According to multiple sources, the Miami Dolphins have been chosen to take part in the 2012 season of HBO’s Hard Knocks. Head coach Joe Philbin made the announcement at a press conference this afternoon.
The Dolphins are almost certainly not HBO’s first choice for the show (there were rumors that the Jets–with the Tim Tebow circus in town–and the Broncos–with Peyton Manning–both turned down the opportunity). In fact, there was a period when it sounded like the Jacksonville Jaguars were the only NFL team that actually wanted to be on the show.
Hard Knocks, of course, follows an NFL team as it works through training camp and the preseason. Many NFL teams are reluctant to have such a private time put on display for the country to see. For many coaches, the preseason is a time for team bonding and the presence of cameras is to be avoided at all costs.
The Dolphins may not be the most compelling franchise in the NFL at the moment, but they do have some interesting storylines going into the 2012 NFL season. The team spent an early first-round pick on quarterback Ryan Tannehill, a converted wide receiver, and it will be interesting to see whether he can win the starting job in camp.
New head coach Joe Philbin will surely be featured prominently. He comes to the Dolphins after serving as the offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers. Though he described the team’s involvement with the show as a “football decision,” it’s hardly something the Packers would have any intererest in. You have to wonder whether Philbin’s arm may have been twisted here.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross may be the real reason this team will be on the show. The Dolphins have struggled to remain relevant in a Miami market that features the Miami Heat and basketball’s “big three,” as well as a resurgent Miami Marlins franchise with a brand-new stadium and some high-priced free agents.