SBD/April 13, 2012/Media

Falcons On "Hard Knocks" Would Be Right Decision For Business Side Of Team

Falcons GM appreciates that part of the NFL revolves around entertainment
The Falcons potentially accepting an offer from HBO to appear on the upcoming season of "Hard Knocks: is a “a no-brainer for the business and marketing sides of the organization, but the football traditionalists struggle with the notion of cameras following them during training camp,” according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. The Falcons “seem to be a strange partner because under [coach Mike] Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff, they have run a focused, determined and no-frills approach to football.” Still, Dimitroff is a “staunch second-generation football man,” and he “appreciates that part of the league revolves around entertainment” (ATLANTA CONSTITION, 4/13). However, ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser said, "Nobody wants to watch the Falcons. Name two defensive players on the Falcons” (“PTI,” ESPN, 4/12). SportsNet N.Y.’s Eamon McAnaney asked, “Which team would be a better fit for ‘Hard Knocks,’ the Falcons or the Jets? I mean please, no-brainer. Matt Ryan is as dull as ice and are we going to waste two seconds arguing the entertainment value of Mike Smith over Rex Ryan? If I were HBO and the NFL, I would be begging Rex Ryan to do it. Those guys will do a good show on anybody, but much better if it’s the Jets, Rex and Tim Tebow” ("Loud Mouths," SportsNet N.Y., 4/12). USA TODAY’s Michael Hiestand writes the Jets with new QB Tim Tebow would be “a more obvious choice, while the bounty-burdened” Saints would be “a better one.” It “doesn’t really matter for the NFL Films-produced show,” as it hopes to “create personal story lines around athletes -- even if they’re obscure.” HBO “doesn’t have to worry about ratings because it’s ad-free,” as the network “just wants buzz, which it builds from staying mum” (USA TODAY, 4/13).

GROUNDED JETS: Jets coach Rex Ryan has said he would prefer the Jets not participate in the show, and ESPN’s Dan Le Batard asked, “How did we get to the place where Rex Ryan now cares what people think, and is that a place where we want to be? ... He didn’t have a problem with all of these cameras around him and gas-bagging all over the place when he was in the AFC Conference Finals” (“Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable,” ESPN2, 4/12). SportsNet N.Y.’s Sal Licata said of Ryan, “He finally understands all the attention they had that was great. ... Now, though, it's simply focused on winning and if his team does not win this year, he is going to get the brunt of it from the media. It's time to focus and concentrate solely on winning football games, not the attention-craving that he's had in the past.” SportsNet N.Y.’s Marc Malusis: “I don't think it's favorable for him to go there and say we have no interest when Woody Johnson is telling everybody and their mother that he'd love the organization to go out there and do it. But as far as Rex making big-time bold comments, I don't think it's the last statement we've heard from Rex” (“The WheelHouse,” SportsNet N.Y., 4/12).

STAY AWAY:’s Paul Gutierrez wrote Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie is “against such an open-book policy” that occurs from appearing on “Hard Knocks,” especially in “his first year on the job.” McKenzie on Wednesday said, "I like Raider business to stay Raider business, that's all. ... Players and coaches act a little different when TV cameras are rolling." He added, "I wouldn't want to have HBO here, but I'm sure some of the players (might), and I don't know if coach (Dennis Allen) would want to have those guys here. Don't ask me because my answer is, Stay away." Gutierrez wrote he has “no doubt” if former coach Hue Jackson were “still running the football side of things in Oakland, the Raiders would have been a leading contender to be on the show this summer.” HBO was “certainly interested” (, 4/12).
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