- 15 Seasons
The sports documentary and reality show Hard Knocks was created by HBO and the National Football League to illustrate a NFL team's ups and downs while preparing for the NFL season. The show looks at every aspect of training camp, both the personal and business aspects of the NFL. Actor Liev Schreiber narrates Hard Knocks and has held this position since the creation with the exception of season three, where die-hard Chiefs fan Paul Rudd narrated the Kansas City Chiefs' Hard knocks. Hard Knocks is exclusively shown on HBO and the NFL Network and has earned a total of seven Emmys, living up the high standards set by these networks. The Hard Knocks series began with the 2001 Baltimore Ravens, followed by the next season's Dallas Cowboys. There were then four years of hiatus until the 2007 Hard Knocks featuring Kansas City Chiefs came back with a vengeance, winning the program's first Emmy. The next year, they followed up with another Emmy win with the Dallas Cowboys, and later topped both years with the 2009 Cincinnati Bengals features, which captured 2 Emmys. The most eventful season belonged to the 2010 NY Jets, which focused on their outspoken Head Coach Rex Ryan, and a Super Bowl favorite team that earned Hard Knocks three more Emmys. The 2011 season featured owners locking out the players and causing the fourth work stoppage in the NFL history. Hard Knocks unsuccessfully tried to get a team to sign on due to the uncertain future. The 2012 Hard Knocks program will follow the Miami Dolphins, as announced by their Head Coach Joe Philbin in a May 2012 press conference. Hard Knocks gives the unflinching fans of the NFL a glimpse into what preparation, sacrifices, and even fun goes into being part of a NFL team. The challenges rookies face, team pranks, players' family life, and the end of careers, where wily veterans struggle to hold onto their positions are all gripping features that make this show such a success. Unfortunately, it is hard to get NFL teams to allow cameras to follow them, most citing strategic privacy. Other NFL teams think their young players may be distracted with the cameras and not prepare enough to be successful in the regular season. There is also the issue of the Hard Knocks curse, which may be a combination of the theory of distraction and an unknown force. All of the NFL teams that have participated in Hard Knocks have not lived up to the public's off season expectations for one reason or another. It will be up to the 2012 Miami Dolphins to come together and break the curse of Hard Knocks.