This August, Miami Dolphins fans will get a never before seen look inside their favorite franchise as the team is featured in HBO and NFL Films' Hard Knocks. The show, which initially aired in 2001, follows a team through training camp, with unrestricted access to the players, coaches, and executives.
But, what does being on the show mean?
Looking back at the six teams that have done the show, the combined record over those six seasons is 49-47. Three of the six teams have made the playoffs, one finished 9-7, but missed the post season, and two finished below .500. The season by season break down looks like:
|2001||Baltimore Ravens||10-6||1-1, L Divisional Playoffs|
|2002||Dallas Cowboys||5-11||N/A, 4th NFC East|
|2007||Kansas City Chiefs||4-12||N/A, 3rd AFC West|
|2008||Dallas Cowboys||9-7||N/A, 3rd NFC East|
|2009||Cincinnati Bengals||10-6||0-1, L Wild Card|
|2010||New York Jets||11-5||2-1, L AFC Championship|
But, again, what does that mean for the Dolphins?
To get a better idea of what we can expect, I turned to Josh Kirkendall over at Cincy Jungle, the SB Nation Cincinnati Bengals blog. I asked him what he thought of the Bengals' appearance on the show back in 2009. He replied:
"It was pretty cool. The insight provided, from the process to the player personalities, was a level of insight we had never seen before. I definitely thought it was worth it from a fan's perspective. I'm not sure about the team/player perspective though. It's not like it brought any new fans or anything like that, and it didn't offer that much help in terms of ticket sales."As a fan though, it was pretty cool to see it on that level."
While it seems like there really is no distraction for the team doing Hard Knocks, and the good teams were able to still reach the playoffs, unless they were decimated by injuries during the season (Chiefs), there are some people who are still dead set against the idea of the Dolphins on the show. The Miami Herald's Armando Salguero spoke with Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, during which he twice pointed out that the "great" teams would "never" do Hard Knocks.
Salguero then defines the "great" teams as the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, and New York Giants. How he determines that those are the only three "great" franchises in the league, ignoring the other 29 teams, I don't know. But, that's not the point.
I'll grant Salguero that the Steelers wouldn't do this show. It just does not seem like something the Steelers would do. The Giants may or may not do it at some point. There's not a whole lot of need for the Giants to do the show, so I doubt they would right now. But, they could be convinced.
However, as much as Salguero may not be able to see the Patriots doing Hard Knocks, he may want to find a copy of Bill Belichick: A Football Life. During the 2009 season, NFL Films wired the Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, filming him from training camp through the end of the season. So, while the Patriots may not do Hard Knocks, they did allow NFL Films to do the exact same thing, just calling it a different name, and actually doing it for the entire season instead of just training camp.
The fans of the team have been dying for a chance to break the silence and get to know the franchise. This preseason, we all will get exactly that. Does anyone have any thoughts that this year's Dolphins team is Super Bowl bound? I doubt it. Instead, we are all looking for a way to reconnect with a franchise that has started to lose its luster - and its fan base.
Hard Knocks will do exactly that. It will let us see the team in a way we never have before. It will open up a franchise that was so wrapped up in the Bill Parcells mentality of silence, that it led to protests and flying banners because fans had lost hope.
Who cares if the Steelers, Giants, or Patriots would not do Hard Knocks? All we really need to know is that the Miami Dolphins are going to do it, and, from historical precedence of the previous six teams to do the show, there really is not any reason to worry about the team this season. The 2012 Dolphins will be whatever the 2012 Dolphins are meant to be - Hard Knocks won't change that.