I am beyond flabbergasted by the decision. The NFL's and HBO's decision to feature the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers; the first time two franchises will be featured at the same time, on the reality show Hard Knocks this year, instead of my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers, is beyond puzzling. It's akin to a quandary wrapped in an enigma.
I surmised in a recent article how the Steelers were the only logical choice as the leading man for the show. I meticulously outlined how the uncharacteristically available Pittsburgh Steelers were the perfect choice as the leading man for HBO's iconic program, but apparently my insightful advice was disregarded.
So what should fans of the show expect to witness on this year's episodes? That's a good question, seeing how the powers that be decided to feature two lesser known actors in what can only be expected to be another rehashed buddy cop type roles, instead of the established star that is rarely available and therefore in high demand. As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.
But, as anyone familiar with my writing already knows, I am forever an optimist. Here are some possible storylines that may actually prove entertaining from this season's edition.
The Rams were sitting on top of the world just a couple of seasons ago. They possessed a talented young roster featuring an ascending QB, a superstar RB, the most dominant defender walking the planet, and a young offensive mastermind HC that was the envy of the NFL community. Their arrow was most definitely trending upward. One uninspired Super Bowl loss later, and the trajectory has definitely leveled out.
Sean McVay is sure to be front and center on the show. His matinee idol looks and charisma made him the toast of the town just a short time ago, and the team's success under his leadership made him a coveted commodity. He instantly became every team's "We got to find the Next". Then came the stunningly ineffective offensive performance in the Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots, and McVay lost some of his luster. His confidence had to be shaken to the core. It will be hilarious everytime that McVay slowly fades into the background, similar to Henry Winkler's character in the Waterboy, anytime someone mentions Bill Belichick in his presence.
Superstar DT Aaron Donald, the most dominant defensive player in the league, should be right in his element in front of the cameras. He is charismatic and interesting, and has plenty of experience carrying more than his fair share of the load. His legend will only grow with increased exposure. If Donald has to miss a day of filming, Denzel may be available to fill in.
Last year's in season addition, CB Jalen Ramsey, is sure to be entertaining. The constantly expressive Ramsey never lacks in confidence, and is far from a shrinking violet. He will probably profess that he should have been chosen for the Coronavirus Task Force seeing how nobody could possibly catch anything whenever he is covering them. The man is nothing if not humble.
That brings us to the slapstick sidekick of the LA duo, the Chargers. It remains to be seen what the Chargers will bring to the occasion, aka Martin Lawrence in the Bad Boys movie franchise. They must be scripted as the comedy relief. They lost their leading man, aging franchise QB Phillip Rivers, basically escorting him out the door. The future is anything but clear for the Chargers, let the rebuilding proceed.
That doesn't mean the Chargers don't bring some entertaining storylines to the equation. I am excited to learn more about HC Anthony Lynn. Lynn has a perpetual scowl plastered all over his face as he stands perplexed on the sidelines. You recognize the look, the "What the blazes are they thinking out there?" look anytime he witnesses his team's performance on the football field. The look any parent raising teenagers has experienced at one time or another. It will be interesting to learn if that look is consistent during the practice week, like how Tom Cruise appears forever youthful.
RB Austin Ekeler is sure to be overlooked, as always. A extremely talented supporting actor, he will undoubtedly be under valued by the producers who are still obsessing over more well known stars previously employed by the two franchises in Gurley and Gordon. He is the Walton Goggins of the NFL.
WR Keenan Allen would be wise to suggest that the show hire Morgan Freeman, and his great story telling voice, to be narrator. I can already hear that voice eloquently reminiscing as Keenan Allen recalls the Sunday Night game where the Pittsburgh Steelers inexplicably committed to trying to cover him with linebackers throughout the game. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and Allen made the most of it. Legendary performance, thanks to ineptitude on the Steelers behalf.
Actually, I believe the decision to feature the two LA franchises had plenty to do with the current state of affairs in our country, and the corresponding logistics with filming. Two teams in the heart of Tinseltown, resulting in limited travel requirements and setup. Trust me, I understand the thought process.
The Rams and Chargers make total sense in another way, sticking with this article's Hollywood theme. Both franchises moved to Los Angeles in hopes of becoming big stars, a better life if you will. So far they have been forced to face a stark reality. There is plenty of competition when you are trying to reach the top.
Both franchises are unemployed actors working as waiters presently to pay the bills, hoping to catch that ever elusive big break. Come to think of it, the Chargers are practically homeless at the moment. They are fitting in the City of Angels just fine.