DETROIT — Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell made headlines during his introductory news conference last year when he talked about biting kneecaps and taking pieces out of opponents, and now it’s time for an encore, sort of. less, for the colorful coach.
The Lions will appear on HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” with the first episode debuting Tuesday.
Expect a lot from Campbell, from his high-caffeinated coffee runs to his motivational tactics, as he tries to change the narrative of “Same Old Lions.” Even two of the best players in Lions history, Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson, said they’ll keep an eye out.
Given that Detroit doesn’t have a night game scheduled after a 3-13-1 season, this could be the Lions’ only prime-time appearance. This is what the national audience could expect to see.
Why were the Lions chosen for Hard Knocks?
The Lions were among the final teams considered, along with the New York Jets. According to the show’s producers, the Detroit fanbase was clamoring for the platform to showcase their team as they haven’t gotten much attention in recent years, and the team was aware of this.
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The Lions won’t play a nationally televised game this season outside of their annual Thanksgiving matchup, so this appearance on “Hard Knocks” is an opportunity for the organization to reach a larger audience.
“Detroit is one of those cities that has soccer in its blood, and it is a great sports city, and they are really waiting and crying for this success that they hope will come,” said Ken Rodgers, lead creative producer for “Hard Hits.” “You can see it on the streets. You can hear it in the music; I know it’s an Eminem song too.
“It’s an attitude that comes when you start filming, and people love it,” he said. “As good as the Cowboys were last season, the Cowboys are a familiar brand that you know you want to watch because you know it’s going to be entertaining. This is a team that you never had a chance to meet, and you’re going to meet for the first time and that’s really exciting for us.”
Who will be the rising stars of the show?
There are a number of interesting personalities on the roster, most notably anime-loving running back Jamaal Williams, second-year wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, cornerback Jerry Jacobs and members of the offensive line. But viewers will also be introduced to general manager Brad Holmes, who is one of only seven black general managers in the NFL. Although Holmes’ journey from becoming a public relations intern for the Los Angeles Rams to his current role has been well documented, viewers will see how he works to build this list day by day.
The coaching staff will also appear in the series. Packed with former players who bring over 80 years of combined gaming experience, they bring a unique perspective and identification that should shine through on screen.
“More than ever before, assistant coaches are probably going to play a bigger role this year than we’ve seen in previous years with just the pedigree that we have in former players and whatnot,” said Shannon Furman, producer and director of “Hard Knocks. ” “That’s definitely something we’re really focused on.”
Jamaal Williams put his whole heart into this speech. 🗣️ @jswaggdaddy
— NFL (@NFL) August 8, 2022
Any funny camp stories?
Aidan Hutchinson, the second overall pick, wowed veterans with his portrayal of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” while performing in front of the team as part of his rookie duties. Although no footage has been leaked, it’s hard to imagine this won’t be included in the show.
“OK, two nights ago I had the song. He left us. It was the first. We put it up there and [say] his name and school, signing bonus and, I will say this, he was outstanding,” Campbell said of the performance. “He took a big step up from his teammates because it was a great performance, I’m just saying.”
Offensive tackle Penei Sewell called Hutchinson’s performance “money.”
“It scratched a little at first. I get it… nervousness,” Sewell said. “But she killed him. That man killed him.
Although ESPN has not received confirmation that this will be included in the program, it is one of the funniest stories of the camp.
“I was rehearsing the verses in my head for a couple of days, they called me up and I had to step up,” Hutchinson said, laughing.
Lions No. 2 pick Aidan Hutchinson recounts how he performed Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” as part of his rookie duties: “I was rehearsing the verses in my head for a couple of days and they called me by my name. I had to Take a step forward. ” pic.twitter.com/jzMqq4tZQZ
—Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) August 2, 2022
what is campbell Really I like it?
Campbell’s epic kneecap speech during his introductory news conference as Lions coach will likely follow him for the rest of his career. But as entertaining as his media interactions have become, which have included him appearing in an “Anti-Fragile” T-shirt, joking with a local reporter over the sound of his alarm clocks during a media session, and participating in up – player issues: fans might be surprised by your knowledge of football. Campbell lives, breathes, eats and drinks football.
“I think what’s going to surprise people is that he’s twice as smart as anyone thinks based on his looks, that he’s the epitome of bad ass,” Rodgers said.
Campbell is also no stranger to the “Hard Knocks” experience. He appeared on the show as an assistant coach for the Miami Dolphins in 2012. Just don’t expect him to be distracted by the extra attention.
“Yeah, I’m not, honestly, I’m not even worried about it,” he said Monday. “I’m not worried about ‘Hard Knocks,’ I’m not worried about winning ‘Hard Knocks.’ I’m just worried about trying to make this team better and see if we can win some games here, which is the point of this.”
Lion legends will be watching
Lions greats Sanders and Johnson remain the most recognizable faces in franchise history, and both said they’ll keep an eye out. Sanders told ESPN that he is “excited” and “anticipated” by this year’s team. He calls it “one of the most anticipated seasons in recent memory.”
Johnson also sees the value a show like “Hard Knocks” can bring to the city.
“I remember kicking it back and forth in the locker room every time it was on. Some guys thought it would be a distraction and some would say that’s what Detroit needs,” Johnson said. “But it would have been great. I don’t remember exactly what he was saying at the time, whether it was a distraction or not, but in hindsight it would have been a great opportunity.”