GLENDALE, Ariz. — Editor's note: The above video aired in a previous broadcast.
If there's one team that will be itching to get back into the NFL postseason, it's the Arizona Cardinals. And now their journey to reclaim rank in the NFC will be documented for the country to watch.
HBO's sports reality franchise show, "Hard Knocks," is featuring the Cardinals for an all-access docuseries during the 2022-2023 season. Starting in November, "Hard Knocks In Season" will give fans weekly inside coverage in real-time as the Cardinals try to top a record-breaking season.
Last season, the Cardinals started off seemingly as a top contender in the NFC. Arizona had a 7-0 start to the season and made it to the playoffs for the first time in six years. However, injuries and a lack of depth had a huge impact on the Cardinals' decline during the second half of the season.
Fans will now be able to see firsthand how quarterback Kyler Murray will adjust and lead the team to another playoff appearance and maybe even the Super Bowl, which will be held in Arizona next year.
"Hard Knocks In Season" debuted last fall with the Indianapolis Colts’ 2021 regular-season journey. When the series started, the Colts were 4-5. The Colts won 5 of their next 8 games, falling just short of the playoffs.
The Cardinals hope the trend of playing well down the stretch continues this year.
“I think that’s something you have to go through to figure it out," head coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "I think each case will be different, but in my experience, any time a camera’s around, people tend to step up and be on their p’s and q’s a little bit more. So I think it can be a real positive in that stretch of the season for us.”
The in-season edition of "Hard Knocks" will be the first appearance for the Cardinals as part of the Hard Knocks franchise. The Cardinals were considered for the show's training camp series last season but the Dallas Cowboys were chosen instead.
After the news broke on Monday, some members of the Cardinals got the chance to react to getting cast.
"Oh, it’s definitely exciting," safety Budda Baker said. "That’s once in a lifetime, get to be on national television, a lot of people who probably don’t know the average NFL players are able to get a little bit more insight of who we are. Whether it’s on the field or off the field as well, and it’s definitely a great experience so I’m definitely excited for that and just excited for that opportunity to be on that stage.”
However, not every player was as excited as Baker.
"We did the Amazon ‘All or Nothing’ when I was in Philly," tight end Zach Ertz said. "You have mixed emotions, obviously, as a player. You don’t want things to get too personal that you don’t want out there, but at the same time, it’s a great opportunity for fans to see what the day-to-day life of an NFL player is like. It’s not all the amazing things that happen on Sunday, it’s a culmination of a lot of work during the week. Just like fantasy football is mixed emotions for us, it’s obviously had a huge impact on the nature of our business, but it’s also put a lot of the skill positions in the spotlight. So, there’s (sic) pros and cons to it all. But I’ll take it in stride and hopefully, it’s not going to distract anyone and we’ll be the best version of ourselves (and) hopefully win a lot of games on it."
Kingsbury hopes that getting cameras into the Cardinals facility will be a positive influence on his team.
"I think coaches and players, you’re going to want to be on your A-game and be well prepared anytime that camera’s around and make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward," Kingsbury said. "So, I think it can be a real motivational tool if we approach it the right way.”
The Cardinals were also asked today who they think will be the breakout star of the show this fall.
Budda Baker voted for J.J. Watt, but everyone else had more than one answer.
“Obviously (DeAndre Hopkins’) got his own personality," Ertz said. "JJ, Kyler, I don’t know. There’s (sic) a lot of personalities on this team. Hopefully, they just film a lot of wins. I don’t think anyone’s trying to be the star of ‘Hard Knocks,’ per se. People just want to be the best football player they can be and everything else will follow.”
“If they could go film Hop while he’s suspended, that would be the best TV ever, but I don’t think they can," Kingsbury said. "I don’t know, I think there’s a lot of kind of really high-character men that we get to work with, whether it’s staff, coaches (or) players every day. So just to kind of tell some of their background stories and get to know them on that level, I think it will be great for our fans."
“I would say myself, but I don’t know," wide receiver Antoine Wesley said. "I would say Rondale (Moore). There’s a lot more stuff, you know, he’s a little bit quiet, but once you get to know him more there’s a lot of ‘Ooh, I didn’t know that about you.’”
The Detroit Lions will be featured in the training camp series this season.
VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL: El programa 'Hard Knocks' de HBO llega a Arizona mientras los Cardinals mantienen las esperanzas de llegar a los playoffs
Watch more of the latest sports videos on the 12 News YouTube channel. Don’t forget to subscribe!