LOCKOUT LAND – Falcon general manager Thomas Dimitroff was interviewed on SiriusXMNFL radio Friday morning and for the first time he did not summarily rule out the team being featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks.
The sports documentary chronicles the team’s training camp. Last season, the New York Jets were featured and Rex Ryan expanded most folks vocabulary and taught viewers “How to play like a Jet.” In 2009, the Cincinnati Bengals were featured and they went on to win the AFC North. Click here to watch some episodes from last season.
The Falcons are pleased with the development and maturation of the team. If asked again, they’ll be in a better position to say “yes.”
Near the end of the interview that was mostly about how the Falcons have embraced technology, my buddy Alex Marvez (you can follow him at @AlexMarvez on twitter.com) asked Dimitroff about Hard Knocks.
“I truly believe that an organization has to be in the right spot to jump into something like Hard Knocks,” Dimitroff said. “I think it sheds a lot of light on our league. This is a league of entertainment. There are some traditionalists that struggle with it, but they have to work against the grain a little bit and see that this is about entertainment. Hard Knocks is a good show for the fan base.”
This is a major shift in the organization’s thinking.
“Two years ago we were approached and decided that it wasn’t right for us at that point,” Dimitroff said. “That’s not to say we wouldn’t go down that road if it was presented to us at another time. We are much closer to being in that spot where it’s not
going to be as much of a distraction as it would have been another time.
“It’s such an individual thing. Hard Knocks could be right for some of the teams that are fairly entrenched. It could be right for some team that wants to kick off some more brand recognition.”
Because of the lockout and uncertainty of how training camp will evolve this season, accepting an invite will be a dicey proposition for the 2011 season.
“I believe that would add to the trickiness of it,” Dimitroff said. “But if you have things in order and you have an organization that is very prepared, I think it can be managed.”
In the interview, Dimitroff talked about the team’s heart monitor program, the biomechanical scouting of Julio Jones, game preparation and mixed martial arts training. He insisted that the Falcons will continue to find ways to integrate new technology into their athletic performance department.
“I know there are teams in the NBA, and we may want to do this, who are using GPS as far as monitoring the movement on the field or the basketball court,” Dimitroff said. “That’s another frontier that I think can be very valuable going forward.”
So, do y’all think the Falcons should accept an invitation from HBO to appear on Hard Knocks? (My vote is yes) Who would be the star of the show? (Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder gets my vote.) Will you all be embarrassed when ATL Real Housewife Kim Zolciak shows up with the baby to cheer on Kroy Biermann? (No, so long as she doesn’t sing) What if the cameras follow the players on a secret team-building trip to Magic City or the Cheetah? (Um, no comment here!)
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog