When I first heard that Thomas Dimitroff was unsubtly hinting that the Atlanta Falcons could be convinced to appear on HBO's Hard Knocks, I really wasn't sure what to think.
The Falcons have for three seasons done their thing in a mostly humble, quiet sort of way, keeping out of the public eye by some absurd sleight of hand despite two playoff berths and more than 30 wins over that span. This off-season, however, they've started to make noise by trading for Julio Jones, getting Thomas Dimitroff out in front on a lot of interviews and just generally indicating they want to take the world by storm.
James Rael covered his own mixed feelings about Dimitroff's mention of Hard Knocks, and heck, I get that. We worry about losing the message, of turning the general public against the team because they hate HBO or whatever other thing the general public hates at this moment in time.
Know what, though? I think it's time for the Falcons to arrive on the national scene. Their winning ways are a good start, but a show like Hard Knocks could be the next step in the evolution. HBO is having a hard time finding a team and would be hard-pressed to find one that has as good a chance of contending, paired with a gruff but lovable coach, some colorful characters and an owner who looks like a Pink Panther villain. That's good television, and it would help to put Atlanta on the map for fans who might otherwise miss out.
Of course, HBO has to make the offer first, but I could certainly see it happening.
What's not to like? Correlation does not imply causation, but I will say that none of the teams appearing on Hard Knocks have ever won a Super Bowl that season. If guys on the team say something stupid—and though I'd argue we've got a bright group on the Falcons, it's more than a little possible—that might dominate the news cycle in a way that causes headaches for the team.
But really, those are the two downsides. This is a Falcons squad on the cusp of being great, so why not get the exposure? It's time for one of the better teams in the NFL to stop flying under the radar.
Maybe you disagree, though. What do you think?