Our Dream of 'Hard Knocks'

Cameras start rolling. The crew is ready to film. Mics are on Rex Ryan, the coaching staff, and dotted among players on the field tucked into their shoulder pads. We’ve stumbled upon day one of HBO’s “Hard Knocks” featuring the Buffalo Bills training camp at St. John Fisher College. 

Large gold and black painted trucks with the words “NFL Films” lay together whirring with cooling fans within the confines of a parking lot adjacent to the St. John Fisher Growney stadium.  Bills spectators aren’t allowed yet to watch practices, just the handful of lenses, hundreds of producers, writers, technicians and other staffers for now.

Because of it’s previous year’s success with the Houston Texans, the acclaimed “real reality” television program Hard Knocks chose the Buffalo Bills as their next spotlight NFL team to shed insight on what goes on at the liberal arts college every July to August.  While the players practice day-to-day and try not to notice the plethora of extra equipment, interviews are done, speeches are recorded and many Bills personnel are wired for sound. 

As to why the HBO program chose the small market that is Buffalo, we may not know, but for now we begin the process of uncovering secrets behind locker room doors and gain laces of information that is rarely observed during yearly training camps. There is always buzz generated around training camp, and with this new scope on the Bills the swarm of bees has turned into a stampede of Bison because this team is gaining a national spotlight not recently as well known.

Coming off of a successful season under Rex Ryan, the Bills hope to keep up the energy; however becoming a part of a yearly documentary series definitely jolts a new life into the Buffalo hopefuls. The daily practice processes have now become livelier, chatter is at an all-time high among players, and the surrounding WNY area fans are glowing with pride to be seen from space at the time that the season starts. 

Filming will last until roughly 300 hours are shot during the camp, which will then be compiled into just a couple of episodes edited in New Jersey.  Many WNY theatres are already planning on promoting their screening parties for the television series beginning, as are local restaurants. The national football interest has finally turned to the Buffalo Bills, and Rex Ryan is relishing it.

Coming to a television near you soon, at least we hope so.