Chargers GM Calls Hard Knocks ‘Fake’ & ‘A Joke’

HBO’s latest doco on an NFL team in training camp commences August 12. This year, the Cincinnati Bengals have agreed to the net’s preseason prying eyes, joining past participants Baltimore, Dallas (twice) and Kansas City.

The Real Bengals Reality Show

(Handy Money Saving Tip: HBO Can Co-op Camera Cost With Coppers!)

Embattled Bengals coach Marvin Lewis apparently pushed to be featured on the show, and incompetent team Owner Mike Brown concurred, telling Joe Kay of the SACRAMENTO BEE:

“We did it to reach out to fans across the country who know us only by reports,” Brown said this week. “Now they’ll see us close-up. We think that will give us a chance to set the record straight with them. It’s a risk, perhaps, but it has a lot of opportunity for us.”

“Only know us by reports”? Is “reports” code for “standings”?  Or “police blotter”? Then I guess I can’t blame Brown for wanting to buff up his image. And appropriately for the Owner, the desired public makeover will have nothing to do with winning. Handy!

I’m thinking this could be the last year of the show, as more and more teams have declined advances from HBO and co-Producer NFL Films. Why? Well, it might have something to do with clubs not wanting constant Camp distraction - along with an errant Editor revealing possible team secrets in the final cut.

Those weren’t concerns though of A.J. Smith, General Manager of the San Diego Chargers. This week on San Diego sports radio, Smith savaged the show’s actual content, calling it “fake”, “phony” and “a joke”. And as you might surmise, Smith also made clear that the Bolts never entertained the possibility of doing the show.

Smith’s complete comments and audio after the jump.

Smith this week on XX 1090am Darren Smith’s Padres pregame show (audio link):

A.J. Smith: “I just think it’s a tremendous distraction. … I think it’s fake. I think it’s phony. I think it’s a put on. I think it’s basically a motion picture…the fake phone call conversation, the fake chatter, the whole thing is a joke. Dean Spanos said it was my call, and I made it very quickly.”

Darren Smith: “So in other words you’re not a fan of the show.”

A.J. Smith: “I’m a fan of (NFL Films president) Steve Sabol and everything he does, but that particular segment to get ready for a football season, it’s beyond my comprehension.”

Funny, when I think of former Ravens coach Brian Billick, former Chiefs President Carl Peterson, Bengals Owner Brown, and Jerry Jones, who were all instrumental in getting their teams cast on HBO’s show, the words “fake”, “phony”, and “a joke” also come to mind.

A complete coincidence, of course.