Posted by Josh Katzowitz
Hard Knocks premieres tonight at 10 p.m. ET on HBO, and it’s tough not to be a little excited. I’ve watched every season of the show, even when I was a casual NFL fan. Even when while watching teams I didn’t care much about, the drama, the film-making, the voice-overs and the interviews make for a beautiful viewing experience.
Last year, while covering the Bengals for CBSSports.com, I was a part of it. Early in training camp – actually, I believe it was in Episode 1 – TE Ben Utecht went down with a scary-looking neck injury, and it’s likely the last time Utecht will step on a field. After the ambulance took him away, Bengals PR extraordinaire Jack Brennan got all the reporters together on the side of the field to give us an update.
The Hard Knocks cameras were there, and they got each of our faces as we listened hard for the news. The next day, a buddy said to me, “Hey man, you look like crap in HD.” And that was the extent of my starring role on Hard Knocks.
I didn’t love the show last year, probably because I already knew what had happened by the time each episode aired – one of the best parts of the show is the drama that’s built by the fringe guys trying to make the 53-man roster – and because I learned a few of the tricks that go into making a TV show like that.
But aside from that, it’s just a cool behind-the-scenes experience (and frankly, most everything that HBO shoots is gorgeous), and this year, it should be extra fun because the ever-loquacious Rex Ryan will be one of the stars. I’ll watch the show tonight and get my review of it up on the blog about midnight or so. Until then, here are the top three moments (as picked by me) in Hard Knocks history.
3. Dallas’ Marion Barber playing the piano (I’m a huge fan of somebody who’s not a pianist that can actually play the piano. That’s one reason I love Chico and Harpo Marx, and why Zach Galifianakis has become such a big star).
2. Kansas City’s Bernard Pollard can dance! In his underwear! Like a stripper! With his teammates going wild around him!
1. Marvin Lewis, in a phrase the Bengals beat writers imitated all season long: “Be a pro!” Warning: this video has some naughty language.
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