Sportress of Blogitude

Jon Gruden: Matt Patricia, his beard perfect for ‘Hard Knocks,’ not Raiders

Jon Gruden expressed little interest this week at the NFL Scouting Combine in having the Oakland Raiders be the team covered in the upcoming season of “Hard Knocks.”

Instead, Gruden believes that the Detroit Lions should be offered up as the NFL’s annual sacrificial lamb, as it were, for the long-running HBO series.

Why? Matt Patricia … and his beard.

Beyond Gruden’s Raiders and Patricia’s Lions, the New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins are candidates for “Hard Knocks.” The NFL has a set of conditions and criteria in place that determines which teams are eligible for the show, and those five squads satisfy them.

What inspired Gruden suggesting that the Lions, not the Raiders, should be on “Hard Knocks” is how Patricia joked at a fan forum in February that the “Silver and Black” would be great for the show.

“I think Jon Gruden is an excellent choice for that show,” Patricia said, via the Detroit Free Press. “I think the Oakland Raiders and everything they‘ve got going on right now would be fantastic viewing for everybody to watch.”

The Raiders head coach pointed out Thursday how Patricia’s personality — and bushy facial hair — would provide great fodder for “Hard Knocks” cameras.

“Appreciate Matt Patricia, my friend, offering that up to me,” Gruden said. “That beard that Patricia has, he’s going to be a star. I mean he’s going to be one of the future television stars. I’d be surprised if Monday Night Football doesn’t put him upstairs in the future.”

NFL teams, not surprisingly, regard having to appear on “Hard Knocks” as something to avoid, as evidenced by what last year’s team said about the situation before begrudgingly accepting their fate. Having camera crews covering all the behind-the-scenes action at camp only serves as a distraction as teams try to get in their work ahead of the season.

While entertaining for fans, “Hard Knocks” is not where teams want to be seen, which is why Gruden and Patricia playing “Hot Potato” with the situation hardly comes as a surprise.