After getting getting repeatedly rejected like a pimply sophomore trying to get a date to the homecoming dance, HBO's Hard Knocks finally landed a team willing to go out with them. The Miami Dolphins have agreed to let HBO's cameras into their training camp.
The series takes viewers inside training camp and gives a behind the curtain look at what it's like for established stars and guys trying to make a team. The show is really compelling and makes you care for these guys trying to live out their dreams, only to get a call telling them to meet with the coach and bring their playbooks, which is the death knell for these guys.
HBO and NFL Films were ready with a press release shortly after new Miami coach Joe Philbin broke the news at his press conference.
"The Miami Dolphins have long been synonymous with success on the field as evidenced by our five Super Bowl appearances and the only perfect season in NFL history," added Philbin. "That heritage serves as a constant reminder to our players and staff of the great legacy that has been left for us to uphold. Our team embraces that rich past and looks confidently to the future as we begin this journey back to the top of the NFL.
"All the decisions that have been made this off-season have had one guiding principle — will it help our players and organization reach its full potential? This one is no different. We are convinced that our affiliation with NFL FILMS and HBO will allow football fans everywhere an opportunity to comprehend the significant sacrifices and demands that our players endure each day along their journey in training camp as a Miami Dolphin. We eagerly await the opening of training camp on July 26 and the 2012 NFL regular season that lies ahead of us."
For some time it was not looking good for the show. The only team that had been vocal in its desire to be on the show was the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team with way too small a market. Several teams were offered the show and declined; several more stated their lack of interest in order to squash any rumors.
Why the Dolphins were is somewhat of a mystery. It's biggest name player, Brandon Marshall has left for the Windy City (he would have been good for lots of drama). The biggest draw appears to be a quarterback battle between rookie first round draft pick Ryan Tannehill, Matt Moore, and David Garrard. Running back Reggie Bush has tried to generate buzz by claiming he can compete for the rushing title (hold back the laughter folks).
Among the teams that declined the show are Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins.
Houston had wanted to do the show in the past, but decided against it. The Jets would have been a popular choice with the drama that will surround Tim Tebow coming to town. The team's previous season on the show proved that the Jets colorful cast of characters made for good television. There had been rumors that the show would follow the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, coached by the Harbaugh brothers.
Some teams may have shied away from the series due to the Bounty Gate scandal involving the New Orleans Saints. The audio recording of Williams making his pregame speech to the team prior to playing the San Francisco 49ers was pretty damaging. Teams likely want to make sure that nothing gets caught on tape and possibly misconstrued later.
Here's hoping that the Dolphins can keep the series alive till next season and someone more interesting is willing to step up. Lets at least be glad that the Jaguars weren't picked (yawn).
The first episode airs on HBO on August 7th.
Article by Travis Pulver and Eric Gray