Lynch Garoppolo

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49ers Are A Lock To Be On HBO’s Hard Knocks

They fit the criteria, they check all the boxes

Dan Dibley
December 19, 2017 - 9:40 am

Ever since the acquisition of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, the San Francisco 49ers have been a team on the rise. Fans in the Bay Area are well aware of the bright future that exists, in no small part because in Jimmy G the 49ers finally have what appears to be a franchise quarterback.

While this rapid rebuild is grabbing headlines locally, the nation at large is still relatively unaware of how good this 49er team has a chance to be. Massive exposure for the Niner brand will be coming very soon in the form of HBO’s Hard Knocks.

I used WILL instead of COULD because the 49ers are a virtual lock to be the subject of HBO’s annual documentary that takes viewers behind the scenes of NFL training camp.

The NFL set guidelines in 2013 for how teams could be selected for the show and they preclude teams that 1) have a new head coach, 2) have been to the playoffs in the past two seasons, or 3) have appeared on Hard Knocks in the last 10 years. The criteria are outlined here:

Pending the finalization of the playoff seeding and the coaching changes that will inevitably come, the list of eligible teams is not a Who's Who of excitement

If the playoff push doesn’t go their way, Carolina, New Orleans, Los Angeles Chargers, Buffalo, Baltimore, and Tennessee could be eligible. The Panthers and Saints would both be intriguing subjects but none of the other candidates move the needle.

Arizona, Washington, Denver, Chicago, Cleveland, and San Francisco are the remaining teams on the list, pending coaching changes that would give them an out. Bruce Arians could leave the Cardinals, John Fox is likely out in Chicago, winless Cleveland could make a move on Hue Jackson, and Vance Joseph is suddenly on the hot seat in Denver. Even Jay Gruden in Washington could be replaced, after the Redskins have faded into oblivion this season.

That leaves us with San Francisco. They haven’t been to the playoffs the past two years, haven’t been on Hard Knocks, and won’t be changing head coaches this year. Add to that the fact they have a bright young head coach in Kyle Shanahan, media-friendly General Manager John Lynch, and the aforementioned handsome signal caller Jimmy Garoppolo.

Toss in an exciting linebacker Reuben Foster, a pull-on-the-heart-strings story in Marquise Goodwin, the litany of 49er legends still around the team, and the beautiful visuals in and around the Bay Area and you’ve got a perfect recipe for television gold.

Mark it down. The San Francisco 49ers will be the subject of HBO’s Hard Knocks in 2018.

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