The Cardinals have had an interesting week or so, to say the least. It will be interesting to see how much of it makes its way into the in-season Hard Knocks series that focus on the Cardinals.
Here’s a guess — not much, if anything.
We’ll start with the surprise release of running back Eno Benjamin. On Thursday, Bo Brack of the PHNX Arizona Cardinals podcast sent out an email blast declaring that “NFL Films and HBO Hard Knocks director Terrell Riley tells PHNX Cardinals the interaction that led to running back Eno Benjamin’s release for the Arizona Cardinals was ‘shocking’ and will be on next week’s episode.”
Since then, Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic reported that there will be no scenes in this week’s episode regarding the cutting of Eno Benjamin. Director Steve Trout told McManaman that “it wasn’t because of anyone [censoring] a scene or scenes.”
“‘We simply did not capture anything,” Trout told McManaman. “‘Some things do happen away from the cameras and that was the case here.'”
Trout also characterized Riley’s remark as something that was “spun into an expectation that we would be showing something that does not exist.”
“Mistakes happen,” Trout told McManaman. “That was an innocent one.”
Innocent or not, the fact remains that the Hard Knocks series isn’t a true documentary. It’s an informercial. The NFL owns the company that produces the show about an NFL team.
It’s been known for years that the team that is the subject of the show has final say over what’s included in the broadcast. If the Cardinals don’t want to get into the details of the Eno Benjamin situation, those details will remain concealed.
Ditto for the events resulting in the termination of offensive line coach/run game coordinator Sean Kugler. The email circulated by HBO regarding tonight’s debut of the latest episode highlights only this quote from quarterback Colt McCoy: “It’s been crazy . . . getting to play in Mexico.”
In other words, forget about getting the real story regarding Benjamin or Kugler.
Surely, the cameras were in position to capture something about Kugler. He was fired and sent home on Monday morning, the day of the game in Mexico City. It surely was a big deal for the team.
It also was a hot potato, and an embarrassment. Too hot and too embarrassing for the Cardinals to allow any mention of it in the Chamber of Commerce brochure masquerading as an authentic look at the trials and tribulations of a team that is woefully underperforming and dealing with plenty of issues that would be very compelling, if they didn’t end up on the cutting-room floor.
Narrator (literally): They ended up on the cutting-room floor.