It's official. The cameras and bright lights won't be on the Atlanta Falcons just on Sundays. They'll be there essentially every day of training camp, too.
The all-inclusive, behind-the-scenes, highly invasive HBO documentary series "Hard Knocks" is going to Atlanta. HBO and the NFL announced the agreement Thursday. A 30-person HBO crew will film the Falcons for five weeks and knock out five episodes, each an hour long. The series will debut Tuesday, Aug. 5. (Via Flickr / Thomson20192)
If you're unfamiliar with the series, the HBO show follows a certain NFL team around during training camp and documents on and off the practice field. The Cincinnati Bengals were featured last year. (Via HBO / "Hard Knocks")
But the 30-person film crew can often add drama and distraction to already intense training camps.
"It was just something that I just felt in my gut I just didn't want to be a part of the first year. I saw the positives of it, but I think there's some negatives to it as well."
That's led the NFL to put a rule in place saying it can force teams to participate in the series. The only way a team doesn't end up a potential subject for the show is if it has a new head coach, it's made it to the playoffs once in the past two years, or it's already appeared on the show in the past decade. (Via Flickr / Thomson20192)
But the Falcons made it to the playoffs in 2012, making this decision a voluntary one. And for a team that went a dismal 4-12 last season, it's opened itself up to a bit of criticism.
Jeff Schultz of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes: "So let me understand this: The same organization that fell apart a season ago ... has decided to let a cable television show go behind the scenes in training camp? There are a lot of ways to fix an organization. ... But putting 90 players and a dozen coaches on a stage for a clown show isn't one of them."
The show will debut Aug. 5 with the season finale coming Sept. 2. The Falcons' first regular season game is Sept. 7 against the Saints.