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'Hard Knocks' is back, and it's boring

Eleven seasons in, the NFL's reality show has become as stale as one of Jeff Fisher's 7-9 teams.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Fisher knows he's not been a very good NFL coach lately, though I'm sure he wouldn't admit that it's his fault if his postgame pressers after a stinging overtime loss to the Jim Tomsula-coached 49ers are any indication. On the season premiere of Hard KnocksFisher temporarily became self-aware of his reputation for 7-9 seasons.

"I'm not f------ going 7-9 or 8-8 or 9-7, OK? Or 10-6 for that matter. This team's too talented. I'm not going to settle for that. I know what I'm doing."

Uhhh, coach, have you seen the offense you've committed to this season? It's virtually a carbon copy of the one that couldn't muster 18 points a game last year.

Yeah, like I said, self-aware.

But exposing a delusional head coach isn't enough to make good television. The problem with Hard Knocks isn't the Rams; it's the show itself. Eleven seasons into it, the show's stale.

Practicing football is still just a day job. The real entertainment value, the thing we watch it for in the first place, happens on game day. There's more than enough drama to keep you glued to your sets then. Filming training camp is like taking a documentary crew to work with you. Eventually, the novelty fades. Daily routines are dull to watch. People get more guarded, especially football coaches. It's intrusive and a distraction, and that's why most coaches would rather not be a part of the show.

Worse, it just gets boring. We've seen the same plots play out for 11 seasons now. There's nothing new to see here. Hard Knocks feels especially dated this time around in the wake of this summer's other NFL reality show, All or Nothing. That show followed the ups and downs of a team throughout a season, a winning season. Even if you're not a Cardinals fan, you're instantly more invested in the subject. It's compelling because there are things on the line. It's not just practice.

But at least we now have video of Fisher saying "I'm not fuckin' going 7-9." That'll come in handy in December.


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