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Does Hard Knocks Help Or Hurt Teams’ Win Totals?

Does Being On Hard Knocks Help Or Hurt Teams' Win Totals?

The month of August is here, so that means it’s Hard Knocks season. The Oakland Raiders will be front and center for this year’s installment, so we’re all about to become even more familiar with Jon Gruden and company.

A few years back, we took a look at whether or not being on the show impacted team results for that season. Here’s a quick look at what has happened since the show first debuted.

  • From 2001 through 2010, there were seven editions of Hard Knocks.
  • For those seven teams, the record was 3-4 that season versus projected win total.
  • Starting in 2012, Hard Knocks became an annual event. Seven more editions have been completed since then.
  • The same thing happened. Teams went 3-4 against their projected win total for the season.

All told, it’s 6-8 for Hard Knocks teams when it comes to exceeding the bar on win totals. That’s a shade under 43%, so it’s pretty understandable if teams are skittish about appearing on the show.

For further perspective, closer examination is needed. Let’s take a look at the last three teams who have appeared on Hard Knocks and what happened in the season to follow.

2016 Los Angeles Rams
Preseason Win Total: 7
Final Record: 4-12

The Rams first season back in Los Angeles didn’t go swimmingly. The club started out with a mark of 3-1, but they would win just one game the rest of the way to finish up at 4-12. This was Jared Goff’s rookie campaign, and he spent much of it looking like a deer in the headlights.

Head coach Jeff Fisher was shown the door in Week 14, as it became crystal clear to team ownership that his voice wasn’t the right one. In the offseason, the club hired Sean McVay to fill the role. Who says being on Hard Knocks doesn’t lead to good things down the road?

2017 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Preseason Win Total: 8
Final Record: 5-11

The year prior to being on Hard Knocks, the Buccaneers finished up with a record of 9-7. The club would go on to be active in free agency, so the thought heading into the season was that this was a team that was potentially on the rise.

That turned out to not be the case. Tampa Bay would take a step backwards and finish at 5-11. Last year, the club turned the same trick. Bruce Arians is now on board as head coach, so perhaps he can be the one to right the ship.

2018 Cleveland Browns
Preseason Win Total: 5.5
Final Record: 7-8-1

After a miserable 0-16 campaign in 2017, just showing a pulse in 2018 would’ve been a positive for the Browns. The team did more than that. While there was plenty of dysfunction along the way — including an in-season head coach firing — the team managed to turn it around.

Cleveland closed out the year with a mark of 7-8-1. Baker Mayfield is looking like a player, and the team snagged him a new weapon in Odell Beckham Jr. as part of a busy offseason. The 2018 edition of Hard Knocks may very well have captured the infancy of something good.

So What Does This Mean For The 2019 Raiders?

Gruden returned to Oakland to lead the charge last year. Things didn’t go too well. The club parted ways with two of its top assets in Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, but they did manage to stockpile some draft picks.

Unfortunately for the Raiders, draft picks for the future didn’t translate into results during the year. Oakland finished up at 4-12 and was on the wrong side of a number of blowouts along the way.

The club was active in the offseason. A big trade netted wideout Antonio Brown, while Vontaze Burfict was among the catches in free agency. In the draft, new General Manager Mike Mayock and company selected Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell as the first of three round one selections.

Oddsmakers have set the bar at six regular season wins for the Raiders. The club’s schedule is far from friendly, as they’ll be facing off with a number of potential playoff squads in the first half of the year.

If they can make it through that stretch with a few surprising wins or without too much damage being inflicted, then things could be looking up in Oakland. If not, then we all may want to look out.

As for the Hard Knocks effect, this is clearly a rebuilding situation where an identity makeover is needed. Perhaps the extra cameras won’t hurt, but we’re not coming up with any ways in which they will help.

It’s going to be tough for the 2019 Oakland Raiders to join the ranks of Hard Knocks squads which hit the Over on regular season wins.

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