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Hard Knocks In Season: The Arizona Cardinals Premiere

by Travlis Hallingquest
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The Arizona Cardinals hold a lackluster 3-5 record at the start of this season of HARD KNOCKS IN SEASON. With nine games remaining, the team must find a way to have a winning season to be a contender for the playoffs. Despite the engaging premise of following NFL hopefuls through the preseason of HARD KNOCKS, this reviewer finds HARD KNOCKS IN SEASON to be far more engaging. The format of both HBO Sports programming is nearly identical, but gridiron action is far more electric during the actual season. Episode 1 opens with the Cardinals walking off the field after falling short to the Minnesota Vikings. Once settled in the locker room, most players sit in frustrated but quiet solitude. One player breaks the deafening silence by slamming his helmet into the expensive carpet of the locker room.

HardKnocksInSeason-CardinalsPremiere_Pic1-300x184The Cardinals face the same obstacles that all professional teams encounter: injuries, motivation lapses, and scandal. Regarding the latter issue, Wide Receiver DeAndre Hopkins missed the first six games of the season due to violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drugs usage policy. Hopkins takes full responsibility for the infraction and his team has long forgiven and is ready to win games. Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury used his NFL coaches salary to find a house that is aesthetically pleasing and inspirational. The house boasts an open floor plan, enormous light-trapping windows, and a view of a beautiful Arizona mountain range. During a rainy afternoon, Coach Kingsbury has the team practice through the downpour. Although the Detroit Lions have HARD KNOCK’s most intense practice session (a gut-wrenching never-ending training session), this was a sight well captured by NFL and HBO film crews.

The production value of the series is further showcased while taking a flight with franchise owner Michael Bidwell, while he pilots his private plane from Washington DC to Northwest Phoenix. After departing his plane, Bidwell drives his Tesla Model S to State Farm Stadium for the game against the Seattle Seahawks. The security procedures for entering the VIP parking areas of an NFL schedule are captured: Even owners and players have to open their trunks and hoods to enter.  Safety first

HardKnocksInSeason-CardinalsPremiere_Pic2Now to the apex of the episode, let’s discuss the loss to the 6-3 Seahawks. Despite a few good plays, the Cardinals indeed make a few playing errors: the quarterback fumbles on a scramble, and the defense allows a few of the opposition’s drives to unfold too smoothly. However, the referees failed to call offensive interference on a clear push from a Seahawks Wide Receiver on Safety Budda Baker. Baker is the most energetic and motivational member of the team. The guy is seen several times giving pep talks to the point of him breaking down in tears. Although heart is a critical component of any winning organization, if an opposing team has more talent, then most likely chance and circumstance are on their side.
HARD KNOCKS IN SEASON will air every Wednesday at 8pm ET on HBO until the season ends for the Arizona Cardinals.  Will that be at the end of the 17th game or in the playoffs?  Time will tell.

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