy’s relationship with the front office is getting awkward, and unless he’s traded, that’s probably something they don’t want front and center.

Mike Holmgren’s Browns are also far more insular than those teams of the boisterous Ryan, Harbaugh, and Irsay clans, and if a public relations rebuilding effort is underway in Berea, perhaps they’d prefer to control the message a little more for the time being.

Then again, the Browns have some new, big-name faces to show the world, too. The organization’s identify has faded over the years and their national reputation could use a shot in the arm. The draft has stirred the fan base, but even more excitement wouldn’t hurt.

Not only does “Hard Knocks” sell tickets, but consider this:

In 2010, when New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum was considering HBO’s invite, he contacted Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome to get his take.

Distraction is always an issue, but Newsome recommended “Hard Knocks,” saying his team was more engaged and practiced harder in front of the cameras. The Jets accepted the invite, and were seen playing in the AFC Championship Game later that winter.

So, considering that, what would you think about the Browns getting the call?

Topics: Cleveland Browns, Hard Knocks

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