Detroit Lions to be featured on HBO series 'Hard Knocks'
Palm Beach, Fla. — From the moment he was introduced as the Detroit Lions head coach, Dan Campbell became nationally known as the kneecap guy.
This August, he'll get the opportunity to show NFL fans he's so much more, while introducing the team and culture he and general manager Brad Holmes are building, after HBO announced Monday it will be featuring the Lions on the training camp documentary series "Hard Knocks."
"We are excited about the opportunity to showcase the City of Detroit and the amazing culture we are building at the Lions,” Detroit Lions president and CEO Rod Wood said in a statement. “HBO Sports and NFL Films are the best of the best and we know they will be excellent partners in sharing our story with football fans around the world.”
A 30-person NFL Films crew will be at Lions’ training camp in Allen Park, 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.
For Campbell, it will broaden the spotlight after a small snippet of his hour-long introductory press conference went viral last year.
"We’re gonna kick you in the teeth, and when you punch us back we’re gonna smile at you, and when you knock us down we’re going to get up, and on the way, we’re going to bite a kneecap off," Campbell said last January. "We’re going to stand up, and it’s going to take two more shots to knock us down. And on the way up, we’re going to take your other kneecap, and we’re going to get up, and it’s gonna take three shots to get us down. And when we do, we’re gonna take another hunk out of you."
And while he showed much greater depth, even within that press conference, the kneecap bit stuck, only to be somewhat replaced by an emotional Campbell fighting back tears after a tough early-season loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
"Hard Knocks" will be able to further capture and expand on the coach's direct and genuine approach with his staff and players, while exploring Detroit's young roster as it continues to develop in the second year of the current regime.
The program is known to focus on a handful of select players, often highlighting at least one underdog story. Detroit Lions fullback Jason Cabinda was prominently featured as an undrafted rookie in 2019, fighting for a job with the then-Oakland Raiders.
Cabinda was eventually cut by the Raiders, ending up on the Lions practice squad days later.
"Hard Knocks" debuted in 2001 and has won 18 Sports Emmy Awards. This will mark the 17th season of the program and the first to feature a team from the NFC North division.
The five-episode season debuts Tuesday, Aug. 9 at 10 p.m. with additional hour-long episodes debuting each Tuesdays at the same time, culminating in the Sept. 6 season finale.
“As Hard Knocks enters its third decade inside NFL training camps, we are both thrilled and thankful for the opportunity to feature a historic franchise like the Lions,” said Ken Rodgers, NFL Films vice president and senior coordinating producer. "The city, the culture and the coaching staff in Detroit all have an exciting energy that will make the show must-watch television this summer."