The Raiders were a perfect choice for “Hard Knocks” and give us the best chance at another signature moment in the show.
The Oakland/soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders were announced as the subjects of HBO’s Hard Knocks, much to the delight of NFL fans everywhere. The Raiders have always been one of the more newsworthy organizations in NFL history, whether it be for good or bad reasons.
Prior to their headline-grabbing moves this offseason, it seemed like the Raiders would have been the right choice for next year’s show, when their move to Las Vegas is set to begin. And yet, this couldn’t come at a better time for them. With characters like Jon Gruden, Antonio Brown, Vontaze Burfict, and Richie Incognito, the Raiders were a slam dunk choice.
The show has always been a good bridge leading up to the season as something we can look forward to every week. It’s also produced some great moments — moments that we expect the Raiders to add to in their handful of weeks on the show.
Let’s relive some of the most fun moments from the previous 12 seasons of Hard Knocks.
7. William Hayes’ belief in mermaids, and non-belief in dinosaurs
When the Jeff Fisher-led Rams were on Hard Knocks in 2016 (I know, seems forever ago now), Hayes’ belief in mermaids was revealed to the masses.
“I remember him getting real excited about the potential for moving out here because he knew he would be closer to mermaids here on the West Coast,” Jeff Fisher said on the show.
One even came to visit him at practice:
#HARDKNOCKS NOW: Spotted at @RamsNFL camp… pic.twitter.com/nZAi649FuB
— NFL (@NFL) August 22, 2016
And he gave her a hug. Validation, I guess!:
Will Hayes has a special visitor at practice today! #SaveTheMermaids pic.twitter.com/8Fr2HniahU
— Dani Klupenger (@daniklup) August 22, 2016
The moment became funnier when Hayes added that he felt dinosaurs never existed. And honestly, it was the most interesting part of that Hard Knocks season, which was otherwise a big snoozer.
Here’s what his one-time teammate Chris Long had to say about it to ESPN:
“He thinks archaeologists place bones underground like a parent would place Easter eggs. They just planted them. It’s some large conspiracy. He does not believe that dinosaurs ever existed and he thinks that mermaids are real. I love dinosaurs, so we have a big point of contention.”
The NFL are internet fun blockers, so you’ll have to view the entire clip here.
Also, Hayes’ list of things he does and does not believe in goes beyond dinosaurs and mermaids. He doesn’t think man ever walked on the moon, and that there are aliens and other life forms in the universe.
Pssst, he’s a free agent, Raiders. Sign him.
6. Antonio Cromartie naming all of his children, which there are a lot of
Back in 2010, Cromartie was tasked with naming all nine of his kids at the time. It wasn’t exactly a quick process:
As of the writing of this post, Cromartie has 14 kids, making Philip Rivers look rather chill. Cromartie had a vasectomy after having 10 kids, and yet here we are, four kids later.
That’s a lot of kids.
5. Rex Ryan’s post-practice speech, with a surprise ending
In 2010, then-Jets head coach Rex Ryan delivered the ending to a speech that we didn’t know we needed:
Ryan told his players, “Let’s make sure we play like the fucking New York Jets and not some fucking slap dick team. That’s what I want to see tomorrow. Do we understand what the fuck I want to see tomorrow?”
He concluded, “Now let’s go eat a goddamn snack.” If that ain’t a mood, I don’t know what is.
4. Bob Wylie’s bouncin’ tummy
The @Browns part ways with Offensive Linesman coach Bob Wylie!
His Set Hut stomach jiggle will always be legendary
SET HUT! pic.twitter.com/X0lQ3baeUJ
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) January 10, 2019
I mean, come on. That’s just wonderful. The Browns offensive line coach easily became the MVP of their Hard Knocks season, and it wasn’t just because of his bouncing stomach.
3. Bob Wylie’s stretching rant
I would like to preface this video by acknowledging that what Wylie is saying here is ridiculous. That’s also why it’s hilarious:
“Did you know, World War I and World War II, all those guys that fought in that war … they did pushups, jumping jacks, situps, climb the rope and ran,” he says. “None of this fancy shit. And they won two World Wars. Two World Wars by doing jumping jacks, push ups, and situps! Do you think they were worried when they were running across Normandy about fuckin’ stretching?”
For the record: no, I don’t think they were worried about stretching when they were running across Normandy.
2. Bernard Pollard werkin’ it in the locker room
Versatility is important for NFL defensive backs, and Pollard displayed his in 2007 for his teammates in the locker room:
The Chiefs went 4-12 that season, but at least they were entertaining leading up to that dud of a year, I suppose?
1. Vince Wilfork’s overalls
For anybody who thought that Wilfork was gonna lose his spark after the Patriots declined his option in 2015 and he signed with the Texans, they were gravely mistaken.
Wilfork showed up to Texans practice later that year in overalls, and it was the greatest moment that Hard Knocks had ever produced:
It gave us this image, of an annoyed Bill O’Brien, shadowed by the beefy Wilfork in overalls (and NOTHING, but overalls):
That’s a whole lotta man.
There are endless possibilities of moments that the Raiders could give us in 2019. We can’t be sure how they’re going to look on the field during the season, but we know they’re going to perform well on Hard Knocks, and that’s enough for us.