‘Hard Knocks’ Peeks Inside Raider Nation’s Strange State of Affairs

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

ALSO SEE: NFL Preseason 2019 TV Schedule

The Oakland Raiders have always been an unconventional NFL franchise, but this era of Silver and Black football might be the weirdest yet.

So, obviously, the Raiders are the perfect team to feature on HBO’s Hard Knocks docuseries. NFL Films crews will capture the Raiders in all their bewildering glory as Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the Oakland Raiders premieres Aug. 6 and airs Tuesdays through Sept. 3.

Let’s recap the latest head-scratching chapters in the Raiders saga. Head coach Jon Gruden was lured out of the Monday Night Football booth and got his old job back with the team last season. The Raiders traded away LB Khalil Mack and WR Amari Cooper, then finished 4-12 and last in the AFC West.

In December, the Raiders hired Mike Mayock, longtime draft analyst for NFL Network, to be their general manager. Then they grew a mean streak by adding stellar but selfish WR Antonio Brown from the Pittsburgh Steelers, nasty LB Vontaze Burfict from the Cincinnati Bengals and notorious hothead OL Richie Incognito from a brief retirement.

Off the field, the franchise is in fan-base limbo. The Raiders will move to Las Vegas when their new stadium is completed, likely in 2020. After failing to find a suitable temporary home elsewhere, the Raiders were resigned to extend their lease at Oakland’s RingCentral Coliseum.

The NFL preseason kicks off Aug. 1 at Tom Benson Stadium in Canton, Ohio, for the Hall of Fame Game on NBC. The Denver Broncos, with new QB Joe Flacco, face the Atlanta Falcons in the first of many games that don’t count, but we’ll watch anyway.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2019 is inducted Aug. 3 on ESPN and NFL Network. Entering the pantheon of football greats are players Champ Bailey, Tony Gonzalez, Ty Law, Kevin Mawae, Ed Reed and Johnny Robinson, and contributors Pat Bowlen and Gil Brandt.

The NFL is celebrating 100 seasons, so it’s going old-school with the Green Bay Packers at the Chicago Bears in the regular-season opener Sept. 5 on NBC.

NFL Preseason TV Highlights
Aug. 1 Hall of Fame Game: Atlanta vs. Denver, NBC
Aug. 15 Oakland at Arizona, ESPN
Aug. 18 New Orleans at L.A. Chargers, CBS; Seattle at Minnesota, FOX
Aug. 19 San Francisco at Denver, ESPN
Aug. 22 Jacksonville at Miami, FOX
Aug. 23 Buffalo at Detroit, CBS
Aug. 25 Pittsburgh at Tennessee, NBC

About Ryan Berenz 2053 Articles
Some thing I like (in no particular order): Sports, Star Wars, LEGO, beer, 'The Simpsons' Seasons 1-13, my family and the few friends who are not embarrassed to be seen with me. Why yes, I am very interested in how much you like 'Alaskan Bush People.' #LynxForLife