In a noon press conference, Marvin Lewis and Steve Sabol of NFL Films announced the Bengals will be the subject of the 2009 edition of the HBO reality series Hard Knocks.
The show is five episodes long and follows players and coaches through training camp and the preseason. Sabol will have a crew of around 50 working on the project and will have the ultimate say in what makes the show and what is left on the figurative "cutting room floor."
"That's left up to me," Sabol said. "I think I have a good sensitivity about what can be shown and what can't. I would never show anything that would affect the competitive phase, give away terminology."
There had been speculation the show would be featuring the Bengals for a few weeks thanks to report by Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer and was discussed previously here.
"I think we've got a mature group of guys that are fighting for jobs," Lewis said. "They won't notice the cameras. We know there'll be special things that guys will be a part of, I think that way we're mature enough."
Marvin said he had previously turned down Sabol's approaches about the team being the subject of Hard Knocks because he believed his team wasn't a mature enough point to take the added spotlight of NFL films microphone and cameras.
Apparently the 2009 edition of the Bengals is a more sensible group...(Chris Henry is still with the Bengals and they added Tank Johnson and Bernard Scott).
The real question behind this entire production is how does Mike Brown benefit? It's very odd for a guy who values his privacy like a Castrato Singer values his Soprano range to allow camera crews to get behind the scenes in his franchise. The bottom line? CASH MONEY.
There could be a financial arrangement between the NFL and the Bengals besides the evident marketing exposure. Hard Knocks is an interesting show, without a doubt, but it would be a surprise if anyone who wasn't already a fan decided to go buy the merchandise of the featured team.
There is no marketing tool better than stringing together a few winning seasons, but Brown might have given up on that possibility and moved on to the next best thing.