SPARTANBURG When the Miami Dolphins arrive at Bank of America Stadium for Fridays exhibition game, theyll have a 28-person film crew in tow.
Its as close to the Panthers locker room as HBOs Hard Knocks crew figures to get.
The popular NFL reality program, back after a post-lockout hiatus last summer, is following the Dolphins first training camp under coach Joe Philbin. HBO, in conjunction with NFL Films, gets unrestricted access to the Dolphins meeting rooms, training areas, living quarters and practice fields.
With a telegenic quarterback in Cam Newton and a team on the rise, the Panthers would seem to be an attractive target for a future season of Hard Knocks.
Not happening, veteran linebacker James Anderson said Monday.
The Panthers would likely pass on Hard Knocks for the same reasons they werent interested in signing Randy Moss, Plaxico Burress or Chad Johnson, whose domestic battery arrest and subsequent release was fodder for this weeks show, which airs Tuesday night on HBO.
The Panthers are a franchise that does not like distractions. Having a film crew shoot 1,200 hours of behind-the-scenes footage at Wofford some summer would qualify as a major one.
Asked if he would consider letting the Hard Knocks cameras in, Panthers coach Ron Rivera said: Nope. I dont think it suits us right now, and we wont worry about that.
Anderson said the Panthers might consider a Hard Knocks appearance somewhere down the line (read: after general manager Marty Hurney retires).
But the way we run things around here, first-class, I dont think that will be a serious option for this franchise, Anderson said. The show gives you an inside look at football. But it also brings some level of distraction, whether you agree or disagree. Wed just rather go about doing our business and handling football.
Panthers defensive tackle Ron Edwards was with Kansas City in 2007 when the Chiefs appeared on Hard Knocks. Edwards said he grew accustomed to the crew and producers hanging around the facilities all the time.
I really didnt notice it, Edwards said. Its just cameras. Youre used to it anyway. Youre used to the cameras being on you during the games.
But the Hard Knocks cameras are there to capture everything on and off the field, from the contract holdouts of Larry Johnson (Kansas City, 2007) and Andre Smith (Cincinnati, 2009) to Rex Ryans explicit sound bites in 2010.
Its tough because once you allow cameras in a room, nothing is secret, Anderson said. The whole world gets to view whether youre getting fussed at for a play or whatever you do, the whole world knows now. So thats just something you have to weigh.
Edwards recalls being filmed playing the bass guitar in the Chiefs players lounge a shot that wound up on air. Edwards saw a clip of the scene on YouTube; he doesnt watch Hard Knocks.
Neither does Panthers linebacker Jordan Senn. In fact, Senn doesnt like his wife, Noor, to watch it, either.
Too stressful. Its enough stress to go through it, let alone watch some other guys go through it and getting cut and released, Senn said. And see the way guys get talked to in meetings. When people arent used to it, theyre like, Whoa. But were used to it. You know thats not personal. But if you were watching it, sometimes youre like, Wow, that sounds a little personal.
Rivera doesnt like being micd by NFL Films for three-hour games, let alone five weeks of the preseason.
Its something Id rather not go through, Rivera said.
This is the second time in three years that Hard Knocks has come to Charlotte. The HBO/NFL Films crew was at Bank of America Stadium two years ago with the Jets for an exhibition game.
Some teams and some guys like that attention, Anderson added. They like what that does for your team because it keeps you accountable for one thing, because someones always watching you. But some teams would rather not even deal with it.