Bears check off trifecta of undesirable boxes for the season with ‘Hard Knocks’ inclusion

Bears check off trifecta of undesirable boxes for the season with ‘Hard Knocks’ inclusion originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Announced on Thursday, NFL, NFL Films and HBO selected the Bears as the next subject of this offseason’s “Hard Knocks” documentary, checking off the trifecta of undesirable boxes NFL teams aim to avoid.

What does the trifecta mean?

Hat tip to Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs, as he mentioned the triple threat of consequences on Friday morning’s “Mully & Haugh” show on 670 The Score.

“Hard Knocks”

It’s well-documented that NFL teams are usually reluctant to participate in HBO’s “Hard Knocks” documentary.


In short, the cameras get unbelievable, insider access to the training camp. Viewers get to see the team’s training camp from all angles. And sometimes they find content a team would rather not be public.

The Bears are one of those teams. They made clear their disinterest in participating well before their selection.

“In terms of being in favor of it, there are some distractions that come along with it,” GM Ryan Poles said on ESPN 1000 on May 4. “But it’s one of those things that you learn in this league is that you adjust and adapt to whatever shows up. If it’s here, we’re rolling with it. If it’s not, we’ll keep it moving.”

“We’re told there is some interest in other teams being on the program and we welcome that interest,” Chairman George McCaskey said at the NFL Owner’s meetings in Orlando in March.

Even rookie wide receiver Rome Odunze recently mentioned his apathy in participating to Bears Wire.

“I think for me, I’d definitely be more comfortable not having the ‘Hard Knocks’ in the building just because we’re all learning the new offense as rookies,” Odunze told Bears Wire earlier this month. “Caleb [Williams] has a lot on his plate already, so learning the offense and growing within the facility and setting a foundation for ourselves. So it would be something that, if it happened, we’d take it and we would go forward with it and do it the best that we could. But I think it might be a little bit of a distraction for what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Hall of Fame preseason game

On Aug. 1, the Bears will compete against the Texans in this season’s Hall of Fame preseason game set at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.

To some surprise, rarely do teams want an extra preseason game added to their slate. Plus, because the game is at the top of August, both the Bears and Texans will open training camp earlier than the rest of the league.

“I don’t think the coaches and the football people really want to go to training camp early,” Biggs said on 670 The Score. “An extra preseason game sounds great, more evaluation time, you’re not gonna play anybody in that game.”

Of course, it’s a momentous game for each organization. Both franchises will see some of their alma mater inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. For the Bears, Steve “Mongo” McMichael, Devin Hester and Julius Peppers will enter the Hall. The Texans will see wide receiver Andre Johnson be inducted, too.

But, as aforementioned, the game forces both teams to report to training camp earlier than usual and adds an extra game to their slate.

London Game

Finally, during Week 6 of the Bears’ regular season, they will travel to London to play against the Jaguars. Unfortunately, the Bears are deemed the home team of the game, meaning they’ll lose an actual home game at Soldier Field due to the overseas trip.

While representing the NFL overseas is an honor, NFL teams and players loathe traveling across the pond. It’s a long flight, which means they’ll have to quickly acclimate to the time zone change to be ready to compete.

It also provides a hassle at home for players who have families and other accommodations that need to be taken care of before they depart for the international trip. Last season, Chiefs wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling made his opposition to the Chiefs’ game in Germany apparent.

“Yeah, it sucks,” he said during a one-on-one interview with CBS Sports. “I mean, obviously it sucks that we have to travel nine hours for a home game when Arrowhead is right down the street. But obviously we do have other fans that are all over the world, not just in the United States. So it gives them the opportunity to see some of their favorite players play.

“I know we’ve got a lot of fans over in Germany, so I’m grateful that we get to give them that opportunity. But it does suck for the players to have to be away from their families, or (I’ve) got to find a babysitter for my dogs for a couple days. Things that we’ve got to take into account. But past that, it is what it is.”

There’s the trifecta: participating in “Hard Knocks,” playing the preseason Hall of Fame game and coughing up a home game to play overseas. The Bears have been handed the unideal trifecta of offseason and in-season hassles.

But, at the end of the day, it means the NFL recognizes the Bears are improving and quickly becoming one of the most intriguing teams in the league. And with great power, comes great responsibility.

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