May 22, 2012; Davie, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jake Long (77) during organized team activities at the Dolphins training facility. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
But, the detractors from the team, and from the idea of the team on the show, have jumped on the fact that the Dolphins were a consolation prize for the show. They were reportedly the only team to express interest in the show.
But, that's not true, according to Ross Ketover, a producer for the show and NFL Films. Ketover stated during a joint teleconference with the Dolphins and HBO, "We cast a wide net. We talk to a lot of teams to gauge their interest. Some are very interested. Some are interested with caveats that are not acceptable with us. Others say we'll do it in future years. Others are not interested.
"The fact of the matter is, despite what you read, we did not offer the show to any other team but the Dolphins."
To be fair, that's like saying the Dolphins only offered the head coach position to Joe Philbin this offseason, despite the team's desire to land Jeff Fisher. Not "offering" the show to any other team does not mean there weren't other teams involved in the process, but it also could simply be that no one else wanted the show.
However, whether or not there were other teams in consideration, the fact is, Hard Knocks will debut with the Miami Dolphins being featured. Teams who have said they "turned down" the show this year could have been teams contacted simply to see if there was interest. Or, they could have been the top choice for the show, but HBO and NFL Films had to move on to their second, third, or thirty-second choice.
With the 24-man camera and production crew running around, as Philbin tries to install an entirely new offense and defense with the team, how comfortable can the head coach be with Hard Knocks?
"I have no reservations what so ever," Philbin answered when posed that question.
Philbin reportedly sat down with the producers on Thursday, asking every question he had before agreeing to the show. He also contacted friends and associates who have previous experience with the show, including Miami defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle and general manager Jeff Ireland, who were with the Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys, respectively, when those teams did the show.
According to Philbin, the Dolphins are trusting the crews to produce the show, not restricting them from any aspect of the team, and not going to tell them what they can and cannot film. As Philbin put it, "They were very honest when they came to talk. They talked about trust, and they talked about access. ...They know how to do their job. They're not going to teach us to run Cover 2, or an outside zone play. We're not gong to tell them how to film a TV show. I think that trust is part of any successful affiliation."
The Dolphins report to training camp on July 26. The first episode of Hard Knocks will air on August 7 at 10pm EDT/PDT on HBO. All five shows will initially air in that same Tuesday evening time slot, with an encore presentation each following Wednesday at 11pm EDT/PDT. The season finale will air on September 4, the day before the NFL regular season opens.