Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Dolphins to be on 'Hard Knocks'
ESPN.com news services
After a drawn-out offseason process, HBO has decided to showcase the Miami Dolphins on this summer's version of the hit reality TV series "Hard Knocks."
HBO announced Tuesday that the Dolphins would be the newest subject of its popular reality series documenting NFL training camps. The seventh season premieres Aug. 7, with four more one-hour episodes airing on subsequent Tuesdays.
The New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons both were mentioned as potential selections for this season, but sources told ESPN both franchises declined to be on the show.
The Dolphins are entering the season -- also the 40th anniversary of the only perfect season in NFL history -- with a new head coach and a rookie quarterback selected with the No. 8 overall pick in April's draft.
"We are delighted that 'Hard Knocks' will be returning this summer and placing the spotlight on the Miami Dolphins, a venerable franchise that had an exciting offseason activity," HBO Sports president Ken Hershman said in a statement announcing the decision. "This marks the first time that the series has featured a first-year head coach (Joe Philbin) and we are extremely grateful to both Coach Philbin and the entire organization for agreeing to participate. As always, there will be plenty on the line for veterans, free agents and rookies."
Owner Stephen Ross hired Philbin in January after the Dolphins' seventh below-.500 season in the past eight years. Philbin, who as the Green Bay Packers' offensive coordinator helped mold quarterback Aaron Rodgers, drafted Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill with Miami's first-round pick in April.
Tannehill is expected to compete with incumbent Matt Moore and veteran addition David Garrard for the Dolphins' starting job, although Ross has said he expects Moore to be the starter.
"It's a great opportunity to connect with our fans, for the people who aren't going to be able to come out here daily in 110-degree heat index weather and watch our guys participate in training camp," Philbin said in South Florida after an offseason practice Tuesday.
Miami's role on "Hard Knocks" makes sense for a team and owner that have chased big names, big headlines and big stars, largely in vain, for much of the past few years. While failing to land high-profile names such as quarterback Peyton Manning and coaches Jeff Fisher and Jim Harbaugh, Ross has sold minority stakes in team ownership to celebrities including singers Marc Anthony and Gloria Estefan and tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. The Dolphins even boast a red-carpet entrance at their home games for celebrities attending the game.
Philbin said the Dolphins' involvement in the show was a football decision made with the blessing of Ross.
"Our owner supported this decision but in no way, shape or form forced us to make the decision," Philbin said. "It's a chance to show the new direction and identity of this football team, where we're headed, and at the same time connect with our past, the great tradition and heritage we have here in Miami."
"Hard Knocks" won three Sports Emmys for its portrayal of the Jets in 2010. The show, co-produced with NFL Films, has been on the air intermittently since its debut in 2001 with the Baltimore Ravens, and did not air last season because of the NFL lockout.
In subsequent years, the Dallas Cowboys (2002 and 2008), Kansas City Chiefs (2007), Cincinnati Bengals (2009) and Jets have been featured.
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Our owner supported this decision but in no way, shape or form forced us to make the decision.
-- Dolphins coach Joe Philbin
on accepting 'Hard Knocks' invite