An old truism states that it’s not about how you fall, it’s about how you get back up. And that, in a nutshell, is how you might describe the 2014 Atlanta Falcons.
Two seasons ago, the Falcons were a quarter away from Super Bowl XLVII before losing in the closing minutes of the NFC Championship game to the San Francisco 49ers.
A miserable 2013 followed, one that saw a slew of injuries to key players and subpar performances turn what should have been a Super Bowl season into a 4-12 campaign.
Now, they’re ready to get back to the business of winning, and HBO cameras are set to capture the story as it unfolds when “Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the Atlanta Falcons” premieres Tuesday, Aug. 5.
“One of the very large marketing initiatives in Atlanta is ‘Rise up,’ ” Ken Rodgers, senior coordinating producer for NFL Films, tells Zap2it. “And I think it’s very appropos. And I think that’s a story that’s going to play out both as a team thematically through the whole roster, but also individually, [where] there are individuals who are ready to rise up, whether it’s coming back from injury in the case of their wide receivers — Julio Jones and Roddy White — or rise back up from a tough season this year — an offensive lineman who had a rough year protecting Matt Ryan; they’ve focused on rising back up and meeting the challenge.”
And with so many having something to prove, there are no shortages of stories at the team’s training facilities in Flowery Branch, Ga. — some the “Hard Knocks” crew know about going in; others, they’ll cover as they develop.
“[Late NFL Films founder] Steve Sabol used to tell me that my job producing ‘Hard Knocks’ was like building an airplane in flight,” Rodgers says. “You don’t know what to build in each episode until it’s actually happening. And the crazy thing is we shoot and edit in real time.
You’re seeing Tuesday night in most cases everything that happened up until the previous day. And so an episode ends and then we start shooting the next show that’s going to air a week later. So people say, ‘I wonder what’s going to happen next week on “Hard Knocks.” ‘ Well, so do I. I have no idea.”