HBO’s Hard Knocks Must Be Marvin Lewis’ Favorite Show

I remember the first season of Hard Knocks. It featured the defending champion Baltimore Ravens and their vaunted defenseand while Brian Billick was the head coach, Marvin Lewis was the man behind the defensive curtain. During the preseason running back Jamal Lewis suffered a season-ending knee injury. The next year Dallas missed the playoffs after a Hard Knocks appearance. Five years later, Hard Knocks returned, but the Chiefs followed their playoff campaign by enduring a long holdout from Larry Johnson, Trent Green's trade to the Dolphins and ultimately they finished with five fewer wins and a 4-12 record.

Jerry Jones' Cowboys made their HBO return in 2008 and in 2009, the Bengals invited the invasive Bengals cameras into their lives. Not only was it the highest-rated season, but their season won HBO a pair of Emmys. Cincy missed the playoffs and the Jets picked up the torch in 2010.

After last season's awkward Chad Johnson saga you'd think there would be a league-wide disdain for Hard Knocks. That's partly true. Every year, it gets increasingly more difficult for HBO to find franchises willing to deal with HBO's cameras. However, the Bengals aren't one of thise teams. The point is that the Hard Knocks is as real as the Superman curse. Just as Superman destroys the careers of anyone who dons the red cape, Hard Knocks does the same to entire teams. Marvin Lewis is the Teflon Don and apparently he believes third time is the charm.

After consecutive playoff seasons,  presumably Lewis would be one of the coaches less likely to invite the sort of scrutiny that comes with Hard Knocks' training camp distractions. However, the Bengals have announced that they will be featured on the next season of Hard Knocks.


The official announcement from HBO and the NFL is expected next week, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported. The Bengals also were featured in 2009.

There was little interest among teams in appearing on the popular reality series this year, with only one team other than the Bengals showing interest, the Enquirer said. Sources told ESPN last year that both the New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons declined to appear on the 2012 edition.

The Bengals went 10-6 in 2009 and won the AFC North. At the time, quarterback Carson Palmer and wide receiver Chad Johnson led the team. They have since been replaced by Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. Coach Marvin Lewis will be on the show for a third time (he made his first appearance as the Baltimore Ravens' defensive coordinator in 2001, the debut season). Only 13 current Bengals players were with the team in 2009, the Enquirer said.

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