Apparently, the folks at HBO and/or NFL Films have realized that the best way to build some buzz for the eventual Hard Knocks series will be to build buzz as to the team about which the league eventually will be buzzing.
On a day when a report surfaced that the Jets are divided and a two-team Harbaugh brothers edition is being considered and the Jaguars are jazzed up about getting some/any attention, it also has been disclosed the Falcons also are a “strong contender,” according to Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com. (If there was an ESPNAtlanta.com, whomever Bristol had poached from whatever newspaper is still covering the Falcons would be pissed right now.)
There could be some disagreement within the cubicles at Flowery Branch regarding whether it makes sense to open training camp to cameras and microphones. Falcons G.M. Thomas Dimitroff comes from the Belichick tree, which strongly discourages doing anything that in any way could undermine the effort to focus on business and maintain maximum secrecy. (Then again, Bill Belichick was wired for all of the 2009 season.) Falcons coach Mike Smith has twice before been exposed to the exposure that comes from Hard Knocks, with the Ravens in 2001 and the Jaguars in 2004.
(The fact that you don’t recall that the Jaguars were once the subject of the Hard Knocks series does little to enhance the franchise’s chances of getting its wish to do it again.)
Because the Jets made it to the AFC title game in the season in which they served as the subject of the most recent edition of Hard Knocks (the lockout killed the series in 2011), other teams may be willing to treat Hard Knocks as something other than kryptonite. Indeed, Jets coach Rex Ryan has said that appearing on Hard Knocks made the team better prepared for the extra attention that comes during the postseason.
And let’s not forget the fact that the man for whom the Super Bowl trophy is named loved having cameras in camp, encouraging the NFL Films crews to pretend to shoot practices even when they had no film in the cameras. Vince Lombardi believed that the extra attention made the players work harder.
So it appears the league will have several options for 2011. The challenge will be to pick the right team. If the goal is maximum ratings, the Jets are the obvious selection — especially now that it’s being reported that Ryan doesn’t want to do it.