PFT- Here’s one thing I remember. Per a league source, the Saints are bracing for the possibility of the league tapping them on the shoulder and directing them to be the subject of the annual Hard Knocks series.
The Saints are one of seven teams that can be forced to do it, under criteria the league developed several years ago. Only teams that: (1) have a new coach; (2) have been to the postseason in either of the last two years; or (3) have served as the Hard Knocks subject within the last 10 years can say no. This year, the teams that can’t decline are the Saints, Bills, Bears, Jaguars, Raiders, Chargers, and Rams.
Here’s one thing that won’t be happening if Hard Knocks descends on Saints training camp (which could be returning for the third straight year to West Virginia): Saints players won’t be fighting with players from other teams during joint practices, for the benefit of the cameras. As the Saints and Patriots prepared to share a practice field at the Greenbrier last summer, Payton told his players, “If you decide to fight, pack your bags.” Payton later bemoaned that fact that NFL Network excessively hyped a brouhaha between the Cowboys and the Rams.
Here’s another thing that may not be happening if the Saints get the assignment: Payton may resist allowing camera into the room when players are being cut. And that, frankly, could be enough to get the NFL to draft a team that would be more willing to allow what often are the most compelling moments of the series to be captured.
I hope for the sake of Sean Payton's neighbors that he was nice enough to invest in soundproof walls or they can look forward to a sleepless night or two in their future. As I read this article I think I faintly heard someone scream "FUCK!" and I can't imagine it came from the mouth of anyone other than Sean Payton. Sure, he's probably over 1,000 miles away, but I refuse to believe that timing was simply ironic. If there is anything that Sean Payton hates more than the league that employs him it is giving in to every one of their demands. You probably didn't even notice that you didn't see any Saints players doing postgame interviews after Thursday Night Football, but that was a direct response to the same people that forced their head coach out of football for a year. So the Saints might have to be a part of 'Hard Knocks' this year, but they certainly don't have to like it, and if I know Sean Payton like I think I do then they currently don't have to be cooperative.
Banning his players from fighting? Restricting cameras from the room while cuts are made? Getting Sean Payton to be a part of an appealing, engaging television series is going to be like trying to get your kid to do yard work. Sure, he might submit to standing out in the lawn and going through the motions, but he's definitely not going to break his back to make sure it's properly landscaped. You force someone to do something they don't want to do and -generally speaking- you're probably not going to like the effort you get in return. That's why it was pretty brilliant for Sean Payton to denounce certain aspects of 'Hard Knocks'. Not just because parts of the show are particularly questionable, but because it could actually dissuade the NFL from making him a part of it. Sean Payton basically said that if the Saints were involved in the manufacturing process then the consumers would undoubtedly be receiving a half assed product. If that's not enough to scare the cameras away their training camp then the thought of Sean Payton mercilessly berating every member of their staff should be...
P.S. As a Saints fan it would be cool to take a closer look into their training camp, but not at the expense of the distraction it would surely cause.