Barber: Raiders' circus comes to Napa
NAPA — the circus came to napa on friday. it will be performed consecutively for the next three-and-a-half weeks, with a few days off for rest (and football games). Animal acts are mostly a thing of the past, but this one will have acrobats, fire breathers and clowns.
Barnum & Bailey have nothing on Gruden & Mayock.
The Raiders had already put the “camp” in training camp a year ago. Jon Gruden’s presence will do that for a football team. Gruden is a born showman, and a revered figure among Bay Area sports fanatics. He was bound to make Training Camp 2018 a spectacle.
As it turns out, the Raiders were just warming up for 2019. What’s bigger than red-faced Jon Gruden pacing the practice field in Napa? Red-faced Jon Gruden pacing the practice field in Napa, with six NFL Films camera crews and 14 additional robotic cameras following the team’s every move for this year’s edition of “Hard Knocks” on HBO.
As a very subtle NFL Films placard hanging just outside the practice field stated: IN BEING PRESENT AT THIS LOCATION, EACH PERSON IN ATTENDANCE IRREVOCABLY CONSENTS TO BEING FILMED OR VIDEOTAPED AND RELEASES ALL PRODUCERS AND USERS OF SUCH FILM OR VIDEO TAPE FOR ANY LIABILITY FOR LOSS OR DAMAGE TO PERSONS OR PROPERTY OR FOR INFRINGEMENTS OF ANY RIGHTS, AND EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZES AND PERMITS USE OF HIS OR HER NAME, VOICE OR LIKENESS AND ALL REPRODUCTIONS THEREOF IN ALL MEDIA FOR ALL PURPOSES THROUGHOUT THE WORLD IN PERPETUITY WITHOUT LIMITATION AND WITHOUT COMPENSATION THEREOF WHATSOEVER. THANK YOU.
No, thank you! It isn’t everyone who gets a chance to be background scenery, without compensation thereof whatsoever, for a no-pads Gareon Conley interception.
“The reason you go away to training camp is to get away from all the distractions,” Raiders general manager Mike Mayock said Friday. “Get together, bond, learn your assignments. No distractions, no intrusions. Hard Knocks is an intrusion. But it was handed to us, so it’s up to us to deal with it. I think we’re really dealing with it in a professional way.”
Yes, but it’s easy to maintain professionalism when you haven’t had a single official team practice or meeting yet. We’ll see how composed everyone remains the first time Gruden jumps on quarterback Derek Carr for getting rid of the ball too quickly.
Gruden and Mayock, the ringleaders of this circus, addressed the media in the Carneros Ballroom at the Napa Valley Marriott, where the team stays during camp. Despite its grand name, it was a small conference room. The coach and GM entered from a side door that was all but invisible in the soundproofed wall. It was a nearly perfect entry. All they lacked was a crackle and a poof of smoke.
Hard Knocks has a history of delivering theatrical television. Like when Rams defensive end William Hayes pooh-poohed the existence of dinosaurs, or when Bengals linebacker James Harrison got 300 acupuncture needles in his neck, or when Jets cornerback Anthony Cromartie attempted, and failed, to name all nine of his children.
Expect the Raiders to render all of those moments forgettable. It’s almost as if Gruden and Mayock assembled a cast specifically to drive up ratings.