It was reported this week that the NFL will force a teams to participate in HBO’s highly successful series Hard Knocks in the future if a team does not volunteer first. You can count Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians as no fan of that option.
He said that he believes the show is an embarrassment to players and a distraction. I think to some extent he is right, however, the Cincinnati Bengals didn’t seem to have an issue with it and it certainly didn’t seem to distract them. It gives the NFL fan a great insight into how training camp life in the NFL works. In my opinion, the show is great. I think it is a true depiction of what goes on in camp on and off the field. I know, I’ve experienced two full camps with the Cardinals.
There is a lot that goes on you’d be somewhat shocked at. When Arians says it is embarrassment to players, I understand where he is coming from. The players prank each other. They use vocabulary you and I wouldn’t necessarily use on a daily basis. It is football players being football players though. This is why it is on HBO and not NBC or Fox. You can get away with the adult themes on HBO.
I spent two summers in Flagstaff working for the Cardinals and I heard and saw stuff you wouldn’t believe. However it is also quite an experience and I got to do it twice. I’d tell every fan to try to be part of if they could. The players are very down to Earth. They have things they hate about camp and things they love about it. All the meetings, practices, meals, training room sessions, weight room sessions, every aspect of camp has a story to tell.
Of course there are people who believe the show sucks. I’ve read the comments. People are certainly entitled to their opinion but the show is pure entertainment. It’s funny, the NFL is a business but it is in business to entertain people. Period. Hard Knocks is an extension of that entertainment. I’m not saying the show is right for every team but the NFL has the right to say how they are going to run its business. If that means there will be a guaranteed team on Hard Knocks every summer whether said team likes it or not, so be it. I have no problem with that.