Takeaways From HBO 'Hard Knocks'
Season 14 Premiere
HBO's Hard Knocks highlights the cutthroat nature of the NFL. For every armchair analyst and PFT commenter, this is pigskin porn. From locker-room dynamics to contract negotiations etc., Hard Knocks delves into the intricacies of a league infamously known as Not For Long. On Tuesday night, the series returned, scratching the itch for us football addicts, as cameras followed the league's most interesting franchise entering 2019: The Oakland Raiders. You won't get more personality from top to bottom on any professional sports team. The debut did not disappoint.
Raiders head coach Gruden said, “he wasn’t into dreams, he was into fucking nightmares.” I’m ready to run through a fucking wall for that guy. We knew he’d be good, but this good? Stop it. Best Hard Knocks intro ever.
Float like a butterfly, sting like AB. If you don’t get pumped watching Antonio Brown Antonio Brown, then we don’t bleed the same blood, cousin. That’s winner’s blood, boul. Pure, unadulterated,
I didn’t know if I liked Jonathan Abram at first when he sang “Old Town Road” upon arriving to the vineyard for some horseback riding with first-round pick Clelin Ferrell. Nothing against Lil Nas X, but I can’t hear that song one more gain. It’s honestly like the song they play for you when you’re being detained against your will and brainwashed.
You know Gruden fucking loves Jonathan Abram, and the tone the rookie set from Day One. Of course, Gruden has to tell him to let up, because that’s not what you do without pads and this is not 1996, but gotdamnit, that’s why you invested a first-round pick in the guy. He’s there to smack shit. That’s what box safeties do. And he wasn’t lying when he said Gruden couldn’t cut him. As a first-rounder, he could take a shit on the field and still have a job.
I was pumped for Last Chance U’s Ronald Ollie when I heard he signed with the Raiders, and even more excited when I heard they’d be on Hard Knocks this year. That lasted about 20 minutes into the episode. As soon as they ran the scene with defensive line coach Brentson Buckner talking about having to coach players he didn’t want to, I knew it was over. He didn’t make the best impression on Last Chance U, and the cameras didn’t do him justice once again. Like any other profession, you are expected to grow up quickly in the NFL. As an undrafted rookie, you have to do everything and more to make the practice squad, let alone the 53-man roster. He quit when things got rough, feigning an injury and you can’t get by like that in the big-boy league. He’s got all the talent in the world, but the game is the game. As Hall of Fame safety Brian Dawkins once said, “the best ability is availability.”
Gruden asking Ethan Westbrooks if No. 63 was the ugliest number he ever wore was cold, man. It’s the truth. Westbrooks has always worn ugly numbers, though. Look back at his days with the Rams. Also, shoutout to Ethan for getting the face tat so he wouldn’t have to work a regular job again and then actually making it happen. Put that shit into the air.
Thanks for the cameo, Gerald. We’re glad Raiders camp is dope.
Now Guy Fieri that’s a fucking guy. He’s Richie’s guy. He’s my guy. He’s your guy. He’s the food guy. Let’s fucking rock dudes.
Lol at the idea that Antonio Brown isn’t a team player. First of all, he’s the hardest working guy in the industry. Secondly, he pays it forward every summer by working out with everyone from high school players to the unpaid professionals slaving for institutions. The dude does nothing more than work hard and produce. You can deal with the other shit when a guy brings it everyday and elevates your team. His teammates also like him despite what people may think. This is a business first, my friends. (Lol at the frozen feet from cryo, it’ll probably be a massive part of episode 2).
Richie Incognito reinventing himself via Hard Knocks is hilarious. He’s not that different from the average psychotic 15-year-old, and problematic doesn’t begin to describe Incognito. Let’s see how this experiment in Oakland lasts. It’s honestly a perfect fit. I don’t hate Richie at all, but I don’t trust Richie. You feel me?
If you played pee wee football, you’ve heard a coach explain the history of the 7-man sled. As the legendary John Madden said, that’s how you start off practice no matter the position. It’s part of football and part of life. Bring back the sled for all 32 teams.
During my lone season of stealing money on Lehigh University’s football team, we did the alumni event where current players interact with guys from the past. I’ll tell you this. Every team should partake in this tradition. It’s a great way to network and start preparing for life after football and creates a familial environment throughout the organization. Al Davis has to be proud of the culture his son’s upholding.