Just wanted to start this post out with the theme music to Hard Knocks. If that doesn’t get your blood flowing then you might want to check your pulse because you’re probably dead.
Training camp in the NFL is a magical time and it is officially under way. Each team will start camp with about a 90 man roster and over a four week period they have the tough decisions of trimming that down to 53. A lot of dreams are made and broken during this process. Lucky for us, HBO chooses a team to document over the course of training camp and peal back the curtain and give us an all-access pass inside an NFL organization.
Every year when Hard Knocks makes its season debut it is always a bittersweet moment for me. It means the NFL season is right around the corner, but it also is a reminder that the shot clock is running out on summer. And goddammit I love me some summer. I have so much more shit to do while the weather is nice, but when first hear that Hard Knocks music I break out my winter jacket and start my Christmas shopping.
This year the producers at HBO could not have picked a better team to cover than the Oakland Raiders. Head Coach, Jon Gruden, is a walking soundbite. The exuberant and outspoken Gruden was just brought back by the Raiders and signed a deal to the tune of 10 years and $100 million. There’s a lot of pressure on the Super Bowl winning coach to bring the Raiders back to their glory days. I’m sure the pressure will make sure that we hear some great sound bites like this:
The Raiders have also added two new players to their roster that will add gas to any fire in their locker room. Antonio Brown just showed up to the opening day of training camp in a fucking hot air ballon. You’re reading that right. A hot air balloon. Oh yeah and he’s already missed a bunch of practice due to his nasty ass feet. I would have a picture, but its fuckin gross so look it up on your own time. You can’t make this shit up. Gruden’s gonna have a field day with that.
The other treat that we will be exposed to in a Raider uniform is Richie Incognito. This dude was thrown off the Dolphins for bullying Jonathan Martin, who totally deserved it btw. But Incognito’s rap sheet is as long as they come with his latest outburst coming this past March when he went to the funeral home that was burying his dad and wanted to cut his head off and bring it home. Incognito has dealt with substance abuse and it had led to him doing some batshit crazy things. Raiders General Manager Mike Mayock figured fuck it what’s the worse that can happen?
I love the fact that we get to see this unfold on a weekly basis. The Hard Knocks crew has all-access to the Raiders and I can’t be happier. I’m sure that they are going to do a great job and make me fall in love with Oakland or Las Vegas or whatever, but this is just a little preamble to the season. If you’ve never seen Hard Knocks I highly recommend it. Here’s some off the top moments from the show: