HBO’s pre-season, documentary mini-series takes viewers deep into the NFL training camps and practice games of probable Super Bowl contenders. For the past six years, voyeuristic football have laid witness to a part of the game that doesn’t make it out on the field on Sunday or Monday nights. Hard Knocks gives viewers another angle by which to view the competitiveness and raw athleticism inherent to the sport, but the program also lets one see the mental, physical, and emotional pressure which hours of drills, watching tape, memorizing playbooks, and dealing with contract negotiations and roster cuts can levy on both players and coaches alike.
It’s great. The only bad part is it’s only three to six episodes long. Its brevity leaves an opening for another behind-the-scenes NFL program to kick off the regular season where Hard Knocks ends.
Enter NFL.com’s The Season: A 2010 NFL Biography. The 12-part original web series is another behind-the-scenes football documentary focused on what you can’t find in between the sidelines, presented by business management software solutions provider, SAP. In histrionic tones, the voice over promises to take viewers where none have been before, “from the first kickoff to the final whistle; the fifty-yard line to the upper deck; and the training room to the board room.”
The first stop for The Season is at Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs. The NFL cameras capture the energy of 80,000 fans dressed in red and make a compelling argument for how body paint, beer, and noise and lead a team to victory. But what makes Chiefs fans and their stadium so unique as to warrant them the subject matter for the program’s premiere? Showing off Kansas City’s recent $375 million stadium renovation probably figured into the NFL’s calculus.
The Season isn’t the first NFL web series to debut this season. Canon and the NFL women’s apparel department launched Beyond the Sidelines earlier this year. The web series (not to be confused with the VH1 TV show) showcases the women behind some of football’s most famous men, how they stay happy, active, and fit, and how they do it all while wearing NFL licensed merchandise.