If you have HBO, tonight's the night that you'll want to tune into the network's NFL training camp documentary series, "Hard Knocks," this evening. The Falcons, by virtue of last week's combined practices and preseason game against this year's featured team, the Cincinnati Bengals, will be featured on the episode that premieres this evening at 10:00 p.m.
Fans have been divided on the idea of the Falcons appearing as the featured team on "Hard Knocks." Many tend to think having the cameras around constantly would be a distraction during a crucial time of preparation for the season; others believe that the unparalleled access fans would have to observe the inner workings of the team would be worth any level of distraction. I tend to side with the former perspective, as does former Steelers and current Bengals linebacker James Harrison, apparently, although I must say, I was impressed by how unobtrusive the crew was at each of the combined practices.
Per head coach Mike Smith's instruction, none of the Falcons players wore microphones for any portion of the filming, which was just fine with Roddy White. Falcons players were also instructed to not fight with any Cincinnati players, although Steven Jackson broke that rule with a minor tussle with Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, so don't be surprised when you see that altercation. It will more than likely make the cut, which is exactly why Smitty told the team to avoid fights. For what it's worth, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis insisted that Burfict was clearly the instigator, and said that if Burfict would have done to Lewis what he did to Jackson, he would have hit Burfict with a 2x4. Steven Jackson's response was gracious by comparison.
If you are not able to visit Flowery Branch for open practices, tonight's episode will give you the opportunity to see the Falcons in some semblance of action. It will be interesting to see what kind of game-planning the Bengals did for Thursday's preseason game. Also, who doesn't want to relive the magic of the 34-10 loss last Thursday? Oh, actually, most of us probably don't want to--but, brace yourselves, because you'll likely see a lot of it.
The episode premieres tonight at 10:00 p.m. on HBO, with approximately seven billion opportunities for repeat viewings prior to the next new episode.