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 Post subject: We are on Hard Knocks this year
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 1:28 pm 
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Just announced, looks like I might need to get HBO now.

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 Post subject: Re: We are on Hard Knocks this year
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 1:28 pm 
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http://www.atlantafalcons.com/news/arti ... 9932712a06

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 Post subject: Re: We are on Hard Knocks this year
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 2:14 pm 
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Guess we changed philosophy again or did Goodell force feed us?


From 2012


Quote:
Atlanta Falcons pass on HBO's 'Hard Knocks' to focus on game

By Albert Breer
NFL Media reporter
Published: April 21, 2012 at 03:11 p.m.
Updated: Aug. 3, 2012 at 01:38 a.m.




The Atlanta Falcons will not appear on the next season of HBO's Hard Knocks, league sources said Saturday.








The decision was made by, among others, owner Arthur Blank, general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Mike Smith. They were in agreement that the focus should be on football over the summer, and they didn't want anything to distract from that.

The Falcons were the network's next choice once the New York Jets appeared to be disinterested in doing the show again, according to sources close to the situation.

Dimitroff was non-committal when asked about the topic by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday.

"Right now, I have nothing to offer on that," Dimitroff told the newspaper. "Like all of us, we've watched it over the years, and there have been some highlights. There have been some highlights, no questions about that. It's interesting TV."


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 Post subject: Re: We are on Hard Knocks this year
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 3:28 pm 
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Non-Cynical Pudge: This is exciting news! Hard Knocks is great! Falcons are great! Great + Great = THE MOST AMAZING THING EVER!!!!

Cynical Pudge: Blank's gotta generate excitement for this season (and his new stadium) up, and this is the perfect way of doing it.

Given that the "new Hard Knock" rules dictate that a team that has made the playoffs in either of the past 2 seasons is ineligible, then it would appear the Falcons volunteered.

I'm excited, but I'm betting I'll be in the minority on this board. 8-)

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 Post subject: Re: We are on Hard Knocks this year
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 4:08 pm 
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Now if only HBO was smart and offered a streaming service outside of regular cable providers so I could pick it up for Hard Knocks. Unfortunately, they haven't and won't in time.

No joy for me.

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 Post subject: Re: We are on Hard Knocks this year
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 11:41 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: We are on Hard Knocks this year
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:03 am 
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http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap200000 ... _rosenthal

Seven things to watch on this season's 'Hard Knocks'
39


By Gregg Rosenthal
Around The League Editor
Published: June 12, 2014 at 02:57 p.m. Updated: June 12, 2014 at 05:04 p.m.

The speculation is over. The Atlanta Falcons will be the team featured in this year's season of Hard Knocks, the NFL Films-produced show that appears (somewhat) annually on HBO.


Our reaction to the return of the show, in a nutshell:

It's an intriguing choice for a number of reasons. The Falcons generally fly under the radar despite being one of the best teams in the NFL since Matt Ryan, general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Mike Smith arrived in 2008. But they were one of last season's biggest disappointments.

Let's count a few reasons we're already looking forward to one of the best shows on television:

1. A franchise trying to rebound: The Falcons are a lot more interesting than they were a season ago. After reaching the doorstep of the Super Bowl after the 2012 season, the Falcons were among the league's worst (and unluckiest) last year. The bad luck has followed them into 2014 with the loss of linebacker Sean Weatherspoon.


No one expects a shakeup in Atlanta anytime soon, but this is an organization that grew used to winning records under Dimitroff. There is a lot of pressure on them to rebound big this year or changes could come. Pressure makes for better television.

2. Roddy White: He's consistently one of the most overlooked and entertaining voices in the league. This is his time in the spotlight.

3. Bryan Cox and Mike Tice: The Falcons just so happen to have two of the most entertaining assistant coaches in the league. We haven't had nearly enough Tice in our lives since he was the head coach in Minnesota. Cox is full of fire on and off the field.

