Don't Buy into the Hype: Atlanta Falcons Won't Appear on HBO's 'Hard Knocks'

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Don't Buy into the Hype: Atlanta Falcons Won't Appear on HBO's 'Hard Knocks'
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff (L), team owner Arthur Blank, and head coach Mike Smith (R). Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Falcons

It appears the Atlanta Falcons have been approached by HBO to be featured in the 2012 edition of its reality show Hard Knocks, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini. The show chronicles a team's training camp, and has visited Baltimore, Dallas twice, Kansas City, Cincinnati and the New York Jets.

As storylines go, the Falcons are rich with content.

There are two new coordinators in town this season, the Falcons traded away portions of last year's draft and this year's to move up and take wide receiver Julio Jones, the team must find ways to continue as a playoff-caliber team without being able to completely repopulate through the draft and America would absolutely fall in love with wide receiver Roddy White and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon.

But Falcons brass won't go for it.

As much as team owner Arthur Blank wants his Falcons to become more of a national presence, winning is more important. And the Falcons—even though they've had a good bit of regular-season success of late—are reeling from their third "one-and-done" playoff ousting in four years.

Hard Knocks would be a huge distraction from the bigger picture of winning a playoff game and progressing to the Super Bowl.

General manager Thomas Dimitroff has been very vocal in the past about not wanting to deal with a distraction like a reality show during training camp. And even though last summer he softened his distaste of the idea by not immediately ruling it out, each and every time the Falcons have been approached by HBO, they've said no.

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Head coach Mike Smith isn't the type of coach that would want the fuss, either. Smith, while very approachable and easy to speak with, typically will shy away from the camera. If he could keep the public's viewing chances of his team reduced to just three hours every Sunday, he would.

That just can't happen in today's media-hungry society, however, so Smith rolls with the media at every required moment. He's not going to agree to additional time on camera. That time could be better spent teaching, game-planning or coaching.

Take a look at Atlanta's two faces of the franchise, quarterback Matt Ryan and tight end Tony Gonzalez, and see proof that the Falcons want nothing to do with a media spectacle.

Ryan is the team's quarterback, and Gonzalez is a seasoned veteran who might be the best to ever play at his position. But neither ever really offer up much in the way need-to-know information. And that's by design.

The Falcons let Ryan and Gonzalez get in front of the camera every week because they are both very smart and very polished. Neither is going to spout off any bulletin-board material for another team to use. Neither is going to be involved in any sort of scandalous affairs. And both will toe the company line, saying exactly what Smith and Dimitroff want.

This is what the Falcons want. The team just wants to go about its business, leaving its headline-making events for the field.

So, sorry America. The Falcons have huge storylines, charismatic players and intelligent and likeable coaches—they'd just rather not let HBO show that off on cable TV.

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