April 29, 2009
At some point, you'd think the Cincinnati Bengals would try to distance itself from the lawless, freewheeling image the team has developed over the past decade. Dozens of arrests, team discord and front-office incompetence has made Cincy the butt of many a joke in NFL circles. (Q: Two Cincinnati Bengals are in a car. Who's driving? A: The cop.) But the Bengals seem to be going in the exact opposite direction. First, they draft a veritable who's-who of character problems last weekend. Now comes reports that the Bengals may invite HBO to training camp for the latest version of the network's training camp reality series "Hard Knocks". Great idea, guys. That'd be like owning a circus and then inviting another circus to set up inside the tent.
For HBO, this is a no-brainer. The Bengals are like a soap opera, except that instead of love triangles and paternity tests, the team features DUI arrests and egomaniacal receivers (OK, maybe paternity tests too). I mean, between Tank Johnson, Chris Henry and Frostee Rucker, HBO may need to get clearance to film in Cincinnati-area detention centers. Luckily, the network already has some experience in that area, having produced the prison drama "Oz" for seven years.
There are other great, non-prison storylines out there too: Carson Palmer trying to regain his footing as one of the game's great quarterbacks, Andre Smith attempting to put his draft experience behind him, Chad Ochocinco existing, the presence of Dhani Jones (a guy who loves the camera almost as much as the camera loves him) and, at the top, Mike Brown and Marvin Lewis as the bumbling duo trying to make sense of it all.
Come to think of it, this might be a better idea for a sitcom than a reality show. All it needs is a wacky neighbor to liven up the proceedings. I'm looking in your direction, Michael Vick.
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