Four Reasons The Rams are Perfect for HBO's Hard Knocks

Categories: Rams

See also: Michael Sam and the Rise of the Gay Athlete

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Rams head coach Jeff Fisher.
3. Hard Knocks is the right kind of "distraction."

Fisher's concern over "distractions" halted the Michael Sam documentary series on Oprah's TV network, but "distractions" is usually a word NFL coaches use when they simply don't want to deal with the media. There's little reason to believe that adding an outside camera crew to the mix would hurt the Rams' chances on the field. Over the past eight seasons of Hard Knocks, four of the subject teams made it to the playoffs during the ensuing season.

Indeed, NFL teams are increasingly isolating and managing its players. Press conferences and interviews are stilted, soundbite-filled affairs from athletes who are taught to distrust reporters. In reality, If Fisher wants to whip his men into shape, cameras won't stop him. If a player hates the cameras, like the Bengals' James Harrison did last year, that's great too. It's just another human side of football we'd never get to see outside of Hard Knocks.

See also: Michael Sam Protesters Boycott St. Louis Rams, Visa While Supporters Start Online "Kiss-In

4. Michael Sam.

Of course, the "distraction" Fisher is most concerned about is rookie defensive end Michael Sam, whose sexual orientation brought heavy scrutiny, hand-wringing and homophobic tweets to the team's doorstep. That scrutiny doesn't appear to be weakening anytime soon.

Which is why the NFL should let the cameras in. Drafting Sam wasn't a knee-jerk decision from Fisher or Rams owner Stan Kroenke; they picked Sam for his football value. But players such as Sam -- raw but talented, filled with potential -- are exactly the kind of players Hard Knocks excels at profiling. Each of the show's seasons are filled with guys similar to Mizzou's favorite son: Sixth and seventh round picks and undrafted free agents who are simply trying to prove they belong on a team, let alone starting a game.

To be blunt, it's very possible Sam won't make the Rams' active roster, and even if he does he'll likely wind up on special-teams duty or the practice squad. So instead of letting his journey play out behind the overly managed facade of the Rams' media handlers, why not let the public in? Why not let Sam the football player show us what he's got on the field?

Hard Knocks grants the NFL an opportunity to show us a side of football that's above macho aphorisms or fantasy-sports statistics, and we want to see that side of the Rams. As for Sam, the league's first openly gay player doesn't need any more protection or hiding. He's ready.

Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at Danny.Wicentowski@RiverfrontTimes.com

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17 comments
David Biernbaum
David Biernbaum

I would prefer they not have the distraction. I'd rather they concentrate on having a good season.

Dan Blake
Dan Blake

First, David Ames, that was awesome. 2nd hard knocks show is a terrible idea. When's the last time that show resulted in success for the team? That show will not benefit the RAMS in any way and will only serve as another unwanted and more importantly unnecessary distraction. Even if it was to highlight the rams and not exploit having an openly gay player on the team I would say it's a horrible idea. The RAMS are a legit up and coming team with one of the better defenses in the league (look it up, numbers don't lie, just "journalists"), and only need to focus on getting better!

David Ames
David Ames

Anyone that thinks the Rams suck is an idiot. They were extremely competitive in the best division in football. Don't worry we'll save room on the bandwagon you sorry excuses for local sports fans.

David Ames
David Ames

Nope. Can't wait for the season to start though. 78 days until the first Rams preseason game!

Benjamin Scherliss
Benjamin Scherliss

Per Jeff Fisher two days ago, it's all but certainty there will be no Hard Knocks here this year, by request to avoid distraction.

Jeep Naaked
Jeep Naaked

Tolle, Oprah don't bother me one bit. Neither does Hard Knocks. Come game day, they either bring it out not.

John Canham
John Canham

No cameras please! Fisher seems to feel the same way.

Scott Hoffmann
Scott Hoffmann

Is good for the profitability of the team, but not likely good for winning games

David Biernbaum
David Biernbaum

I don't think it's good for the team. I care more about winning.

Kevin McAlister
Kevin McAlister

No, would be no difference in camera crews...whether it be oprah or HBO...so no to one means no to both. Like coach Parcells used to say...we don't need celebrities playing football. .we need football players playing football.

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