Discussions had been going on for some time, but the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons eventually declined to take part in HBO’s Hard Knocks. First broadcast in 2002, Hard Knocks follows an NFL franchise through its offseason and training camps as they prepare for the coming year.
I can fully understand the Falcons turning down the offer. Football is a serious business and I am sure there are many organizations that would rather not have to deal with unneccessary distractions such as a film crew running around filming their every move.
Plus, I find it difficult to see what the benefits are to being featured on a show such as Hard Knocks. These football teams are not selling anything; they’re not looking for a quick five minutes of fame. I applaud the move by the Falcons, and I commend them for focusing on football.
But the show must go on, and HBO are already looking for a replacement team to feature on this year’s show. The one team I could actually see having something to gain from being on the show would be the Jacksonville Jaguars.
It has been well documented that the Jaguars have struggled to sell tickets to their games, and a show like Hard Knocks might well spur interest in a team that has struggled to maintain a strong fan base. It was also rumoured that the San Fransisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens were possible candidates for the show.
While I like the format of Hard Knocks and I enjoy the chance to go behind the curtain of an NFL franchise, I fully appreciate a team such as the Falcons preferring not to be placed under such scrutiny for the sake of entertainment.