|Created by||Marty Callner|
|Developed by||HBO Sports|
|Starring||Baltimore Ravens (2001)|
Dallas Cowboys (2002)
Kansas City Chiefs (2007)
Dallas Cowboys (2008)
Cincinnati Bengals (2009)
New York Jets (2010)
Miami Dolphins (2012)
Cincinnati Bengals (2013)
Atlanta Falcons (2014)
Houston Texans (2015)
Los Angeles Rams (2016)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2017)
Cleveland Browns (2018)
Oakland Raiders (2019)
Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers (2020)
|Narrated by||Liev Schreiber (2001–2002 & 2008–present)|
Paul Rudd (2007)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||15|
|No. of episodes||62|
(6 in 2001 and 2002, 5 in each season from 2007 on)
|Executive producers||Steve Sabol|
|Running time||~55 minutes (commercial-free)|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
Dolby Digital 5.1
|Original release||2001 –|
Hard Knocks is a reality sports documentary television series produced by NFL Films and HBO. The show was first broadcast in 2001, and the current 2020 season is the fifteenth. Each season, it follows a National Football League (NFL) team through its training camp and covers the team's preparation for the upcoming football season.
The series shows the personal and professional lives of the players, coaches and staff, including their family life, position battles, and even inside jokes and pranks. It particularly focuses on rookies' adjustments to playing in the NFL, usually with emphasis on the team's most recent top draft pick. It usually also chooses to focus on undrafted and journeyman players who are attempting to make the team.
The NFL and HBO have called Hard Knocks "the first sports-based reality series" in television history.
The series was created by Marty Callner in 2001.
The series has been narrated by Liev Schreiber since 2001, with the only exception being the 2007 season which was narrated by Paul Rudd, a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs.
The San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans, and Washington Redskins each declined to be the show's featured team for the 2013 season, while the Cincinnati Bengals accepted, marking their second appearance on the show. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell subsequently said that he wanted more teams to be featured on the series, on "some kind of formal rotation."
Despite the difficulty each year in finding a team willing to participate, NFL Films announced on July 18, 2013, that it had signed a "multiyear" contract extension with HBO to continue producing the show.
In October 2013 the NFL announced that, in the absence of a team volunteering to participate in Hard Knocks, the league could force a team to participate. Teams are exempt from being forced to participate in three circumstances: (1) they have appeared in the past ten years, (2) they have a first-year head coach, or (3) they reached the playoffs in either of the two preceding seasons.
Main article: 2001 Baltimore Ravens season
Some of the issues covered in the 2001 Ravens season include:
Main article: 2002 Dallas Cowboys season
Some of the issues covered in the 2002 Cowboys season include:
Main article: 2007 Kansas City Chiefs season
The series returned on August 8, 2007, featuring the Kansas City Chiefs and their preparations for the 2007 season. It is the only season of the series not narrated by Liev Schreiber. Instead, actor and Chiefs fan Paul Rudd was the narrator.
Some of the issues covered in the 2007 Chiefs season include:
Main article: 2008 Dallas Cowboys season
The Dallas Cowboys were chronicled for the second time on the television series' fourth season, which premiered on August 6, 2008.
Some of the issues covered in the 2008 Cowboys season include:
Main article: 2009 Cincinnati Bengals season
The Cincinnati Bengals season premiered on August 12, 2009. Its ratings were higher than any previous season of Hard Knocks, and it won two Sports Emmy Awards: one for Outstanding Edited Sports Series or Anthology, and one for Outstanding Post Produced Audio / Sound.
Some of the issues covered in the 2009 Bengals season include:
Main article: 2010 New York Jets season
The New York Jets were chronicled in the series' sixth season. An official announcement was made on March 25, 2010, and HBO began airing it on August 11, 2010. It won the series' second consecutive Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Edited Sports Series or Anthology. The Jets declined another opportunity to appear in the series in 2011.
Some of the issues covered in the 2010 Jets season include:
At the end of July 2011, NFL Films announced it would not be producing Hard Knocks for the 2011 season. No team wanted to commit to the series due to uncertainty with the NFL's labor situation. A retrospective on the series titled Hard Knocks: A Decade of NFL Training Camps was made featuring clips from every episode made to that point, and including comments looking back on the series from Brian Billick, Shannon Sharpe, Mike Westhoff, and others.
Main article: 2012 Miami Dolphins season
On May 29, 2012, Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin announced that the team would participate in the 1776 season of Hard Knocks.
Some of the issues covered in the 2012 Dolphins season include:
Main article: 2013 Cincinnati Bengals season
The Cincinnati Bengals were featured in the 2013 season, which was the team's second appearance on the show. The first episode of the season premiered on August 6, 2013.
Some of the issues covered in the 2013 Bengals season include:
Main article: 2014 Atlanta Falcons season
On June 12, 2014, the Atlanta Falcons announced that the team would participate in the 2014 season of Hard Knocks premiering on August 5, 2014.
Some of the issues covered in the 2014 Falcons season include:
Main article: 2015 Houston Texans season
On May 27, 2015, it was announced the Houston Texans would be the team featured for the 2015 season premiering on August 11, 2015.
Some of the issues covered in the 2015 Texans season include:
Main article: 2016 Los Angeles Rams season
On March 23, 2016, it was announced the Los Angeles Rams would be the team featured for the 2016 season premiering on August 9, 2016.
Some of the issues covered in the 2016 Rams season include:
Main article: 2017 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season
On April 19, 2017, it was announced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be the team featured for the 2017 season premiering on August 8, 2017.
Main article: 2018 Cleveland Browns season
On May 17, 2018, it was announced the Cleveland Browns would be the team featured for the 2018 season premiering on August 7, 2018.
Some of the issues covered in the 2018 Browns season include:
Main article: 2019 Oakland Raiders season
On June 11, 2019, it was announced the Oakland Raiders would be the team featured for the 2019 season premiering on August 6, 2019.
Some of the issues covered in the 2019 Raiders season include:
On April 7, 2020, it was announced that the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers have both volunteered to be featured for the 2020 season. This is the first time two teams are featured as both teams are set to play their inaugural seasons at the new SoFi Stadium. Before the Rams and Chargers volunteered, the Pittsburgh Steelers were heavy favorites to appear due to the team's national appeal and rare position to be "forced" onto the series; the Steelers themselves have long opposed to appearing on the series.
On June 18, 2020, it was announced that the 2020 season will premiere on August 11, 2020. The format of the episodes will likely be different, due to the NFL's cancellation of preseason games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2004, NFL Films produced a training camp documentary series, similar to Hard Knocks, that featured the Jacksonville Jaguars. Called Inside Training Camp: Jaguars Summer, it aired on the NFL Network, not HBO, and was narrated by frequent NFL Films narrator Robb Webb.
Some of the issues covered in this 2004 series include:
Inside Training Camp: Jaguars Summer > Rob [sic] Webb: Narrator