For millions and millions of fans, tonight is a big night for watching TV, because HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’ debuts for the ’15 season. As the show follows the Texans and chronicles J.J. Watt, Bill O’Brien and the team’s hunt for a starting quarterback, there will be plenty of fans glued to their sets.
But if you read this blog regularly, I’m telling you to DVR tonight’s episode of ‘Hard Knocks’ and watch ‘The Agent‘ instead. Here’s why:
- Readers of this blog are interested in the game behind the game. I think you’re going to see that in both shows, but ‘The Agent’ is solely focused on people who are ‘working without a net.’ In other words, an NFL team and its players are established, mainstream, powerful. On the other hand, the four principals in tonight’s show are out there taking chances, living ‘on the fly’ and facing tremendous consequences if they fail.
- If you’re a fan of ‘Hard Knocks,’ you’re probably not going to see anything new tonight. The characters will change and the logo on the side of the helmet will be different, but the template is pretty embedded. You’ll see the contrast between the first-rounders and the undrafted players fighting for reps; the superstars and how they live, off the field; and eventually, the injuries, cuts, promotions and other things that are the essence of training camp. With ‘The Agent,’ there is no template. You’ll see everything from another angle.
- If you watch ‘The Agent,’ you’ll get to know the players before they’re stars, and that’s pretty exciting. In just tonight’s episode, four highly touted members of the 2015 draft class are introduced, including Falcons second-round RB Tevin Coleman (73 overall). In the coming weeks, you’ll get to know Raiders DE Mario Edwards (drafted in the second round last spring), Ravens OLB Za’Darius Smith (fourth round) and several other players, some of whom signed with the four agents featured, and some who didn’t.
- I expect quite a bit of conversation on social media regarding ‘The Agent,’ and I think it will be educational and thought-provoking. We’ll be part of that conversation. I think that’s important. My gut feeling is that the tenor of the conversation on Twitter regarding ‘Hard Knocks’ tonight will be mostly from hard-core Texans fans. While that’s fun and can be entertaining, it’s different from those who are trying to ‘move the football’ (sorry) in their own professional lives.
I think if you watch ‘The Agent’ tonight, you’re going to learn something about the game, and about the business of the game, that you wouldn’t otherwise know. I hope you’ll join me in tuning in tonight.