I worry for the future of "Hard Knocks". Not because this was such a horrible season that HBO might as well hang it up. It was far from the best "Hard Knocks", but I still enjoyed it overall and don't regret watching it. That said, I wonder if it will even be possible to do another season. Remember back to the spring how long it took for HBO to secure a team willing to let the show record its training camp. Most franchises rejected it out of hand, while others waited until HBO approached them to tell premium cable to go pound sand. Other than the Dolphins, the Jaguars seemed like the only other team looking for publicity, because of course they are.
But what happened when Miami finally reached an agreement to be on "Hard Knocks"? A bunch of dickhead sportswriters, the same people who rave about this show, chastised Miami for bringing a distraction into their midst and caring more about making headlines than winning football games. This is probably why most teams want nothing to do with the show; they would rather not get skewered in the media for essentially giving the media what it wants. You just know what when Miami has the sh*tacular season that they almost certainly will have, trolling NFL analysts will place some of the blame on the team's willingness to be on this show. Which just makes it less likely that anyone will agree to do it again.
So if there is a "Hard Knocks" next year, it might just be Jaguars or nothing. Woof. If this was the end of "Hard Knocks", it's a little sad that it didn't go out on its highest note, but there were still plenty of worthwhile moments. Let's have 'em.
Ryan Tannehill and Lauren combine their mental powers to assemble an IKEA side table. Being young idiots in love, they fuck it up, making it so you either can't open or close the drawer all the way. Having put together more than my share of shitty IKEA furniture, I'm fairly certain I know how they messed it up, too. You put the dowel on the wrong end, you wealthy assholes. "Where will I put the remotes if it's just for looks," Lauren asks, doubtlessly beginning to plot her torrid affair with me.
The quarterback meeting turns to reminiscing about video cassette technology. Hey guys, remember those? "Oh no, BETA!" Haha, those were the days. Anyway, I like the complete absence of tact from Ryan Tannehill when he incredulously asks David Garrard, "You still had tapes when you were in 9th grade?" Holy shit, you're so old, brah. What was it like to bang Nefertiti, dudebro?
On the season's opening episode, there was a widely appreciated gratuitous cheerleader montage. Then for the next few episodes, nothing. It's like this show wasn't created solely to objectify the cheerleading squad. A fundamental flaw, if you ask me. Anyway, HBO is too nice to tease us once then forget the cheesecake for an entire season, so here's some salaciousness for the Dolphins cheerleaders calendar release party. Could have done with the J-Lo music, though.
This seemed necessary.
Jarrell Root getting hurt in the preseason game against the Cowboys, thereby ensuring he would be cut was the only time I was sad this season. Root seems like a genuinely funny, engaging guy, as was his friend, the big fat white guy who got lost at sea. Root was probably still something of a longshot before getting hurt in the game, but you can see the finality on his face as he's being bandaged on the sideline.
His mom's reaction to him being cut was pretty hilarious, though.
Even though I felt bad for Root, I appreciate Mike Pouncey cutting through the wave of sentimentalism. Rookie guard Josh Samuda is sulking because his camp buddies are being sent packing. Pouncey then drops the truth bomb on him that this ain't sleepaway camp, motherfucker, you need to be happy you got a job and they didn't.
During the end credits, there was a wasn't so much a blooper reel as a reel of small funny moments that NFL Films couldn't cram into coherent parts of the narrative. But I'm really glad they revisited Les Brown's "As yuush" catchphrase (an attempted clever shortening of "as usual") along with the shit he got from teammates for it appearing on the show. Deservedly so, as it's like Kenny Powers' "on the reg" line tweaked to the bro-iest degree. I like that the players can reference things they saw on episodes of the show later in the season. "Hard Knocks" is self-aware!
Clyde Gates seems like a enjoyable character, so it's encouraging that after being cut by the Dolphins, he was quickly snatched up on waivers by the Jets. Gates is here talking about how his tattoos are like a newspaper. Meanwhile, Joe Philbin is busy negging on his skills as a speester, muttering to another coach about waiting to see his route running skills. It's an understandable concern, but it still sounds shitty somehow coming from Philbin.
This series really made me dislike Philbin. Almost to a disturbing degree. I'm as indifferent to the Dolphins as any other fan of a team that isn't in the AFC East, but I'm gonna end up rooting against them most of the time based solely on my contempt for that middle-management passive-aggressive office tyrant type. Later in the episode, he had a guy who survived cuts come into his office to thank him for making the roster. It seemed so stilted, I wouldn't be surprised if it was something that Philbin actually arranged for the show. Of course, upon entering his office, Philbin fake-sternly instructs the player not to sit in his chair. It's probably a joke, but it's enough in keeping with Philbin's usual dickishness that I was still annoyed by it.
Chad Johnson makes his less than triumphant return to "Hard Knocks" for the finale. I'm guess that NFL Films felt bad for him being embarrassed on their TV show, so they wanted to let him put his tryout video for other NFL teams on the finale. Chad seems penitent for the headbutting, but not without vowing to get his job in the NFL and his wife back. The latter must be important because we see that he's got Evelyn's face tattooed on his leg.
A few episodes back, tight end coach Dan Campbell, formerly of the Cowboys, compared Dolphins quarterback Pat Devlin to Tony Romo. Teammates were giving Devlin grief for that, as well as being a general ass-kisser. But then the Dolphins had to play the Cowboys in the preseason and Tony Romo was trying to conceal his betrayal at being compared to a rookie behind a veil of laughter and play-hitting. Inside, Romo seethes and plans the next Hawkins Romo Starter ad campaign.
I want more like this!
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