After a long wait, HBO now knows whom they will be covering on the popular show “Hard Knocks.” According to the Atlanta Falcons and their website “The Falcons, HBO Sports, and NFL Films will team up for an all-access, behind the scenes look at what it takes to make it in the National Football League when HARD KNOCKS: Training Camp with the Atlanta Falcons debuts on August 5.”
The information was taken directly from the atlantafalcons.com website.
The sports-based reality series kicks off its ninth season, presented in HD on Tuesday, Aug. 5 (10 p.m. ET), exclusively on HBO. Subsequent hour-long episodes debut on Tuesdays at the same time, with an encore replay every Wednesday in August at 11:00 p.m., culminating in the Sept. 2 season finale.
“We are excited about the opportunity to give our fans a behind the scenes look at what it takes to prepare an NFL team for the rigors of a 16-game regular season and beyond,” said Falcons Owner & Chairman Arthur M. Blank. “This marks the first time that our franchise will be featured on HARD KNOCKS and we look forward to showcasing our great players and coaches to football fans all across America.”
The award-winning documentary will focus on the daily lives and routines of Falcons players and coaches and showcase the club as it prepares to do battle in the always competitive NFC South Division of the NFL.
“We are thrilled that the ninth edition of the HARD KNOCKS series will spotlight the Atlanta Falcons,” said Ken Hershman, President of HBO Sports. “It’s exciting to feature a team, a franchise and a city for the first time on HARD KNOCKS. We are grateful to Head Coach Mike Smith and the entire organization for agreeing to participate and look forward to what we expect to be one of the few summertime programs that is truly appointment TV and we can’t wait for the premiere on August 5th.”
While there have been mixed emotions about the coverage of the NFL teams on the show over the years, there are many reasons to watch here are 10 of them.
THE GROWTH OF MATT RYAN
Ryan had a decent season by all accounts last year, throwing for 4,500 yards. But his growth was stunted by injuries to his running back and his lead receivers. Also, Ryan was the third pick in the 2008 Draft. He has not won a Super Bowl. Joe Flacco, the 18th pick in the 2008 Draft has a ring. That could be a major storyline in this series.
THE SAD STORY
OK, maybe not sad, but the story of perseverance. The team’s fourth round pick, Devonta Freeman worked three jobs in school to support his family before going to FSU. He used hard work and determination to get drafted and could potentially be one of the best rookies to play this year in the NFL. HBO loves these types of angles.
I see the movie Invinceble and think there are plenty of situations where coaches get in a room and make decisions whether to continue careers, end them or start them. This is a team that was 4-12 last season, but may not be that far removed from a playoff run. How management makes decisions to keep and cut players is always fun to watch.
THE RETIRMENT OF TONY GONZALEZ
It will be a constant reminder all season for this franchise. Gonzalez was and is the greatest tight end to ever play the game. His retirement leaves a huge hole in the Falcons offense. How will the team adapt and more importantly, how will Ryan adjust to losing a major weapon in his arsenal?
The Falcons are already dealing with the foot injury to Julio Jones, who still has not been cleared to play yet. The Falcons dealt with all kinds of injuries to the offense, including the running back position and all along the offensive line. Will players be healthier this season?
There is history with the pick of Jake Matthews, who comes from a long line of family members in the NFL. How will he adapt to the changes of playing in the SEC to moving on to the NFL and playing in Atlanta?
INSIDE THE FACILITY
HBO will have access to part of the stadium we may never see if not for the program. Coaching meetings, staff training, the training room and inside the locker-room. This is one of the things I enjoy about the show, where I can see something new and never seen before.
NEW COACHES ON STAFF
Mike Tice and Bryan Cox had pretty good careers in the NFL as players. That transcended into a career in coaching. How will their personalities click with other coaches and the players?
There are always battles in camp worth noting and watching. The secondary is young, the tight end position may be up for grabs. Many times, a position becomes a feature storyline and HBO follows it from start to finish. The idea the neophyte rookie beats out the incumbent starter is always a feel-good story to watch.
Do I really need to explain this one to you?