Certain milestones are hit during the NFL offseason. Free agency, free agency grades, mock drafts, more mock drafts, more mock drafts that compile the mock drafts, the NFL Draft, draft grades, offseason grades, training camps, and HBO’s “Hard Knocks”.
Last season was the Cleveland Browns infamous showcase, allowing the entire world to witness just how awful Hue Jackson was at his job. Sashi Brown died for this.
This season it’s going to be the Oakland Raiders. The three first round draft picks, Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock attempting to rebuild the husk that was left after they traded Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, Antonio Brown looking to prove the entire league was dumb for not giving up more than a third round pick to snag him in a Kawhi Leonard situation, old favorite characters like Richie Incognito coming back to life (spoiler: he never died in that car crash), and Derek Carr trying to save his career to remain the team’s franchise quarterback.
Oh, yeah, and Las Vegas hangs as a specter above everything as the team plays a last season in Oakland that it almost didn’t play in Oakland to begin with. What a travesty.
Don’t fill up on my words. Below is the official press release:
HBO Sports, NFL Films and the Raiders team up for an unfiltered all-access look at what it takes to make it in the National Football League when HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE OAKLAND RAIDERS kicks off its five-episode season this summer. Spotlighting this AFC West franchise that has an intriguing mix of established veterans, highly regarded rookie hopefuls and free-agent acquisitions under head coach Jon Gruden, the 14th edition of the 18-time Sports Emmy® Award-winning series debuts TUESDAY, AUG. 6 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT). Other hour-long episodes of the first sports-based reality series – and one of the fastest-turnaround programs on TV – debut subsequent Tuesdays at the same time, with encore plays Wednesday nights, culminating in the Sept. 3 season finale.
HARD KNOCKS will also be available on HBO on Demand, HBO NOW, HBO GO and HBO partners’ streaming platforms.
“If you’re a fan of football or great storytelling, HARD KNOCKS with the Oakland Raiders is going to be must-see television,” says Peter Nelson, executive vice president, HBO Sports. “We are so grateful to this storied franchise for opening up its doors and allowing HBO and NFL Films to spend the summer with the Raiders in what promises to be a compelling and engaging training camp.”
“Since the AFL-NFL merger, the Raiders have been a part of some of the most iconic moments in League history,” says NFL Films senior executive Ross Ketover. “We at NFL Films have been thrilled and honored to showcase the mythology of the Raiders from the Holy Roller, Sea of Hands, Ghost to the Post all the way to today with Coach Gruden and this unbelievable cast of players and coaches. Needless to say, we’re very much looking forward to this season of Hard Knocks.”
Camera crews will head to the Bay area in the next few weeks to begin filming, with the action heating up in August when the cinema verité show focuses on the daily lives and routines of players and coaches. HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE OAKLAND RAIDERS will chronicle head coach Jon Gruden entering his second season leading the team, assistant coaches and players throughout training camp and the preseason
The Raiders compete in the highly-competitive AFC West, where they maintain an intense rivalry with each of their opponents and have their sights set on ascending in the standings. Each week, viewers will get an inside look as players experience the daily rigors of an NFL training camp. Cameras will document hours of conditioning practices and meetings, while chronicling players as they compete for a roster spot and bond off the field.
“Everybody wants to be a Raider. Now they’ll find out what it takes to become one,” said Raiders owner Mark Davis.
A 30-person NFL Films crew will be in Raiders’ training camp in Napa Valley, shooting more than 1,750 hours of footage over the course of the series. Camera and sound crews will have unencumbered access to players’ and coaches’ meeting rooms, training rooms, living quarters and practice fields.
No other sports reality series can match the production excellence, critical acclaim, awards and audience numbers posted by HARD KNOCKS, which has produced 67 memorable episodes and one anniversary special in its first 13 seasons. Episodes have averaged 3.9 million viewers over the past four seasons.
Winner of 18 Sports Emmy® Awards to date, HARD KNOCKS launched with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, followed by the Dallas Cowboys in 2002, and resumed in 2007 with the Kansas City Chiefs, subsequently spotlighting the Cowboys (2008), Cincinnati Bengals (2009), New York Jets (2010), Miami Dolphins (2012), Bengals (2013), Atlanta Falcons (2014), Houston Texans (2015) and Los Angeles Rams (2016). The 2017 edition chronicled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and captured the Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Serialized Documentary. The widely acclaimed series on the Cleveland Browns in 2018 earned two Sports Emmy® Awards for production excellence. HARD KNOCKS has won a Sports Emmy® every year it has aired since 2008.
Seven of the last nine teams featured on HARD KNOCKS have equaled or improved their win-loss record in the regular season. The Cleveland Browns launched the transformation of their organization last summer on HBO and went from a winless season to coming within half a game (7-8-1) of a .500 campaign.
The Washington Post wrote, “Turning football players into people is what HBO’s HARD KNOCKS series does so well. The massive scope, meticulous editing and time-hopping special effects that highlight a production under massive time constraints are all impressive, but it’s the film crew’s access to NFL players that makes the program special.” NFL.com stated, “There are myriad reasons why HARD KNOCKS remains one of the best shows on television; it’s ability to show us the human side of cutdown weekend is near the top,” while USA TODAY wrote, “Players’ lives and their hopes and dreams play out each NFL preseason on HARD KNOCKS. It’s that month-long human drama that makes the show so profoundly compelling.”
Winner of 129 Sports Emmy® Awards, NFL Films remains a gold standard in sports television, providing unprecedented access to and legendary storytelling about the sport of professional football. NFL Films is a part of NFL Media, the owned and operated media division of the National Football League, which is comprised of NFL Network, NFL Films, the NFL App, NFL.com and NFL RedZone.
HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE OAKLAND RAIDERS will be narrated by Liev Schreiber. This August will mark the 13th season with Schreiber voicing the weekly NFL training camp series.
“Hard Knocks” airs on August 6th, a month and a half from now. Mark your calendars. Get ready to resuscitate that HBO subscription you cancelled after Game Of Thrones made you mad online.