"I only lost two fights out of about 60, 70," Cox said of his days growing up in East St. Louis this week. "If I thought I was fighting, I was getting the first lick. Just know that."

4. Atlanta nightlife: Training camp is not the time for partying, but let's just say we hope the NFL Films cameras track the players on some nights out on the town at some point.


5. Thomas Dimitroff, breaking the mold: He cuts a different figure than most general managers. Dimitroff doesn't eat meat, is an extreme sports enthusiast and rides a motorcycle. He thinks about the NFL from a different angle and has a hard time saying anything uninteresting. His relationship with his former boss, Scott Pioli, should also be interesting to watch. Dimitroff brought Pioli back into the league this offseason, and documented his first ride to work. Appearing on Hard Knocks is a long distance from "The Patriot Way."

6. Reality shows colliding: One of the great things about Hard Knocks is that it's not like other reality shows. The drama is real. The stories are not manufactured. This season, we'll get a little clash with the other kind of reality show. Sources familiar with the situation tell Around the League that Falcons defensive line Kroy Biermann is a part of the "Real Housewives of Atlanta" and he's not camera shy. (That source: Dan Hanzus' wife, Emily.)

7. Steven Jackson: Like Roddy White, he's a veteran that deserves some time in the spotlight. He came to Atlanta to chase a ring, and landed at the bottom of the standings again. It will be fun to follow Jackson as he tries to fend off challengers to his running back throne.

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 Post subject: Re: We are on Hard Knocks this year
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:26 am 
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http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons ... api_public

Lowery: 'Hard Knocks' can aid with focus
June, 12, 2014
JUN 12
8:40
PM ET
By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com
97COMMENTS3EMAILPRINT


New Atlanta Falcons free safety Dwight Lowery knows firsthand all about the HBO series "Hard Knocks."

And Lowery knows things can get ugly.


Lowery
Lowery was a part of the award-winning documentary in 2010 while a member of the New York Jets. He was a spectator for what they called the "King Ugly" competition between the rookies.

"That thing was hilarious," Lowery recalled. "Pretty much the players voted for who the ugliest player on the team was. You had to put money in as your vote. Whoever got third place, they got 75 percent of the pot. Second place got 25 percent of the pot. And first place didn't get anything, because they were so ugly. Some defensive back won, too (Brian Jackson).

"I just watched it the other day. And watching it, knowing that I was in those seats, it brings back a lot of memories."

Maybe Lowery's second appearance on "Hard Knocks" will be memorable as well. The Falcons were chosen as this year's team to be followed throughout training camp. It seems like a curious choice, considering how Mike Smith is a no-nonsense head coach. At the same time, it should be great exposure for team owner Arthur Blank as he prepares to open a new stadium in 2017.

It's fair to wonder if this could be a distraction for a team coming off a 4-12 season. Well, the "Hard Knocks jinx" was dispelled by Lowery's Jets, who went 11-5 and made it to the AFC Championship Game after finishing 9-7 the season before the filming.

"Honestly, my point of view is this: If you're not able to function when there are cameras around at the facility or practice or wherever, how are you going to go out and win a football game with 60,000 people in the stands?" Lowery posed. "You're on national TV. Cameras are rolling. If you're a team that's fortunate to go all the way, Super Bowl week has become crazier and crazier as the years have progressed. There is going to be a lot of that kind of hoopla and jazz going on that you need to focus in that type of situation as well.

"Hopefully, it will be something that we can use for energy on those days in camp where it gets hard and long; kind of keep the mood light, I guess. I honestly don't think it will be a distraction. If it is, I think only at first because it's brand new. I think three weeks into training camp, guys will get accustomed to them being there and actually kind of get sick of it."

Lowery might be part of the storylines if a competition evolves between himself and rookie Dez Southward. So far, Lowery had solidified his role as the starter next to strong safety William Moore with a strong offseason.

As far as the rest of the players, the cameras are sure to capture Julio Jones' return to practice from season-ending foot surgery, the addition of Jake Matthews to the offensive line, and likely the progress of rookies Devonta Freeman and Ra'Shede Hageman based on their stories of overcoming humble beginnings.

