NY Giants are chosen for HBO’s Hard Knocks

As announced earlier today, the New York Giants will be the focus of the first-ever off-season edition of the Hard Knocks series, streaming on Max on July 2nd. The series will reportedly follow the Giants from January through July as they navigate the 2024 off-season. With that in mind, here are some stories or moments I’d like to see covered.

1. Wink Martindale leaving the Giants. This may be the least likely to be covered as it’s the second most controversial and happened early in January, before all the other moves, but with all the rumors that flew around regarding how Wink departed, getting actual video from inside the building would undoubtedly make for compelling television. 

2. Saquon Barkley’s departure. Xavier McKinney’s negotiations could be interesting, too, but with the vitriol that came from fans over Barkley leaving for the rival Eagles and becoming persona non grata, getting an inside glimpse of a heel turn by the once-beloved face of the franchise would be something none of us could have expected to see. I’d also love to see John Mara’s reaction to him leaving. 

3. The Brian Burns trade. This one is almost sure to be covered, but getting a look at the process of Joe Schoen making calls and negotiating a new contract with a star-level addition is something we have yet to see much of, if at all, during the traditional Hard Knocks format. 

4. Daniel Jones’ road to recovery. The human element is one of the biggest draws of the original Hard Knocks series. Daniel Jones is the most polarizing figure on the current Giants roster. The mere mention of him can ignite a Civil War amongst Giants fans. Let’s see how much of the noise he hears and how hard he’s worked coming back from a season-ending injury. 

5. The rumored attempted trade-up for Drake Maye. This is less likely to be featured than the Wink departure, as it would confirm a story that would feed the media and create drama that would carry on through the season. But I’m intrigued to see how close the Giants were to landing Daniel Jones’ potential successor and what ultimately made them draw the line. Watching Schoen and Dabes then do damage control with DJ would have me glued to my screen. 

6. The process of evaluating rookies. We’ve seen glimpses of this on the Giants’ YouTube channel, where they’ve released combined interviews with draft picks after the fact, but I’d like to see those as longer-form pieces. I’d also enjoy seeing them speak with the picks and their Coaches and/or teammates at Pro Days, the Senior Bowl, and on their 30 visits. I can’t imagine they’d show much of the prospects they didn’t select, but seeing how they disqualify prospects would be fascinating.

7. Jermaine Eluemunor. One guy? Yes. On social media, Eluemunor has come across as the anti-Evan Neal. He seems genuinely excited to be a Giant and has said all the right things to endear himself to Giants fans. He talked about one of his earliest football memories being the Giants playing in Europe and how much it means to play for them. I’d love to see that idea explored more. 

8. Tommy Devito’s return to the third string. We all know about Tommy Devito’s Jeremy Lin-like regular season runs. However, that has been short-lived. He’s still on the roster, but after the Drew Lock signing, he’s been pushed back down to third string. If they had drafted a quarterback, he could have been pushed off the roster as the Draft approached. How does one handle going from overnight sensation to battling for a job in just a few months? 

9. Carmen Bricillo and the rebuilding of the O-line. We all know the Giants’ struggles trying to assemble even a functional offensive line over the last decade. Now, they have a new Coach charged with that task. Bricillo, the Ekuemunor as mentioned above, and a host of free agent adds, plus a couple of undrafted free agents, now have to come together to try to fill a collective pothole that hasn’t been filled in what feels like forever and has taken out so many Giants offenses over the years. Let’s see how Evan Neal responds to all the new ads. And is by far the most hated player on the current roster. 

10. Dante Miller’s road to the NFL. The man nicknamed “Lil Turbo” has the rare distinction of being a rookie signed before the Draft. The series should chronicle his unique story of going from being an Ivy League player to being barred from South Carolina’s team to finally getting a shot at the NFL. 

  These aren’t the only stories. There’s also the addition of Shane Bowen and the changing of the defense, though I think that’s a story that would be easier to tell in the traditional pre-season Hard Knocks than this current one. Schoen and Daboll are getting some heat from fans and the media—especially Daboll as he evaluates his approach with his assistants. Darius Slayton skipping OTAs and wanting a new deal is another story, and Jon Runyan is going from watching his Dad wage war against the Giants to aligning himself with them. 

They can also tackle everything that went into the 100th season celebration and the various things they do to celebrate it. Some of the more controversial stories I brought up will likely get blocked from making Max by Giants’ brass, but there’s still a lot of meat on the narrative bone, even without them. So many options are on the table, but let’s hope they make it as exciting and fun as possible!