Cory’s Corner: ‘Hard Knocks’ is the NFL’s appetizer All Green Bay Packers All the Time

Another year, same song and dance for “Hard Knocks.”

The reality TV show "Hard Knocks" is once again having a hard time finding a team willing to be featured on HBO.
The reality TV show “Hard Knocks” is once again having a hard time finding a team willing to be featured on HBO.

Once again, teams are dodging the HBO reality TV series that follows around a team during training camp. They don’t want anything to do with the all-access fishbowl.

Take Arizona Cardinals Bruce Arians for example. He told the Arizona Republic, “I don’t want reality TV. It does nothing for me so I don’t really want to be on reality TV. I would have to change totally how I coach. It would not be acceptable to a lot of people, and I’ve been down the road with some people.”

First of all, I understand where Arians is coming from. Lots of teams are afraid that with cameras in every nook and cranny, coaches will have to tiptoe around to make sure their game plan is safe and secure come Week 1.

But I watched a lot of the show last year. And this was the second time in four years the Bengals were featured and it really showed what a leader defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer was and showed how giddy rookie Giovani Bernard was when he moved into his downtown Cincinnati apartment.

I’m glad that this show is being forced on teams by the NFL. While the league is not even close to not being covered in any media sense whatsoever, it is getting harder and harder to ascertain real personality in the minutiae of mundane coach speak. Who doesn’t want to watch Jermaine Gresham and Geno Atkins go at each other in the Oklahoma drill and then listen to teammates talk about it in the locker room?

Teams fret that players after a week or two will get comfortable with the cameras and proceed to say or do something that the team doesn’t particularly like. But if said player does or says something stupid, odds are it would’ve been captured by the everyday media.

With the Packers, imagine the behind-the-scenes banter that Aaron Rodgers has with all of his receivers off the field or if there’s any post-practice scolding for the offensive line for a missed assignment or two?

By the second preseason game, you understand how important the NFL is for the guys on the bubble. You notice the late-round guys that always play with their hair on fire during the game and wonder if they also hustle to things like position or film meetings.

“Hard Knocks” may get a bad reputation because it’s on HBO, which means that nothing is filtered. But I will argue that the straight-up version really shows what a pressure cooker training camp can be — for both the players and coaches.

Instead of seeing teams constantly say no to the show, it should be the previous Super Bowl champ that gets featured every year. That way, we wouldn’t have to go through this charade each spring and it would be a team that would obviously hold plenty of interest.

The show is a great appetizer for the season. And if coaches really need to adjust their coaching style because of a TV show, perhaps they should’ve changed it up a long time ago.


Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn


21 thoughts on “Cory’s Corner: ‘Hard Knocks’ is the NFL’s appetizer

  1. I disagree, there’s no need for cameras constantly on 24/7. Somethings are better left unseen. Less media = better world… Whatever the media can build up they can also destroy.

    1. Well Big T – we may disagree about TT but we’re together on this one. Good job!
      Thanks, Since ’61

  2. I also disagree with your expectation that teams should be required to be on constant display. I’m not interested in drama. I want quality football. Let coaches prepare their teams without microphones in every corner, and lights in every face. If one team signs up, so be it. It should be their choice to make. But I’m not watching that silliness called ‘reality TV’. No reality about it.

  3. Sorry Cory – I also disagree. These shows are unnecessary media hyped banter that does nothing for the audience or the game. I don’t care what players talk about during or after practice. They should be allowed to have their privacy. If I want drama I can watch a movie or go to the theater or listen to my clients in the corporate world. Coaches should be allowed to say what they need to say to their teams without every word going into the public domain for endless and mindless interpretation by alleged pundits. Let the games speak for themselves and we have plenty to discuss each week about each game during season, plus the draft, free agency etc… What HBO should be showing is how the game is played correctly and safely and create an understanding that football is a great game for young people to play. Because as injury concerns grow, especially about concussions, parents are going to want to remove their children from what currently appears to be a very dangerous profession. The problem of course is TV ratings, which means money. I am sure HBO knows Hard Knocks gets better ratings than a sports education show. This of course gets back to sponsors and their money. Sad. Another example of how the media, like many other industries, remains focused on the wrong priorities. Where is the draft? Can we get back to football now? Thanks, Since ’61

    1. Double like for Since 61 if I could, especially this:

      “[Players] should be allowed to have their privacy. … Coaches should be allowed to say what they need to say to their teams without every word going into the public domain for endless and mindless interpretation by alleged pundits.”

      While I actually am interested (a little) in the ‘banter’ and the personalities, I can wait for whatever equivalent of ‘Run to Daylight’ or ‘Instant Replay’ comes out of this generation of Packers. Don’t get in their way while they are doing their jobs.

      1. Thanks ED. And I completely agree that a good book like those you mentioned above or a well researched and written book like David Moranis’ “When Pride Still Mattered” are much more worthwhile than these reality shows. They are a better vehicle for a more comprehensive insight into the personalities of the people being covered. Thanks, Since ’61

  4. I don’t believe you should force a team to do this. Football is a business! Force one, force all

  5. Yep. Leave ’em alone. Players and coaches are PEOPLE. I can’t imagine having every word I said for a month at work filtered through and edited by some TV bozo.

    As a teacher, I’ve found what is helpful advice to one person is POISON to another.

    Leave em alone.

    Besides, HBO sucks

  6. Don’t see the need for any one team to do this. They get nothing out of it. Maybe it builds the fan base, but I can’t think of anything else.

    It might be good for HBO and the viewer, but for the team itself – nyet.

  7. I agree with everyone’s comments. I am not a fan of Hardknocks and have never watched a minute of the program. I understand the NFL’s desire to improve the entertainment aspect of the game, but this isn’t the way to do it.

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  9. Reality TV? I doubt it. The minute the cameras are on it’s anything but. Mr. Ariens points out that “reality” in an nfl locker room might get folks in trouble. So what we’re tuning in to watch is some other form of entertainment, something staged, dumbed down, hyped up, editted to make people look good, to make it dramatic, outrageous, or even acceptable. Ala Amish mafia or housewives of new jersey. Keep on this path and the nfl might be on a par with wrestling someday. Reality? NOT!

  10. Did anyone notice that TT appeared to be an escapee from a local nursing home in his most recent press conference? Makes me shudder to think he is an NFL GM. Time to go into retirement Teddy.

      1. I actually think you’re in the minority, Bearmeat. Most people just don’t give a crap about Archie anymore. They just see his name on the board and feel thankful that they’re not him. And then move on.

        1. Right. Sorry. It was the borderline personal/professional insult of Ted Thompson the man (not the GM) that baited me.

          I’ll try harder to ignore his mindless drivel in the future.

  11. Well said Marpeg, I’m guilty of being hooked into Archie’s mindless banter when I should JUST IGNORE IT, like I’ve done with others. We shouldn’t even acknowledge him with a thumbs down anymore, not worth the effort.

    As far as this topic it’s just another revenue generating product the NFL gets a piece of.

    1. I give him thumbs down before I read it, then I don’ t even read it. He hasn’t said anything of credibility yet, as of 6 months ago.

  12. I haven’t seen Hard Knocks, but if the owners and players union vote for it, I don’t see anything wrong with making the Super Bowl winner be featured each year. It’s not as if having the training camp and preseason filmed is going to affect the outcome of a teams season. I just hope the players and coaches featured are getting paid for it.

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