Former NFL general manager: "I would not do 'Hard Knocks'"...
It's the natural inclination of most coaches in college and pro sports. The more media exposure received, the greater the attempt to control the message. Many sports organizations are simply unwilling to accept that those covering their organization are there to relay factual information to the masses and not to serve as an extension of the public relations department.
Coaches attempt to assign the word "distraction" to anything they don't have complete control over.
Speaking critically of an upcoming opponent, even if it's truthful, is considered taboo. If the team loses after such a comment, the negative remark is attached as a reason after the fact. If the team wins, the quote is forgotten.
This is worth pointing out as the New York Jets offer the public another window into the NFL world through HBO's award winning "Hard Knocks."
You will never see a Bill Belichick or Bill Parcells controlled team become the subject of this in-depth look at training camp. The opportunity was also apparently rejected by the Texans heading into their first season in 2002.
The Texans then-general manager Charlie Casserly tells the story to AM 710 in Los Angeles:
"There were people with the Texans that wanted us to do 'Hard Knocks' and I was against it. I think it's a distraction. The ultimate irony was... the Cowboys did it and we opened with the Cowboys. That was our first ever game and in preparation for the game we, of course, watched all of the 'Hard Knocks' shows just looking for little snippets of motivational material.
There were about 3 things that we pulled out of there that were comments that were negative about us. So they were shown to our players as part of the preparation for the game and you never know what difference anything makes but we came out and upset the Cowboys in our first ever game.
So I would not do Hard Knocks."
It's the convenient cop-out that is used to justify megalomaniacal behavior from coaches and front office types: the "you never know" principle.
Here's what we do know about "Hard Knocks."
3 of the 5 teams who have allowed the cameras in have posted a winning record that season. 2 of those 3 made the playoffs.
The overall combined record of those 5 teams in the regular season is 38-42.
The Texans did beat the Cowboys for the franchise's first ever victory following Dallas's participation in the series. Did it have anything to do with Houston culling "3 things" that were "negative" out of a television show? Or was it an eventual 4-12 team beating an eventual 5-11 team thanks to other more relevant factors like winning the turnover battle 3 to 1, having home field advantage, and the pleasure of facing a team with Quincy Carter at quarterback?
If you picked the latter you're much more level headed, and far less paranoid, than most coaches and general managers in sports.