From the arrival of rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield, the comedy stylings of offensive line coach Bob Wylie, the quarterback RV, the staged interest in free agent wide receiver Dez Bryant, the financial advice of defensive end Carl Nassib, and the weekly incompetence of head coach Hue Jackson, HBO had more material than it knew what to do with.
The Browns have turned up the heat this summer, however, as the franchise has ascended to the status of America’s Team following the trade for wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., the expected maturation of Mayfield, and the exposure of four primetime games this fall.
It is enough to make you wonder if HBO came to town one year too early.
Well, it turns out that HBO was thinking the same thing as Ken Rodgers, the executive in charge of the show, told Jimmy Traina at si.com that the network had discussions about showcasing the Browns for a second year in a row:
“It was very much a consideration. Something we talked about internally and externally a lot. And what it would mean for the franchise to repeat a team twice in a row—not just the Cleveland Browns franchise, but the Hard Knocks franchise. We’ve always felt like changing it up has really allowed the show to be on the air for 18 years now. The reason why the show, I think, stays relevant is that we change every year. That being said if we were ever gonna repeat a team, it might have been this year with the Cleveland Browns.
“We talked to the Browns about things all the time, so it’s not like we didn’t have the conversation. The conversation was had. Their level of interest certainly wasn’t what it was last year. If they had volunteered, you would’ve known their level of interest was the same as last year. Was their level of interest the same? Of course not. They were attracted by the same thing. Hey this was a good thing for us last year. We wonder if it would be a good thing. And it turned out that all of us agreed that going in a different direction would be better.”
As fun as it was seeing the Browns on Hard Knocks in 2018, there is no doubt that the enjoyment level would have been off the charts this summer.
At the end of the day, however, it is probably for the best that the Browns passed on the idea. There will be more than enough attention paid to the team once the regular season starts, and eliminating as many distractions as possible is prudent.
HBO’s interest reveals that America’s love affair with the Browns is only growing.
Fans will just have to wait a little bit longer to get a full dose of the team.