Hard Knocks featuring the Cincinnati Bengals premiered on HBO on Tuesday night. For those cheapskates out there who don’t get HBO, Hard Knocks is their yearly reality series chronicling behind the scenes of an NFL training camp. At best, the program exposes the major underlying issues facing the featured team. At worst, it exposes players as obnoxious self-promoters or serial impregnators and management as clueless putzes.
Still, the negatives usually far outweigh the positives. So it should come as no surprise that HBO has a helluva time finding a team willing to put themselves under the microscope. Usually the featured team isn’t announced until very late in the off-season, after nearly every top choice has passed. Which explains why this is the second time in four years that the program features the Bungles.
Ordinarily, I would’ve tuned in for the lolz. Cincy, with their collection of youngsters, castoffs, and criminals, is nothing if not entertaining. But this season there was the added bonus of former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison.
Prior to the premiere, Harrison told reporters the show was “a pain in the ass.” Always a paragon of restraint, Deebo’s contempt for the show was cleverly concealed by such subtle gestures as flipping off the cameraman and slamming the door in their faces as they tried to follow behind. Later in the show, we actually heard the coaches warn James not to hurt budding superstar receiver AJ Green. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; it’s all well and good when Harrison decapitates somebody on another team but when he lays out one of our guys going over the middle, the howls of protest from Steeler Nation will be deafening.
As for Harrison… Never change, James, never change.