A crucial Giants season could start on HBO.

The Giants are one of five teams eligible for “Hard Knocks,” the reality-style show that takes you behind the scenes of an NFL training camp. Most teams try to avoid being the focus of the program and there are rules in place that protect most teams from being eligible. The Giants just are not protected by any of them.

A team is not eligible for the show if it has a first-year head coach, a playoff berth in the past two seasons or has appeared on “Hard Knocks” in the past 10 years. Nope, nope and nope.

The four other teams that are eligible are the 49ers, Raiders, Redskins and Lions. The Giants could have a rookie quarterback to make them appealing, Eli Manning fighting for his job or both. They also have Odell Beckham. But what they don’t have is Jon Gruden.

The Raiders coach has become a hot-button issue since returning to the NFL on a 10-year, $100 million deal last offseason. He is outspoken and controversial in ways Giants counterpart Pat Shurmur would never be. New GM Mike Mayock, like Gruden, comes from a TV background and has never been one to shy away from attention.

The Raiders will also have a curious quarterback situation given Gruden’s tenuous relationship with Derek Carr and the addition of punching bag Nathan Peterman.

The Giants might be the second most interesting team of this bunch, but feel like a distant second to the Raiders.

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