Hard Knocks Comes to the Jungle

LVCorrespondent IMay 14, 2009

CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 1:  Head coach Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals watches practice during rookie minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium on May 1, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Mark Lyons/Getty Images)

Several media outlets have reported that the Bengals are the leading candidate for 2009’s version of the HBO/NFL Films highly acclaimed series Hard Knocks.

The annual reality television sports documentary series follows an NFL franchise through the daily grind of training camp while also examining human interest storylines within the team (owners, front-office types, coaches, players, and support staff).

Immediately after learning the team of this year’s NFL reality affection, everyone must have wondered, “Why are they featuring the Bengals coming off of a 4-11-1 Season?”

The answer is simple: DRAMA. 

The Cincinnati Bengals are full of intriguing storylines, which NFL Films will be more then giddy to bring to their HBO audience.  Already even before the cameras start rolling in the most non-Hollywood place on Earth — Georgetown, Kentucky — potential focus plots include: embattled head coach Marvin Lewis on a very hot seat, A roster filled with players with off the field pasts (see WR Chris Henry, RB Cedric Benson, DT Tank Johnson, and many others), a front-office that has the smallest scouting staff in the NFL, the continued comeback of QB Carson Palmer, and last but surely not least the soap opera that is receiver Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson.  I can already see Johnson and his mega-agent Drew Rosenhaus talking holdout and a new contract as the nation waits for the “Loquacious One” to arrive.

All of the drama surrounding the 2009 Bengals team will definitely make for some great must-see television and you know it is really going to be hard for editors to leave stuff on the NFL Films cutting room floor. 

But in terms of creating a winning football team, the series has had some difficulty. Other than the Hard Knocks’ original team, the 2001 Baltimore Ravens (finished 10-6, making it to the Divisional Round of the playoffs), the rest of the teams featured did not make the playoffs and a couple were well below .500 – 2002 Cowboys (5-11), 2007 Chiefs (4-12) and 2008 Cowboys (9-7).  

Hopefully Marvin Lewis’ team can avoid the distractions and attention that caused the Cowboys and Chiefs to worry more about showmanship than their playbooks leading to poor seasons.

However you know when the cameras start rolling, everyone from undrafted rookie receiver Quan Cosby to first round pick offensive tackle Andre Johnson to Ocho Cinco will be yelling “Over Here, Put the Camera on Me”.