Will "Hard Knocks" Fully Cover Antonio Brown-Raiders Drama?
With Raiders WR Antonio Brown making plenty of news recently with his foot injury and helmet situation, new episodes of "Hard Knocks" will show "who truly has the power in this marriage between HBO and the NFL," according to Charles Robinson of YAHOO SPORTS. HBO "wanted drama," and Brown has "delivered." If the network "can’t land something meaningful in the midst of this craziness," then it "means we aren’t watching reality TV." Instead, it is the kind of "state-run television that has made the show an often forgettable spectacle in the past." There have "already been some signs that HBO is going to get anything meaningful slashed to the bone in the coming weeks." The first episode now seems "even more disappointing in the rear-view mirror" than it did on first watch. It "largely landed with a thud after dancing around" Brown’s foot issue, and it was "unfulfilling when the reality sunk in that 'Hard Knocks' had nothing to reveal about the frostbite on Brown’s feet." The first week was an "NFL-inspired borefest that took all the juiciest cuts and dried them into beef jerky." The second episode will show if that "changes now." There is "no way HBO and the Raiders can hide what is going on with Brown now and still insist with a straight face that this is a 'behind the scenes' look" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/10).
SHOW YOUR HAND: NBCSPORTS.com's Peter King writes "Hard Knocks" needs to "show a slice of this Brown story this week, with some real video and team reaction, or it’s Pravda." NFL Films' Ken Rodgers, who heads up the series, will "want to show the real story, very much" (NBCSPORTS.com, 8/12). PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio writes Raiders coach Jon Gruden will "want none of the frozen feet or helmet fight material to be included" on Tuesday's new episode. Rodgers, if he "hopes for a show produced by NFL Films (i.e., the NFL) to have any credibility whatsoever, will be pushing Gruden to let the show address the situation" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 8/12). However, Florio is not expecting much on the Brown situation on “Hard Knocks,” saying, "This is not a reality show, it's an infomercial. It’s produced by NFL Films, and I think the Raiders have been given more say over the content than any team that has ever agreed to do ‘Hard Knocks.’ Jon Gruden is going to craft whatever is included in the episode to ensure that it paints Antonio Brown and the Raiders in the most favorable possible light.” NBCSN's Chris Simms added, "I would imagine it kind of gets glossed over” (“PFT,” NBCSN, 8/12).