HBO’s Hard Knocks was cancelled this year, but in its place HBO is airing Hard Knocks: A Decade of NFL Training Camps. The 90-minute special is not so much a recap as it is a behind-the-scenes episode about the show’s production, from outtakes to footage of the production.
From montages of practical jokes and farts, to interaction with the producers, to anger at the crews, it’s both insightful and fun. It debuted last week and besides being on demand, re-airs frequently (click television to see all air times).
The NFL Films-produced show debuted in 2001, and has aired six seasons since then. The special is a reminder of what a great series this is, not only because of its exceptional access, but also because of its authenticity. We get to know the players, coaches, and others in ways that are unexpected, educational, and thoroughly entertaining. That it’s HBO makes it even better, because it’s uncensored, and thus the footage is quite the opposite from what you’d typically expect from something coming out of the NFL.