It's difficult to see how HBO could choose the Bears for Hard Knocks when Aaron Rodgers and the Jets are eligible for it.

The Bears appear destined to be runnerup to the New York Jets as subject of HBO's Hard Knocks.

Or, depending on your viewpoint, they figure to be able to escape from a difficult situation thanks to the Jets trading for Aaron Rodgers.

At least Dan Lyons of Sports Illustrated concluded this, and his logic is tough to argue.

The Bears, New Orleans Saints, Jets and Washington Commanders are the four teams eligible to be subjects of HBO's deep-dive series at training camp, based on guidelines used in the past. The Bears have never been on the show, which qualifies them right away. But they also meet the other qualifications in that they haven't been in the playoffs the last two seasons and they no longer have a first-year coach.

So the Bears are sitting out there basically without defense against the whims of HBO, much like when they entered most games last season.

Lyons concludes in his story that the Bears would come in second because of Rodgers going to the Jets.

It would be hard for any team to dislodge one of the league's most storied and popular franchises. However, the soap opera likely to develop with Rodgers moving to New York would be far too enticing for the cable network to resist.

Also, the Jets being in the media capital would work in their favor.

The Bears would have the excitement over Justin Fields finally getting some weapons on his side, playing with a young team seemingly on the rise in another larger NFL market.

It would be difficult to argue for real interest in either the Saints or Commanders, although the backdrop of the Washington ownership problems does cause a bit of a stir.

The McCaskey family has never quite been HBO-ready. It's not TV, it's HBO, and they probably wouldn't want the headache of having the network hanging around with cameras everywhere at Halas Hall to influence an inexperienced, rebuilding franchise.

The players themselves would probably have no issue with it. The network might find Matt Eberflus a bit too straight-laced for their tastes, but he was around the series while an assistant with the Colts and is enough of an easy going guy to tolerate some of the distraction. 

Based on Eberflus' first year with the Bears, he'd probably even find a way to make it work in his favor. He always had the Bears focused throughout the 10-game losing streak, with the possible exception of that blowout loss to Detroit.  So keeping the team focused through a national cable TV series might be less of a challenge for him than for other coaches.

Bears fans sick of losing to Rodgers for years wouldn't want to see their team lose out on something else because of him. 

Regardless, it's difficult to argue against putting Rodgers on the show before his career is over if you're the people at HBO. The Jets are less likely to miss the playoffs again with Rodgers on the team, so they wouldn't be eligible next season. And Rodgers himself has a rapidly approaching NFL expiration date.

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2023-03-24T21:14:21Z dg43tfdfdgfd