Lowery was asked which player he believes will evolve as the star of the show.

"I don't know if there will be one guy, you know?" he said. "I think the receiver group is pretty entertaining. They have good energy. They have confidence. And it's a strength of the team, obviously.

"I think there are other individuals that could [emerge]. But it's hard to say because I don't really know how guys are going to be with the cameras on. Literally, you'll be sitting there eating or you'll be in your dorm and then the crew will just ask and come in your room. ... I know at first guys are going to be like, `What the hell?' It's weird. But you'll see characters develop as the time goes on and people settle down and start to be themselves."

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 Post subject: Re: We are on Hard Knocks this year
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:29 am 
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http://msn.foxsports.com/south/story/fa ... ies-061214

Falcons selected for HBO's 'Hard Knocks' series
John Manasso

FOX Sports South

JUN 12, 2014 1:28p ET SHARE 33 TWEET 21 3

Kevin Liles / USA TODAY Sports
Coach Mike Smith and the Atlanta Falcons will be the ninth team to be featured on the "Hard Knocks" series.


Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith, in his more successful years, has spoken of how he prefers to eschew the spotlight and put it on his players.
Unlike, say, Seattle's Pete Carroll, it's just not something that Smith seems to enjoy. When it comes to discussing the team's internal deliberations, he prefers to keep his answers as brief and unrevealing as possible. His quarterback, Matt Ryan, fits the same mold.
With the announcement on Thursday that the Falcons will be featured on the HBO documentary-style show "Hard Knocks" -- which provides television cameras access into almost every sphere of the team's operations -- neither Smith nor Ryan nor anyone else who doesn't prefer the spotlight (we're looking at you, Osi Umenyiora) will have nowhere to hide.
Two years ago, the Falcons were considered for "Hard Knocks," but the timing was not right. The organization had just hired a new defensive coordinator in Mike Nolan and a new offensive coordinator in Dirk Koetter. The team felt that the focus needed to be on allowing those new coaches to get comfortable in their new roles and for the players to adapt to them.
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While the football reasons weren't right, the business ones weren't necessarily either. The Falcons were coming off a playoff season and did not believe that they could do much for their brand in the local market by participating.
How times change.
Two years later, the Falcons are coming off a 4-12 season and have broken ground on a new stadium. They need to begin the process of selling Personal Seat Licenses, a significant component of the stadium project's funding. The funding plan is relying on PSLs to cover between $100 and $200 million of the stadium's $1.2 billion cost.
Coming off a disappointing season, selling PSLs might not be so simple. What is one way to create interest in the team?
Feature it on "Hard Knocks."
"We are excited about the opportunity to give our fans a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to prepare an NFL team for the rigors of a 16-game regular season and beyond," Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in a statement. "This marks the first time that our franchise will be featured on 'Hard Knocks' and we look forward to showcasing our great players and coaches to football fans all across America."

What makes "Hard Knocks" a riveting drama is to hear unvarnished criticism by coaches and team personnel in discussing players and the difficult roster decisions they must make. This is what is likely to create the most unease among Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff. Dimitroff and assistant general manager Scott Pioli both came up through the New England Patriots, the most secretive of NFL franchises.
This is something they all will have to learn to live with.
"We are looking forward to connecting with our fans across the country as the program chronicles our 2014 training camp," Smith said in a statement. "The series will give fans a behind the scenes look at the competition between players as we build our roster and prepare for the season. We are looking forward to the start of camp in late July."
For those who welcome the spotlight, the show could make them into bigger stars. Wide receiver Roddy White would certainly appear to be a candidate in that regard. The press release announcing the move included safety William Moore and Julio Jones. Nolan, the defensive coordinator who is interested in becoming a head coach again, is smart and could also benefit.
One thing is for certain: A Falcons' offseason already with its share of interesting plot lines just got spiced up.

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