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News » Team needs HBO series to polish image

Team needs HBO series to polish image

Team needs HBO series to polish image
years, NFL Films has wanted to probe the Cincinnati Bengals .

Like a surgeon, NFL Films president Steve Sabol sought to cut open the franchise, dig around and discover what makes it tick before sewing it up.

The object of his affection, of course, is Paul Brown, the Pro Football Hall of Fame coach of the Cleveland Browns (1946-62) who founded the Bengals in 1968 and coached them from 1968-75.

But Sabol was rebuffed time and time again by the Bengals' intensely-private owner Mike Brown, who relishes the spotlight about as much as actors enjoy close-ups of their acne.

Paul Brown's name adorns the Bengals' stadium, but Mike guards his father's memory like a Doberman. Come any closer and it's "Sic 'em!"

So for many followers of the team, it's stunning, even shocking news that Mike Brown would allow the Bengals to be featured on HBO's "Hard Knocks" series in 2009. HBO, NFL Films and the Bengals announced details on Thursday, May 14.


* A 24-person crew - technicians, producers, videographers and announcers - invades Georgetown College for training camp on July 30 when players and coaches arrive on the central Kentucky campus.

* NFL Films will have an all-access "pass" to practice, meetings, dorm rooms, locker room, weight room, training room and cafeteria as it amasses more than 1,000 hours of video for the "docu-reality" series, which is designed to give fans a behind-the-scenes look at training camp.

* The five-show series begins airing Aug. 12 and ends Sept. 9, just before the opening weekend of the 2009 NFL regular season.

My gut tells me the Bengals originally didn't want to embrace this venture, but they needed to because they desperately want to polish their tarnished image.

The Bengals are considered losers - one playoff berth in the past 18 seasons - and perceived as criminals. "Hard Knocks" will show a long-suffering team on the rise comprised of mostly good guys.

Maybe that famous Bill Veeck line - "There's no such thing as bad publicity as long as they spell your name right" - is sinking in to Mike Brown's brain.

Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2253 or cludwig@DaytonDailyNews.com

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 15, 2009

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