Sunday was my birthday, and one of the least surprising part of watching the Cardinals go through their regular-season-opening drubbing by the Rams was that Arizona’s opponent this summer will be Showtime’s “Hard Knocks.” I mean, any random NFL team on the verge of losing over 700 million dollars is going to be looked at through the lens of the hyper-in-tune, highly-focused, unflinching NFL media personalities who film it for the season.
So who do Cardinals executive Steve Keim and Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill want on this year’s docuseries?
“I think what we’re going to do is very important,” Keim said on SiriusXM’s NFL Radio on Wednesday. “We’re going to think strategically in terms of what this platform can do for our organization, particularly with the regular season starting and NFL Network cutting their NHL coverage, it’s going to allow us to tell our story. We got a world-class organization, not one of the top five, that plays for championships in a very competitive league. I think we can speak for ourselves as a staff, and the ownership organization, we feel like this is a huge opportunity for us to be put in front of the public. We’re going to use this platform as an opportunity to tell our story, and have the entire league see how good this team is and what they bring to the table.”
Best to the option, Steve Keim! I think we can all agree that exposing a franchise to one of the highest-intensity and most accurate types of media criticism it can possibly be subjected to is the most valuable experience in pro sports. Just take a look at my description of the “Hard Knocks” experience from my first season covering the Rams (it only lasted 20 weeks, but it’s close enough):
I was in the final year of a long stay with CBSSports.com as their film coordinator. I was thrilled when I learned that “Hard Knocks” was getting a new deal and was applying for the gig. I’d been a Rams fan my entire life, but I’d never been able to watch them play because I lived in Columbus, Ohio, a few hours away, and was sure there were better things to do than sit in front of my computer watching the regular season unfold on TV. I wasn’t totally pessimistic about the new season (though I did have to go completely underground for my first game), but I wasn’t thrilled by what I was learning. It was like watching an old-fashioned football game on a black-and-white TV instead of watching Derek Carr romp through the Seahawks defense in the playoffs. (I did have the good fortune of watching the Rams get blown out by the Niners in my second season, though.)
And yet. I just can’t imagine anyone but the Rams’ general manager, the new head coach, and the entire roster actually agreeing to this.