Reality television
Documentary series
Developed byHBO Sports
NFL Films
StarringBaltimore Ravens (2001)
Dallas Cowboys (2002)
Kansas City Chiefs (2007)
Dallas Cowboys (2008)
Cincinnati Bengals (2009)
New York Jets (2010)
Miami Dolphins (2012)
Narrated byLiev Schreiber (2001-2002 & 2008-present)
Paul Rudd (2007)
Composer(s)Dave Robidoux
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons7
No. of episodes37
(6 in 2001, 6 in 2002, and 5 in each season from 2007 on)
Executive producer(s)Steve Sabol
Rick Bernstein
Ross Greenburg
Producer(s)Ken Rodgers
Keith Cossrow
Running time~55 minutes (commercial-free)
Original channelHBO
Picture format480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Audio formatStereo
Dolby Digital 5.1
Original run2001 (2001) – present
External links

Hard Knocks is a reality sports documentary television series produced by NFL Films and HBO. First shown in 2001, there have been seven seasons, with the most recent airing in 2012. Each season has followed a single National Football League (NFL) team through its training camp and covered the team's preparation for the upcoming football season.

The series has shown the personal and family lives of the players, coaches and staff, as well as competition for places on the roster, and inside jokes and pranks. It has particularly focused on rookies' adjustments to playing in the NFL, usually with emphasis on the team's most recent top draft pick, and on undrafted or journeyman players trying to secure a job.

The series has been narrated by Liev Schreiber since 2001, with the exception of the 2007 season, which was narrated by Paul Rudd. The NFL and HBO have called Hard Knocks "the first sports-based reality series".[1][2]


File:Liev Schreiber 2012.jpg

Baltimore Ravens (2001)Edit

Some of the issues covered in the 2001 Ravens season include:

Dallas Cowboys (2002)Edit

Some of the issues covered in the 2002 Cowboys season include:

Kansas City Chiefs (2007)Edit

File:Paul Rudd LF.JPG

The series returned on August 8, 2007, featuring the Kansas City Chiefs and their preparations for the 2007 season.[3] It was narrated by actor Paul Rudd, a Chiefs fan.

Some of the issues covered in the 2007 Chiefs season include:

Dallas Cowboys (2008)Edit

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:

Cincinnati Bengals (2009)Edit

The Cincinnati Bengals season premiered on August 12, 2009.[4] Its ratings were higher than any previous season of Hard Knocks,[5] and it won two Sports Emmy Awards: one for Outstanding Edited Sports Series or Anthology, and one for Outstanding Post Produced Audio / Sound.[6]

Some of the issues covered in the 2009 Bengals season include:

New York Jets (2010)Edit

The New York Jets were chronicled in the series' sixth season. An official announcement was made on March 25, 2010,[7] 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.[8] The Jets declined another opportunity to appear in the series in 2011.[9]

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.[11] 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.

Miami Dolphins (2012)Edit

On May 29, 2012, Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin announced that the Dolphins would participate in the 2012 season of Hard Knocks.[12]

Some of the issues covered in the 2012 Dolphins season include:

Similar productionsEdit

Inside Training Camp: Jaguars SummerEdit

In 2004, NFL Films produced a series similar to Hard Knocks that featured the Jacksonville Jaguars. Called "Inside Training Camp: Jaguars Summer",[18] It covered the Jaguars' training camp in preparation for their 2004 season. It aired only on the NFL Network and was narrated by frequent NFL Films narrator Robb Webb.[19]

Some of the issues covered in this series include:

  • Jack Del Rio's second season as a head coach following a disappointing debut in 2003.
  • The development of rookie wide receiver Reggie Williams, the Jaguars' only first-round draft pick of 2004.


  1. HBO Sports, NFL Films and Miami Dolphins join forces for “Hard Knocks: Training Camp With The Miami Dolphins” debuting August 7 - NFL Communications
  2. HBO: Hard Knocks: About the Show
  3. Chiefs to be featured in HBO's "Hard Knocks" this summer, June 2, 2007.
  4. Bengals home on HBO
  5. Sabol: Best "Hard Knocks" Ever by Geoff Hobson,, September 9, 2009.
  6. "Hard Knocks" earns two Emmys
  7. Jets Sign On to Star in HBO's "Hard Knocks"
  8. The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Announces Winners of 32nd Annual Sports Emmy Awards
  9. Bigger Threat to the New England Patriots in the AFC East: New York Jets or Buffalo Bills?
  10. HBO Hard Knocks: Full Rex Ryan Snack Speech
  11. No NFL team taking "Hard Knocks" -
  12. Miami Dolphins will be on HBO's "Hard Knocks"
  13. Ryan Tannehill named Dolphins' starting quarterback
  14. David Garrard's absence clears up Dolphins' QB race
  15. David Garrard released by Miami Dolphins
  16. Farrar, Doug. "Chad Johnson’s Dolphins release makes for tough, emotional “Hard Knocks”". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
  17. Dolphins trade Vontae Davis to Colts for draft picks
  18. Jacksonville Jaguars 2004 Season Preview by Mike Cowan, September 4, 2004.
  19. "NFL Canada > NFL Network: On-air talent". Retrieved August 29, 2012. "Inside Training Camp: Jaguars Summer > Rob [sic] Webb: Narrator"

External linksEdit

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