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Is it a good idea for an NFL team to go on HBO's 'Hard Knocks'?

May 30, 2012
  • Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill and others warm up during camp. The Dolphins will be the subject of the HBO show "Hard Knocks" this summer.
Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill and others warm up during… (Michael Laughlin / Sun Sentinel…)

Writers from around the Tribune Co. will discuss the long-running HBO series "Hard Knocks," which follows a different NFL team each year throughout training camp. This year's featured team will be the Miami Dolphins.

You can join the discussion by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.

Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times

"Hard Knocks" isn’t necessarily a bad idea, it just doesn’t work for every team. In the first six seasons of the show, four of the teams profiled finished with winning records and three of them made the playoffs. It is not the kiss of death.

But I don’t think it was a wise move by Miami. I understand that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wants to shine a spotlight on his club, and that many of his moves to this point have been about amping up the star power. But this is a struggling team in a tough division, with a first-time head coach and a rookie quarterback. The day-to-day drama should make for compelling TV -- NFL Films consistently delivers in that regard -- but why pile on those pressures?

Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune

The decision to be on "Hard Knocks" has to be made on a case-by-case basis. Your team might not be right for "Hard Knocks" this year, but it might be next year. There are many factors as to whether or not being the subject of the show can benefit the team. You should not have a secretive, paranoid or insecure head coach. You need a roster that is sprinkled with leaders and wisdom.

You can’t be the type of team that gets undone by disruptions from the norm, or flustered by the carnival atmosphere that the production of the show brings. You can’t be the type of team that worries too much about external criticism. Your team has to be comfortable with what it sees in the mirror before it says yes to "Hard Knocks."

[Updated at 12:50 p.m.:

Izzy Gould, South Florida Sun Sentinel

Regarding the Miami Dolphins, yes. They hope to reconstruct a fractured image after three losing seasons and unpopular front-office moves.

The Dolphins are in the business of selling seats, merchandise and fans on their product. Some claim the Dolphins have no sexy story lines. The theatrics of "Hard Knocks" could make the life of this football team must-see TV. The Dolphins will be sharing their celebration of the 40th anniversary of the NFL's only undefeated team. They will be guided by first-year Coach Joe Philbin, who is overcoming the loss of a child. There's a three-way quarterback battle and an embattled general manager, who wagered his job on a rookie quarterback with a mere 19 collegiate starts on his resume.

At the minimum, the nation will know these Miami Dolphins -- a worthy gamble despite the high stakes.

Ron Fritz, Baltimore Sun

Being on "Hard Knocks" is a very bad idea. I don’t think any general manager in their right mind would think it’s a good idea. That’s why the owner usually steps in and gives the OK. If you’re on "Hard Knocks," you’re usually crying for attention, just like the Miami Dolphins, this year’s reality fiasco. Does a contending team really want the distractions?

The trend nowadays is to move training camp to your own facility so you don’t have to invite the fans. You can scheme and try different things without the watchful eyes of fans, scouts and spies. So by all means, let’s invite the cameras of "Hard Knocks" into practice and the locker room. In the NFL, it’s all about keeping it secret, not keeping it real.]


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