HBO’s training camp documentary “Hard Knocks” has offered the 2012 starring role to the Atlanta Falcons. And before you think that’s such a good idea, think about the distracting media circus that follows the featured team while they prepare for the upcoming season.
It’s just not worth it.
Sure, there are good things about the show spotlighting the Falcons. They’re one of the most professional franchises in the NFL, and it would give the world a chance to see the great men and women that work around the team. It would turn guys like Brent Grimes, Roddy White, Sean Weatherspoon and Harry Douglas into some of the most well-liked guys in sports, just by being able to see their personalities on display.
Think about what it did for Chad Ochocinco. Trust me — the quartet I listed above are just as funny and have just as much charisma. It would do great things for their career.
And I’ll even submit to the idea that it would grow the fanbase, which the Falcons always need. Owner Arthur Blank has transformed this team into “Atlanta’s Team,” and nationwide, the likability of the players would make new fans.
People everywhere would say, “You know what? I really like these guys!”
But is all of that worth bringing HBO onto the practice fields in Flowery Branch?
Here’s a look at the past teams that have been used by HBO for their past “Hard Knocks” seasons, and as you can see, it might hurt the franchise’s season more than it helps:
- Baltimore Ravens, 2001: 10-6, went 12-4 the year before
Dallas Cowboys, 2002: 5-11, went 5-11 the year before
Kansas City Chiefs, 2007: 4-12, went 9-7 the year before
Dallas Cowboys, 2008: 9-7, went 13-3 the year before
Cincinnati Bengals, 2009: 10-6, went 4-11-1 the year before
New York Jets, 2010: 11-5, went 9-7 the year before
I said the featured team is “used” by the network, and that’s the truth. When you agree to let HBO into your camp, you’re on their terms. You have to deal with a camera crew following around all of your star players. All day, every day.
You just can’t do a massive distraction any better.
If you listen to Falcons coaches, they preach complete and total focus during the most important two weeks of the preseason. What’s more, several newly-hired coaches will be trying to put the final pieces into place with their players.
Where would HBO and their dozen cameras come into this equation?
Maybe if this were another season, with different circumstances, I’d be willing to get excited about the thought of the franchise being on “Hard Knocks.” But this is a make-or-break year for the Falcons, and I don’t want anything broken four weeks before the season starts.