SBD/August 13, 2013/Media

Harrison Explains Dislike For "Hard Knocks" After Testy Exchange In Last Week's Episode

Six of the 30 "Hard Knocks" staffers will spend seven weeks with the Bengals
Bengals LB James Harrison yesterday "explained his disdain" for HBO's "Hard Knocks" after his "aversion to the crews was part of last week’s episode," according to Joe Reedy of the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER. Harrison said, "I don’t feel they deserve to be here. They did nothing to be here, other than want to be here. They didn’t put no blood, sweat and tears into none of this. All these men in here, they did that. ... No one deserves to see this, to come inside of this unless you’re a part of this." Reedy noted there was "one scene during last Tuesday’s show where Harrison jumped in a car of an unsuspecting motorist to avoid cameras." While Harrison "doesn’t like 'Hard Knocks,'" a camera crew is supposed to be with him this week "for one of his 5 a.m. workouts" (CINCINNATI.com, 8/12). USA TODAY's Jarrett Bell reports Harrison recently was "strolling off the practice field" when CB Adam Jones "noticed cameras in the vicinity." Jones said, "I blew him a kiss, and he looked right back at me!" Bell notes it "must have been a quick glance," as Harrison "was not playing along." Jones: "He does not like the 'Hard Knocks' cameras" (USA TODAY, 8/13).

HARD WORK
: THE MMQB's Richard Deitsch reports about 30 "Hard Knocks" staffers "work onsite during the filming, and a half-dozen in the crew, including director Rob Gehring will spend seven weeks in total with the Bengals." Staffers "work 12-to-14-hour days, and often clock 100 hours per week." The crew "typically shoots 300 hours of film for each 55-minute program." There will be "60 players wired for sound during the course of filming." The "mantra among NFL Films staffers is to avoid being intrusive at all costs, and it helps immensely that the Bengals’ coaches ... have bought into the documentary experience." Bengals OT Andrew Whitworth said, "I don’t think it is disruptive at all as far as practice goes. ... For the most part they do a great job of disappearing. You even often catch yourself going, 'Dang it, I forget they were here.'" Deitsch writes it is "remarkable how seamlessly the NFL Films crew embedded themselves during a pair of practices" earlier in August. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said, "It doesn’t disrupt you at all unless you allow it to. My only thing with our guys was I told them your time off is your time off. You don’t need to include any others in whatever you are doing." Meanwhile, Deitsch notes players "can see their marketability rise with a memorable appearance," and agents often "reach out to HBO and NFL Films staffers in an attempt to get their players airtime." The show was contacted by the agent for Bengals CB Dre Kirkpatrick, "letting them know they were happy to help out anyway they could" (MMQB.SI.com, 8/13).

ROSE-COLORED GLASSES: USA TODAY's Will Leitch wrote there "isn't a sports television program I thoroughly enjoy more every year than NFL Films' 'NFL Yearbook' series that runs on ESPN2 in August." The show basically is a "half-hour infomercial, produced by the league, intended to excite you about the upcoming season." Any "disappointments your otherwise successful team suffered are scrubbed away." The forward-looking conclusions to the shows are "inevitably" given "blandly optimistic titles, like 'A New Beginning,' 'Sky's the Limit' or 'Growing a Foundation.'" The videos are "prepackaged messages telling you that everything is OK, that your team is going to win all its games this  year, that the NFL is all powerful and altruistic" (USA TODAY, 8/13).
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