Prime Time Bungles

How many of you out there would consider the Cincinnati Bengals to be a “fascinating team”? 

NFL Films president Steve Sabol apparently thinks so and with that proclamation, announced today that NFL Films and HBO Sports have chosen the Bengals to be the subject of the fifth installment of the training camp reality series “Hard Knocks”, debuting on Wednesday, August 12th at 10pm Eastern on HBO.

Bengals

Short of their “fascinating” arrest record of recent years, I’m not so sure what makes the Bengals worthy of five one-hour episodes this summer.  “They’ve got a lot to prove to themselves and to the fans,” says Sabol.  Well, yes, I would agree with that. 

One playoff appearance in their last 18 seasons would indicate that things have not been going so well recently for the team commonly referred to as the “Bungles”.

It is refreshing that HBO has chosen a team outside of a major market to highlight after two appearances by the ever-media friendly Dallas Cowboys’ appearances in 2002 & 2008. 

And Head Coach Marvin Lewis has been through this before, as he was Defensive Coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens during their appearance on the inaugural airing of the show in 2001.

(Note – the Kansas City Chiefs were the other team featured during the series’ history, when HBO renewed “Hard Knocks” in 2007 after a lengthy hiatus).

Paul Daugherty of the Cincinnati Enquirer is concerned about the impact of the show on the team, rightfully wondering how this could possibly help the Bengals’ product on the field and noting that none of the 4 teams featured previously finished with a better record than the season prior to their appearance on the show. 

Considering the Bengals’ sorry 4-11-1 record last season, this seems like the wrong year to have cameras and production crews creating a nuisance throughout training camp.

Personally, I just expect the Bengals to be bad.  So, in matter of degree, will it really matter? 

More to the point, I just don’t see the relevance.  There are 28 other teams that have never been featured and you might make a case that any one of them would provide better subject matter for football fans. 

For a league with so many great characters and so much goodwill among hard-core and casual fans, it seems odd that you would feature such a sad-sack organization as the Bengals.

But NFL Films always seems to deliver the goods somehow.  I guess, if nothing else, there’s always “Ocho Cinco”.

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~ by acm213 on May 14, 2009.

One Response to “Prime Time Bungles”

  1. All teams featured on this show are worse off for it; it’s the Premium Cable equivalent of the Madden Curse. The thing about this show, and other sports docs on HBO like 24/7, is that they know you’ll tune in. Mayweather on 24/7 is amazing television, but I think we can safely say that Hard Knocks: Cincinatti Bengals is Jones/Calzaghe 24/7 all over again: mediocre television that viewers will tune into regardless of quality.

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