HBO’s Hard Knocks has become an anticipated staple of late summer for NFL fans and non-NFL fans alike. The cinematic representation of the gridiron has provided an unparalleled view into the lives and careers of those we pay so much to see.
Similar to the way a marine biologist would circle the first day of Shark Week, the debut of Hard Knocks will undoubtedly produce a high volume of DVR recordings for sports fans. Going into its eighth season in 12 years, Hard Knocks producers’ biggest battle is getting a team to agree to open their doors to 24/7 surveillance.
Only six teams have braved the spectacle that is HBO’s Hard Knocks: Ravens, Chiefs, Bengals, Jets, Dolphins and Cowboys twice. It was recently announced that Cincinnati would be featured again on the show and there’s no shortage of storylines there with third-year quarterback Andy Dalton, first-round pick tight end Tyler Eifert, linebacker James Harrison and defensive back Adam “Pacman” Jones in the locker room.
Coming off two consecutive trips to the playoffs, the Bengals can’t afford any additional distractions but head coach Marvin Lewis sees having the camera crews constantly around as quite the opposite, “The feedback we got from our experience with Hard Knocks in 2009 was outstanding. Our fans enjoyed it tremendously and we're happy to try and provide that same experience again.”
The ultimate way of increasing the fan experience is to win games, so with that, here’s a historical look at HBO’s Hard Knocks and how the teams featured did that season.