Any team can sign up to be featured in the HBO NFL training camp documentary Hard Knocks, which is filmed and airs each preseason. But the NFL has had trouble finding willing volunteers in recent history. And in that case, the league has the ability to force a team to take part in the production as long as they meet certain criteria.
If you don't have a new head coach, if you haven't been to the playoffs in the last two years and you haven't been on the program in the last decade, you're eligible. The Saints meet those last two criteria. And since Payton decided to stay and the Saints don't have a new head coach, they also meet the first criteria. And let's not forget about those Louisiana film tax credits that would certainly make it even more enticing for HBO to film here. Jackpot!
To be honest, this is a dream come true for me personally. I love Hard Knocks and I've always wanted to see the Saints featured on the show; always wanted to see the inner workings of the team during training camp. But we know how Payton and the organization like to operate, and exposing themselves to the public like this is something they would never do willingly. Understandably. This year, they may not have a choice if another team doesn't step up.