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Hard Knocks, One Year Removed

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Nearly a year removed from what was probably the greatest programming experience in my lifetime, we personally celebrate last year's month of HBO documentary bliss with a post mortem.

C'mon, you need a post like this to remember it fondly, because we're getting the Dallas Cowboys this year. Ugh.

First, my personal favorite moments:

  •   A slow-motion shot of Greg Wesley and Boomer Grigsby laying into each other behind the line of scrimmage. G-Wes is throwing a vicious forearm into Boomer, who's laying into Wesley with every ounce of strength he's got. You could practically feel the contact.
  • The enjoyable and logical friendships formed throughout the team. Bowe & Sippio. Brackenridge & Patterson. Gonzalez & Dunn. Allen & Boomer. Tank & Turk. People matched not only in personality, but in their stations in life and on this team.
  • Gunther Cunningham: "F--- Family Night."
  • A majestic fast-motion still-cam shot from the top of the Brown's stadium during the preseason game in Cleveland. Recapping the entire evening from coin toss to the final whistle, it was played in super-fast forward over a timespan of about five seconds. You watched both teams move the ball all over the field with the fans filing in and out of their seats, the surrounding sky slowly dimming into night.
  • The short & sweet recap of Krumrie's NFL career. I was not an NFL fan during the years of Krumrie's dominance at NT on the Super Bowl Bengals, but watching those few moments made me wish I had. On the field, Krumrie was a block of granite with 10,000 volts shot through it. Watching his coach, moments before the Super Bowl, approach Krumrie to demanding that he keep his teammates grinding all game was inspiring; Krumrie The Player was larger than life, and I could sense that.
  • Larry Johnson, returning to the practice field before the ink on his new contract even dried, receives a ball in the flat and rushes down the field, away from the camera. Slow motion, fade to black.
  • As the music builds to a climax, Saints RB Deuce McAlister runs into a wall of red, spearheaded right through the heart of the OL by Tank Tyler, and soon Hali, Edwards, Harris, and Page are pile driving him into the five-yeard line. A cymbal clash signifies Tank landing the first hit on McAlister, a hit which completely negated his forward momentum and killed the Saints' drive at the 1.
  • Delivering an impassioned speech to the defense the night before the first preseason game in Cleveland, Herm demands that any player with a one-on-one win his matchup. He concludes by saying: "Tomorrow night, when we go to Cleveland? That's exactly what we're going to do. Win." And without another breath, he immediately walks out of the room.
  • "Do NOT be afraid to be great."
  • Herm rides Dwayne Bowe, instructing him to get him donuts at Krispy Kreme -- and the sign outside of the Krispy Kreme's "gotta say 'hot,' it's gotta say 'hot'!"
  • Herm doing sprints at River Falls at god knows how early in the morning.
  • Dick Vermeil talking to Herm Edwards about Priest Holmes, as the two talk in the privacy of Edwards' office. The whole monologue is just priceless. "I asked him where he was, and he told me 82%. Now, not 75, not 80, not 85, 90 -- 82%. And you know what? I walked away saying 'he's at 82%,' because he's never been wrong about his physical condition. He knows himself better than any player I've ever coached."
  • Carl Peterson and Trent Green meet briefly before the Dolphins game. The camera focuses on the two of them standing isolated in the middle of the field. Trent tells Carl he hasn't sold his home in Kansas City, and Carl reassures him that when Trent's done playing, "in another five years," that there'd be a place for him with the Chiefs.
  • Mike Pinkard coming to a teary-eyed realization with Ray Farmer that he's done chasing the dream.
  • Priest Holmes, unable to even interact on the field with the rest of the team, is forced to merely shadow RB movement 20 yards removed from the action.
  • Casey Printers' debate with Ray Farmer, and the realization that he did literally everything he was asked and performed at the best of his ability, and yet he continues to spin his wheels with the Chiefs.
  • Croyle's complete and utter despondency as his wife does everything she can to remain positive in an on-camera interview about Brodie losing the QB job to Damon.
  • Patterson and Brackenridge, likely competing for the exact same roster spot, dine together and sit across the table from one another, telling the camera that focusing on who you're competing against is counterproductive -- that you have to worry about yourself and getting your job done in order to improve and be successful.
  • The "KC Helmet Drawer."

Add any that I may have forgotten, if you wish.