For years the Jaguars have been cast aside as one of the least interesting teams. This has become a sort of a standard in Jacksonville, some have even made jokes regarding networks going to a commercial break just before the team is set and ready to make a selection at the annual NFL Draft.
This year, though, things are different. With head coach Urban Meyer in the fold and the prestige that he brings to the team, along with the No. 1 overall pick in tow, Jacksonville has quickly become one of the most talked-about teams in the NFL, so much so that they could make an intriguing option for the NFL’s annual reality TV series, HBO's Hard Knocks’.
Now, Jacksonville is not eligible to be a team that is forced to appear on the series, an initiative the NFL created in 2014 to ensure a team would always be featured year-in-and-year-out.
To avoid mandatory participation, a team must fit into one of the three exceptions:
1. They have a first-year head coach.
2. They have a playoff berth in the past two seasons.
3. They have appeared on Hard Knocks in the past 10 years.
The Jaguars fit into the first category on the list; they have a first-year head coach. But, should they be one to simply volunteer?
From the network’s perspective, the Jaguars present one of the more intriguing options within the league. Meyer, one of the greatest college football coaches of all time, is a character if anything else. His practices conducted throughout the collegiate game were a sight to see, and his personality will bring a new element to the show, a first-year head coach, straight from college.
With the No. 1 overall pick, the Jaguars are presumed to be looking towards the services of former Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Since his freshman season with the Tigers, a year in which he led his team to a National Championship title, Lawrence has been seen as a once-in-a-blue-moon, generational type of quarterback. With that comes plenty of national attention and a media circus that follows through.
While the team hasn’t won very much of anything since the 2017 season, its future looks bright enough and perhaps simply interesting enough, for it to be considered by the league as a marquee team to host the yearly NFL reality TV show.
The question then becomes, will the Jaguars themselves want to endure the cameras, intrusion and everything else that comes from hosting the show?
With Meyer in the fold, there is reason to believe the team would want to be sheltered to a degree. It is his first time coaching in the NFL, and watching all of your early mistakes and hiccups highlighted and recorded could be intimidating, especially if it isn’t mandatory.
However, there is some precedent to Meyer allowing this level of access to his football program. In 2015, the Ohio State Buckeyes, coached by Meyer at the time, participated in a series that was very similar to the one produced by HBO, titled ‘Scarlet and Gray Days: Inside Ohio State Training Camp.’
The series would air on the Big Ten Network’s programming, and ran just a few episodes during training camp.
While the show Meyer and the Buckeyes took part in did not give the level of detail one would expect from ‘Hard Knocks,’ it did allow fans to get an insight into how the program was run, and it offered a similar storyline to follow one of the more entertaining players with the program at the time.
The Jaguars are also making it a concerted effort to market the overall history of the team and its branding. Last week, the team announced that it would be making Dan Edwards, the team’s former Senior Vice President of Communications, the team’s new Senior Vice President of Jacksonville Tradition and Alumni.
The position will focus on “building alliances, programs, brands and more that will illuminate and market the history, alumni and colorful moments of the Jacksonville Jaguars.”
Taking over his role as the team’s vice president of football communications will be Amy Palcic, formerly of the Houston Texans.
While there will certainly be more community outreach with Edwards’ new position, an opportunity to get the ball rolling from a marketing perspective could be intriguing to the football team. It is something Edwards stated the team was interested in, in the past when Jaguars owner Shad Khan first took over the team in 2012.
Ultimately, the decision will be up to not only Khan but Meyer too. And while it is a long shot, this could be the Jaguars’ best opportunity to feature its franchise on national television for the first time since 2004, when NFL Network hosted its own version of the hit HBO series.
What do you say? Do you believe the Jaguars should be interested in ‘Hard Knocks’ this summer?