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Bengals' Unfettered Access Led HBO To Pick Team For Repeat "Hard Knocks" Appearance
Published June 19, 2013
INSIDE ACCESS: ESPN's Max Bretos said only one team "other than the Bengals, had expressed serious interest in appearing" on the show. Former NFLer LaDanian Tomlinson said of his appearance on the show with the Jets in '10, "Everything that you see is actually pretty real." Tomlinson: "The only thing, sometimes guys act out of character, even coaches." ESPN's Jason Taylor said the NFL Films crew "does a great job of blending in, they're very professional, they don't really get in your way." Taylor added the cameras are everywhere, so players and coaches "understand they're there, but after the first couple of days guys stop playing up to the cameras and go about their business." Taylor: "It shines a new light on your organization, it lets people see the inside workings of the organization." ESPN's Mark Schlereth said a lot of teams "turn it down because they don't want that exposure, they don't want you to see inside that organization" ("NFL Live," ESPN, 6/17).
PICK & CHOOSE: CBS Sports Network's Allie LaForce said, "The Bengals aren't a bad pick. Chad Johnson's gone ... but they have young, humble guys who are willing to work hard that I think can handle the pressure of having their life on TV." LaForce said she would "want to see the Patriots on 'Hard Knocks' because there are so many storylines there with Rob Gronkowski going through all of his surgeries." CBSSN's Doug Gottlieb: "I would prefer the Eagles with Chip Kelly and all their personalities, DeSean Jackson, Mike Vick, or the San Francisco 49ers" ("Lead Off," CBSSN, 6/17). Fox analyst Brian Billick, who coached the Ravens when they appeared on the show's premiere season in '01, said, "There are a lot of coaches, obviously, who will say we don't need the kind of distraction that that provides. But they do a pretty good job. After you get past the first day or so, you're not even aware that they're there." He added teams need to have a veteran roster that "understands why you're trying to do it, that can kind of put it at arm's length." The Bengals' experience appearing on the show in '09 is "going to be an advantage for them" ("NFL Total Access," NFL Network, 6/17).