Although there have been no indications any talks are going on between the Atlanta Falcons and HBO’s “Hard Knocks," general manager Thomas Dimitroff might have been sending a signal in a radio interview Friday.
“I truly believe that an organization has to be in the right spot to jump into something like 'Hard Knocks,'" Dimitroff said. “I think it sheds a lot of light on our league. This is a league of entertainment. There are some traditionalists that struggle with it, but they have to work against the grain a little bit and see that this is about entertainment. 'Hard Knocks' is a good show for the fan base.”
That comes two years after the Falcons declined an opportunity to be featured on the show. Earlier this week, Tampa Bay turned down an offer to be the star of the show this summer.
“We are much closer to being in that spot where it’s not going to be as much of a distraction as it would have been another time,’’ Dimitroff said. “It’s such an individual thing. 'Hard Knocks' could be right for some of the teams that are fairly entrenched. It could be right for some team that wants to kick off some more brand recognition.”
The Falcons are a team with lots of veterans and young players just hitting their prime. They probably could handle the distractions that come with opening their lives to cameras for all of training camp. With three consecutive winning seasons behind them, the Falcons haven’t won a playoff game in the Dimitroff/Mike Smith era and there’s growing pressure due to that fact.
Appearing on “Hard Knocks’’ could help raise Atlanta’s national profile and perhaps help owner Arthur Blank’s quest for a new stadium. But it also could add pressure to a team that already has plenty of it.
An appearance on the show could still be a year or two off. You have to believe the show already had some backup plans in place beyond the Bucs and, despite the lockout, is probably moving forward on those plans. Again, there have been no indications that HBO or NFL Films, which produces the show, have approached the Falcons about a starring role this year. Then again, after hearing what Dimitroff had to say, the show could come calling.