HBO Sports and NFL Films will premiere the first episode of the in-season edition of Hard Knocks with the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday night at 9 PM ET on HBO and will be available to stream on Max. New episodes of the acclaimed, 18-time Emmy award-winning series will debut on Tuesday through January 9th and then on each Tuesday during the team’s potential postseason run.
Ahead of the team’s Black Friday matchup against the New York Jets, 560 WQAM morning host Joe Rose asked NFL Films producer and director Steve Trout about the process the league went through in securing the Dolphins for the series.
“The league is constantly trying to figure out what teams are good fits for different projects and different shows,” Trout said. “I’m not exactly sure how that all went down, but once it was decided, the Dolphins have been open-arms [in] welcoming us…. You get organizations that [are] transparent and they’re okay with showing what’s happening because I think it’s very clear they believe in what’s happening.”
The New York Jets appeared on the training camp edition of the show, which drew considerable interest and intrigue pertaining to the mystique surrounding new quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Throughout the program, Jets fans became accustomed to Rodgers and the impact he was having on the team, along with meetings between players and coaches and how they go about player development.
The team lost Rodgers to an Achilles injury on its first offensive drive of the season, but the four-time NFL Most Valuable Player is trying to expedite his return to the field, perhaps during this season. Whereas the Jets’ edition of Hard Knocks took place in training camp and the preseason, the Dolphins are in the midst of contending for the Super Bowl and taking part in a similar, but modified production.
“The August Hard Knocks is really six to eight times bigger than what we have here,” Trout said. “We’ve got to keep it small because we’re here for so much longer. I think what we’ve mastered over our 20 years of this is blending into the background and being the fly on the wall, and the model for this in-season has to be that way because you’re coming in – the plane’s already in flight – and so you’ve really got to make yourself small, yet still capture all that genuine gold if you will.”
Rose remarked that the Dolphins team has felt like a fun group to follow throughout the season, a sentiment Trout backed by avouching that he cannot discern any change in demeanor or actions just because of the presence of cameras. For HBO Sports and NFL Films, that is a fundamental aspect of the production every time the company brings cameras around an organization, and the Dolphins have been, to Trout, among the most genuine to appear on the program.
“Maybe people watch on a Sunday for three hours and they’re under a helmet and they’re football players,” Trout said. “Our goal is to make them dads and husbands and sons and friends, and so I think you’re going to see that tonight.”
When the Jets were on the program before the season, there were reports that the team was limiting access to meetings where players were cut from the group ahead of the season. Because of this, Hard Knocks displayed these difficult moments utilizing different forms of storytelling and shot selections based on their inventory. The Dolphins do not seem to be limiting access to their team, nor is the team selectively removing parts of episodes beforehand unless they contain proprietary information that could influence competitive balance, such as play calls.
“I think the reason, Joe, that NFL Films is able to do it is because of the trust; because teams trust us more than the FOXs or the ESPNs or the CBSs of the world,” Rose said. “They’re not watching the show to pick out scenes…. We’re just trying to tell a story, and they allow us to do that and tell the story because of that trust, and I think that’s been built up over the years.”
SEC Commissioner Tells Pat McAfee Someone at ESPN Leaked 2024 Schedule Without Permission
“We were trying to protect it. Someone at ESPN apparently leaked it.”
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey isn’t particularly thrilled that his new top broadcast partner leaked a portion of next year’s schedule a bit early.
During an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show, which just so happens to be an ESPN property, Sankey mentioned his displeasure at the Worldwide Leader for leaking a portion of the 2024 SEC schedule early. According to Sankey, the league and the network agreed to release the schedule together in the near future.
“We were trying to protect it,” Sankey said. “Someone at ESPN apparently leaked it,” according to Yahoo Sports college football reporter Ross Dellenger.
While leaks in the media space are hardly a new phenomenon, especially when it comes to something as desirable as a football conference’s yearly schedule, a leak this early in the newly-formed ESPN-SEC relationship is less than ideal. Starting next season, ESPN will take over as the SEC’s primary broadcast partner, assuming the position CBS had long held for decades.
