HBO’s Hard Knocks is a series that ventures knee deepÂ behind the scenesÂ of any given NFL team from summer training camp through the pre-season.
This year, its cameras are focused on the Los Angeles Rams just as they pack up and leave St. Louis to head back to the city it called home way back when.
An event celebrating the premiere of the new season featured a Q&A that ESPN reporterÂ Molly McGrath moderated. The panel consisted of Peter Nelson (executive vice president of HBO Sports), Les Snead (general manager of the Los Angeles Rams) and Patrick Kelleher (NFL Films executive producer).
Drafting the Rams for this in-depth look means the ability to check off a few firsts.Â The midwest to west coast move presents the perfect opportunity to capture an organization that’s undergoing a lot of change. This is the first time the HBO/NFL Films production centers on a team experiencing a shift in location.
Quarterback Jared Goff is the first number one draft pick the show has ever followed. The Rams are the first NFC team to step into this particular spotlight. And they’re doing so during a time that’s crucial. Appearing on the series could provide them with a unique re-entry into the second biggest market in the country. However, it also places them under some seriously intense scrutiny should there be any hiccups.
That’s what’s going to differentiate this season versus any season that’s come before. “It’s the universality of the show in terms of the stakes that are involved,” said Nelson.
“In terms of the players, who are gonna either be able to make the team or not make the team, you see the leadership style that’s coming from the head coach, who’s always one of the dominant forces of the show,” Nelson continued. “So to mine the storylines again and again, I think you see each team is its own little snowflake.”
In this season’s premiere episode, viewers were treated to fun moments like wide receiver Tavon Austin spending his down time playing Pokemon Go and defensive tackle Aaron Donald showing he’s got game when it comes to Ping Pong. Speaking of which, Donald might not want to recruit his buddy — defensive end Eugene Sims — as a ping-pong partner ever again.
Goff was schooled on the ABC’s of sunsets and sunrises. And audiences learned that Eric Kush’s favorite piece of clothing is the tank top. The center basically has one for every occasion. “He literally wears a tank top every single day. To church, too,” revealed Snead.
Becoming aware of these little intricacies, idiosyncratic quirks and hobbies should help smooth the team’s transition into playing in front of fans at the L.A. Coliseum, a stadium it hasn’t inhabited since 1979. It probably doesn’t hurt that last weekend, the Rams won its first pre-season game at the Coliseum, coming from behind to defeat the Dallas Cowboys, 28 – 24.
“Like Todd Gurley mentioned (in episode one), football players are in helmets, but guess what? They’re people, too. And all of us as we come home and you guys become our fans, you get to know the people,” explained the Rams general manager.
On the flip side to all the fun lies the intense scenarios that come with building a team that doesn’t just want to improve onÂ last season’s record. They want to destroy it. Watching head coach Jeff Fisher make hard calls in releasing quarterback Nick Foles as well as cutting Deon Long for breaking one of his hardcore rules was difficult. But it also made for delicious drama.
The Rams, who went 7 -Â 9 last year, don’t plan on being distracted from the end game. Said Snead, “You saw in one of the team meetings where [Jeff Fisher] went into, ‘You know what? Seven and nine is not enough. We’ve been competitive, it’s time to go contend.’ Basically Hard Knocks or not, five weeks from now or not, all the personalities and all the fun we’ll have, all that’s really going to matter is those 16 games.”
It takes 350 hours of footage to createÂ one hour of Hard Knocks. Something elseÂ it takes is a lot of trust. According to NFL Films’ Kelleher, “I think that’s probably the most important thing. The Rams welcomed our crew into their camp. They’ve been giving us great access, which we appreciate because we’re trying to document their story and tell the story of these players and these coaches and GM and ownership. They’ve been great. We couldn’t have asked for anything better so far.”
During the Q&A, former Rams running back Eric Dickerson asked a question from the audience. He wanted to know how the players on the current team responded to being filmed. “In this day and age, I think that we all know. If you have teenagers, they seem to take pictures of themselves all the time. They love cameras for whatever reason,” replied Snead.
“[NFL Films Director] Matt Dissinger and his crew — they seem to get there. There’s a lot of cameras but you just don’t see them. You don’t notice them. They’re getting some unbelievable shots. I’m telling you. You think professional football players are good at what they do. That crew is unbelievable.”
Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Los Angeles Rams airs Tuesday nights at 10/9c on HBO. The season finale airs Sept. 6.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders Talk the From Season 2 finale
[Warning: Spoilers for the season finale.] How’s everyone doing after that finale? While we wait and wonder and hope for a third season announcement, soon, here’s what Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders had to say about their parts of the finale, and where they hope they get to go next….
Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders Talk From Season 2 + A Season Finale Preview
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] It all comes down this, #FROMily. As Sunday’s episode wraps up Season 2, we begin with the aftermath of the terrifying onset of seemingly simultaneous attacks on Julie, Marielle, and Randall, which accelerate the “We gotta get out of this place” of it all. Sara comes…
Alison Sweeney Talks About What’s Next for Hannah and Mike After Carrot Cake Murder: A Hannah Swensen Mystery
[Warning: Spoilers for Carrot Cake Murder.] Everybody OK after that Hannah Swensen Mystery twist? Thankfully, our favorite crime-solving couple is still on speaking term, even if they’re on a break (hopefully not that kind of break). Most importantly, we already know this isn’t the last film in the series. No…
Counting Down to From Season 2
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] We’re just shy of two weeks away from Season 2 of last spring’s obsession, From, which premieres at 9 pm/8c, Sunday, April 23rd, on MGM+ (formerly EPIX). If you never picked it up last year, now’s your chance, and you can do it for free, catching…
Thank Me Later: Will Trent
[Warning: spoilers ahead.] I’m on record as loving and losing shows over at ABC so I’m usually very reticent to pick something up on the network until it’s been renewed, and I seriously hope I’m not jinxing it, but I took a chance on the deeply odd and very sweet…
Dennis Heaton Talks The Imperfects
Longtime readers at TV Goodness will know that Motive is one of my ride-or-die series, and as such, I am fiercely loyal to its creator, Dennis Heaton. He followed up that fantastic reverse procedural with Netflix’s The Order and is back on our streaming screens with The Imperfects, which dropped…
Kelly McCormack Talks Favorite Moments in A League of Their Own
[Warning: Mild spoilers for season 1.] Now that you’ve had a chance to watch A League of Their Own, here’s the rest of my chat with Kelly McCormack about her favorite moments of the season. Seeing the iconic Peaches uniforms for the first time wasn’t just a goosebump moment for…
John Griffin and Harold Perrineau Talk From Season 1 Finale
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] How are we doing, #FROMily? In case you missed it this morning, the very good news is that that cliffhanger will be followed by a second season, which was gifted this morning ahead of the linear broadcast of the finale. I always legitimately appreciate when we…
Elizabeth Saunders Talks From
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the things that makes EPIX’s From such a fun ride is the abundance of Canadian cast members. Elizabeth Saunders, who plays Donna, is a favorite from her turn on the third season of Mary Kills People [streaming on Global TV in Canada and Roku…
Corteon Moore Talks From “Broken Windows, Open Doors”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight’s episode of From had us all in our feels as we learned through flashbacks about the Sophie’s Choice Boyd had to make to save his son, and back in the present as Boyd said his piece with Ellis before heading into the woods with…
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…