July 27 2012; Davie, FL, USA; HBO sports series Hard Knocks is seen taping a feature mini-series during their practices at the Dolphins training facility. Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Let the circus begin.
HBO has announced that this season of Hard Knocks — the behind the scenes look at an NFL preseason — will feature the Atlanta Falcons.
Falcons owner told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the least controversial comment one could possibly manufacture.
"“We are excited about the opportunity to give our fans a behind the scenes look at what it takes to prepare an NFL team for the rigors of a 16-game regular season and beyond. This marks the first time that our franchise will be featured on Hard Knocks and we look forward to showcasing our great players and coaches to football fans all across America.”"
The scary part of that benign quote is that Hard Knocks does not thrive because of its blandness. It thrives on controversy, chaos, conflict and craziness. For example, this heartwarming piece of Chad Johnson getting cut by by Dolphins’ coach Joe Philbin, shortly after a domestic violence arrest: Ochocinco gets cut.
Or this family unfriendly speech by Jets Coach Rex Ryan (uncensored on the show): Ryan’s snack speech.
The show will begin airing on Aug. 5. The “all-access” pass into an NFL preseason and players’ quests to make the team debuted in 2001 when it featured the Baltimore Ravens. The Cowboys were featured in 2002. The show took a hiatus until 2007, when it featured the Chiefs, followed in subsequent years by the Cowboys, Bengals, Jets and Dolphins. The Falcons reportedly turned down an opportunity for the show a few years back.
The HBO crew will no doubt begin to explore the storylines of the impacts of Roddy White’s brother’s death or Julio Jones’ brother being shot. Jake Matthews will certainly get the “first round draft pick pressure” angle and the predictable highlights on Matt Ryan will be there. But it also makes you wonder what HBO knows that we’re just not yet privy to. Here’s hoping for bland 2014 Hard Knocks.