Easy to understand why the Dolphins, trying to regain fans and national stature, would do HBO’s Hard Knocks. But why would HBO and NFL Films want the Dolphins, stuck on sixes and sevens when it comes to wins in recent years?
“First and foremost, this organization is one of the pillars of the NFL and we’re happy to be here on the ground floor when coach [Joe] Philbin brings it back to prominence,” said Ross Ketover, senior coordinating producer, NFL Films. “Secondly, the Dolphins have a number of really interesting story lines between quarterback battles; established veterans and rookies trying to get a lot of those starting positions and make the team; Coach Philbin in his first year.
“There’s no shortage of things we’ll want to talk about on this series … which we’ll probably throw out after the first week when we discover 50 new story lines.”
Also, Ketover said, the Dolphins granted the broad access the show needed.
“We talked to a lot of teams,” Ketover said. “Some were not interested, some were interested with caveats not acceptable to us. We did not offer this to any other team but the Dolphins.”
Philbin said he’s never seen the show, but doesn’t anticipate it being too much of a distraction, even for first round pick/quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Philbin pointed out Tannehill will have to deal with facing an eight-man front ready to bring some heat on third and 11, so he’d better be ready to handle television cameras.
The crew arrives in late July just before players must report for training camp and will stay five weeks.
Last season’s NFL lockout of the players prevented Hard Knocks from filming. The previous season featured the Jets, in their second year under head coach Rex Ryan. Ryan authored arguably the most famous Hard Knocks line when he closed a rant about the Jets’ lackadaisical approach the previous few days by telling his team to get a snack in not-in-a-newspaper language.
HBO president Ken Hershman said he had no favorite season although he admitted as a Jets fan, he enjoyed that season.