Child please indeed.
The Bengals once again will serve as the guinea pigs for Hard Knocks, the popular HBO and NFL Films series. As reported by Paul Domowitch of the Philadelphia Daily News (who apparently tweeted the news then deleted it) and confirmed by Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Bengals are the pick. Per Reedy, an announcement is coming next week.
The Bengals last served as the centerpiece for the show in 2009. Shrugging off the potential distractions, the Bengals unexpectedly won the AFC North with a 10-6 record.
This time around (and with only 13 players who experienced the event four years ago), the Bengals are shooting for a third straight postseason berth, and some (e.g., me) are seriously considering picking the Bengals as the eventual 2013 AFC champions.
While perennial playoff teams rarely need or want the exposure that comes from Hard Knocks, the Bengals can seize the opportunity as a coming out party, especially with the potent mix of young and experienced players with a high degree of talent. Moreover, coach Marvin Lewis presumably was pleased with the outcome in 2009, or he wouldn’t be allowing it to happen again.
It’s also safe to say that the presence of the cameras will result in a cameo appearance — invited or not — from Chad Johnson, who was the star of the team’s last stint on Hard Knocks.