The third time was the charm concerning HBO’s award-winning documentary series “Hard Knocks.”
The Falcons’ football side won in 2009 and 2012, when the franchise turned down opportunities to appear on the show. This time, when HBO came knocking, the business side won.
The Falcons, who are trying to bounce back from a difficult 4-12 season, will make their first appearance on the show, with the first episode to air Aug. 5.
While the football-operations folks have opposed appearing on the show, team owner Arthur Blank and the business folks see being on the show as a major “branding” opportunity for the franchise. The five-part series on the Bengals in August averaged 3.6 million viewers per episode.
The team won’t receive any compensation from HBO for appearing on the show.
The Falcons are valued at $933 million, according to Forbes.com, which ranks 26th in the 32-team league.
“We are excited about the opportunity to give our fans a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to prepare an NFL team for the rigors of a 16-game regular season and beyond,” Blank said.
Falcons coach Mike Smith was not a big fan of the show. When with Baltimore as an assistant coach he went to great lengths to avoid the HBO cameras. He apparently has changed his tune.
“The series will give fans a behind-the-scenes look at the competition between players as we build our roster and prepare for the season,” Smith said.
Minicamp open: The Falcons’ mandatory minicamp will be open to the public Tuesday and Wednesday.
The practices are set for 3:30-5:20 p.m. each day.
Southward signed: The Falcons signed safety Dezmen Southward, their third-round draft pick, to a four-year contract.
The team has now signed all nine draft picks. The Falcons also signed free-agent kicker Sergio Castillo.
Texans scheduled: The Falcons’ revamped offensive line will face a test early in training camp when the team travels to hold two practices against the Houston Texans before playing them in an exhibition game Aug. 16.
The Falcons and the Texans will have joint training-camp practices Aug. 13 and Aug. 14.
It will mark the first time the Texans and the Falcons have held joint training-camp practices. Under Smith, the Falcons have held joint practices with Cincinnati, Tennessee, New England and Jacksonville.