In the leaked portion of the schedule, the Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama Crimson Tide will play in the regular season for just the third time in the past 15 years. We also know the Bulldogs will play the debuting Texas Longhorns in Texas, while the Tide will play the other Oklahoma Sooners on the road.
Jeff Kotuby is a nationally-published journalist with bylines on many popular broadcasting and pop culture sites, including The Streamable, eBaum’s World, Twin Galaxies, and more. Jeff grew up in the shadows of New York City and cultivated his love for sports media with the classic broadcasting voices of the area, like Mike & The Mad Dog, Mike “Doc” Emerick, and Michael Kay. You can reach Jeff on Twitter @JeffKotu3y.
Jim Boeheim Making Analyst Debut on ACC Network, Joining The CW
Former Syracuse Orange basketball head coach Jim Boeheim will make his debut as an analyst on Saturday, Dec. 2 on the ACC Network. Boeheim will be on the broadcast for the matchup between Florida State and North Carolina at 2 PM ET featuring play-by-play announcer Wes Durham and sideline reporter Cory Alexander.
Boeheim will make his studio debut on Tuesday, Dec. 5 during halftime of the men’s prime-time doubleheader games on the day – which consists of Central Connecticut against Boston College at 6 PM ET, followed by Cornell taking on Syracuse at 8 PM ET.
On the program, he will be joined by host Kelsey Riggs and analyst Luke Hancock, and he will also remain on the air for the 10 p.m. edition of Nothing But Net, the network’s signature basketball show.
Additionally, Jim Boeheim also joined Westwood One and is reportedly set to work on The CW coverage of ACC basketball, debuting this Saturday with pre-taped segments during halftime of two conference games. News of Boeheim working with The CW was first reported by Mike Waters of Syracuse.com.
Boeheim departed Syracuse University after 47 seasons as a coach and holding an overall win-loss record of 1,015-441. He has the second-most wins at the Division I level in the history of college basketball, only being surpassed by former Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Dan Le Batard: I Thought Pat McAfee Would Grow College GameDay, But That Hasn’t Happened
Le Batard said McAfee is playing under a different set of rules than others at ESPN.
Pat McAfee has checked all the boxes Disney and ESPN leadership had when the former NFL punter brought his daily sports talk show into the fray, but one area where it seems like the waters aren’t so smooth for McAfee is in his reception as an analyst on College GameDay.
GameDay viewers have not shied away from making their feelings known that they don’t like seeing McAfee on the show, and Dan Le Batard has found the criticism quite interesting.
On The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz on Thursday, Le Batard said he thought having Pat McAfee on GameDay would continue taking the show to the next level, but it turns out he was wrong in some respects.
“And so they get McAfee and they give him a new set of rules,” Le Batard said. “But I thought that would result in College GameDay getting bigger and better. More popular. I underestimated the allegiance that the viewer has to David Pollack.”
“I’m reading him and everyone around him saying he’s a good teammate, they all love him, they’re all getting along with him,” Le Batard added. “He is effusive, he is such a positive person. He is effusive in his praise for the people on that sat. But now the numbers are coming back, and this is something that McAfee couldn’t have expected.”
Executive producer Mike Ruiz chimed in saying that a contributing factor in the changing conditions at GameDay is due to the mass layoffs and non-renewals of more expensive talent over the last couple years. He said there was going to be a natural need to switch things up after cutting ties with the likes of Pollack, Tom Rinaldi, and Chris “The Bear” Fallica.
“The format of the show when you take someone like that, you’re changing it,” Ruiz said. “You’re changing the emotional stories that made you cry in advance of a Purdue/Ohio State game. All that stuff starts going away. And now it’s not just going away, some of that stuff is going to FOX.”
Dan Le Batard responded saying he wasn’t trying to blame Pat McAfee for Big Noon Kickoff closing the gap on GameDay and negative fan feedback. But all of a sudden now that FOX can tout its pregame show continuing to grow and be a successful alternative to ESPN’s product, the narrative shifts.
“I always say perception is not reality, but when all you have is perception and fudged numbers, FOX is saying, ‘We’ve caught College GameDay. We’ve caught one of the most popular shows in the history of sports television,'” Le Batard said.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.