Plenty of teams said “no” to Hard Knocks, for various reasons. The Dolphins agreed to do it.
On Tuesday, coach Joe Philbin discussed the situation, calling it a “football decision.”
“We’re excited that NFL Films and HBO has chosen the Miami Dolphins to appear on Hard Knocks,” Philbin said, via the video box on the right rail of the site. “I want you to know a couple things about the decision. Number one, it was a football decision. It was made by the football operations staff. Our owner, [Stephen Ross], supported our decision but in no way, shape, or form forced us to make this decision.”
Many will believe otherwise, especially since G.M. Jeff Ireland grew up in the Bill Parcells school of ultra-secrecy.
But as the Dolphins struggle to generate interest in the team via conventional means (you know, by winning more games than they lose), the team has to do something to get people sufficiently engaged to buy tickets to the games. Thus, the Dolphins are now more available to the media — and they’ll be even more available once the NFL Films cameras and microphones show up.
To the extent that the appearance arises from a football decision, Philbin didn’t really articulate a football reason. He said the that show will “showcase our players” and provide a “great opportunity for us to communicate with our fans.” While those concerns reflect prudent business reasons, there’s no obvious basis for the move, from a football standpoint.
In contrast, Vince Lombardi liked having NFL Films camera crews around because it made his players work harder. If that’s the basis for the “football decision,” why not say so?
And so the Dolphins will deny that the move was driven by dollars and cents, and the rest of us won’t believe them. But at least we finally know who the team will be, even if the end result likely will be far less compelling than if the Jets, Saints, Broncos, Colts, or Redskins had done it.