The Houston Texans will be this year's featured team on HBO's "Hard Knocks."
The Houston Texans will be featured in this year's edition of HBO's "Hard Knocks."
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Jesse Clark of the Texans' official website confirmed the Texans' debut apperance on the popular mini-series in his May 27 update.
According to ESPN's Tania Ganguli, the Texans will be in Louisiana to join the New Orleans Saints for joint training camp practices this year. NFL Films supervising producer Ken Rodgers said part of this year's "Hard Knocks" will feature the Texans in New Orleans without the Saints being part of the plot.
Texans owner Bob McNair and general manager Rick Smith told The Houston Chronicle's Dale Robertson on Wednesday the team's "Hard Knocks" appearance bodes well for the franchise.
"We'll function as we always do," Smith told Robertson.
McNair told The Houston Chronicle it will be a great opportunity for football fans to see what the Texans are all about:
"The last year has not been the best year for public relations for the NFL. Our team has not had the kind of problems that have existed with many teams. I think it's a wonderful opportunity for the rest of the country to see that we've got a first-class group of players and coaches.
"This is the way we'd like to see the game presented. I think that it's something that will be very positive and not just for us but the league. I'm quite proud of our players and the way they do represent us."
For his part, HBO Sports president Ken Hershman told The Houston Chronicle's David Barron on May 27 the Texans' "Hard Knocks" debut couldn't have been timed any better:
"What makes the show special is the combination of a great franchise and great personalities and access so that we can pursue the storylines that are of most interest to our viewers. Houston has a lot of new high-impact players and a quarterback battle brewing, all the great elements you look for.
"You never know where stories will take us until we're in, which is the fun part of it. There are always surprises, twists and turns that you don't anticipate."
Three-time Pro Bowl defensive end J.J. Watt agrees. He also told The Houston Chronicle's John McClain on Wednesday Texans center Ben Jones will be one of the focal points of "Hard Knocks" during training camp:
"I think Ben's going to be a big winner. I think there'll be plenty of storylines following him because of his escapades -- some of the things that he eats, some of the things he does. Just Ben Jones being Ben Jones, so I think that'll be great.
"You're a little different between the lines than you are off the field. That's what makes great players great.
"I think you'll see a little bit different side. You may have to choose your vocabulary a little more wisely, though."
On the other hand, Robertson stresses it remains to be seen if Texans head coach Bill O'Brien will fully support this endeavor.
"O'Brien loathes intrusions and distractions even more than most coaches and the popular prime-time show," says Robertson.
McNair refuted the notion O'Brien is against the Texans appearing on "Hard Knocks," per The Houston Chronicle:
"We had discussions about it. The main thing is that we're not going to be doing anything that's going to give any of our opponents a competitive advantage and NFL Films understands this...I think we're all comfortable with (the decision).
"Bill's a great coach and a great personality."
Five one-hour long episodes will be aired beginning Aug. at 8 p.m. ET on HBO. Last year's "Hard Knocks" featuring the Atlanta Falcons averaged 3.6 million viewers per episode, per Clark.
"Hard Knocks" debuted in 2001 with the Baltimore Ravens as the featured team. Since then, the program has featured the Dallas Cowboys (2002, 2008), Kansas City Chiefs (2007), Cincinnati Bengals (2009, 2013), New York Jets (2010), Miami Dolphins (2012) and the Atlanta Falcons (2014), per Clark.
"Hard Knocks" has won 12 Sports Emmy Awards to date, per the Texans' official website.
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