As many Denver Broncos fans who follow the media are aware, we have politely declined the request (offer?) from HBO to be the featured team on their National Football League annual series, “Hard Knocks.”
It was Patrick Smyth, our Executive Director of Media Relations, who had the conversations with the network reps and politely declined on behalf of the organization a couple of months ago.
This is a good decision on the Broncos’ part, for two reasons.
First of all, once they are inside the building, with complete access to everything they see and hear, they are looking way behind the curtain. Just like the first time Dorothy got a glimpse of the wizard in the immortal classic, “The Wizard of Oz”, we knew, and she knew, and the wizard knew that he did not want everything exposed.
Remember, this is why we have doors on bathrooms, and on bathroom stalls. We understand the individual necessity to take care of hygiene, but as my three and a half year old grandson says when he goes into the bathroom, “Privacy, please!”
Secondly, we do not need HBO to do “Hard Knocks.”
We can do it ourselves, if we want to. And maybe we will.
We can set up the same type of presentation of meetings, treatments, practice prep, and so forth, and have the great staff of DenverBroncos.com video it, edit it, and put it up. And, if we did so, it would be 100% under control of the team.
Without having discussed this with John Elway or John Fox (and I have not), I can only presume that in line with the normal views prevalent in football operations, any team, any team, we all trust “us” more than any version of “them.”
Believe me, there is a wide gap between the trust that football guys have in the people who work inside their own building and the outside world, including outside press entities. To use another Wizard of Oz analogy, Dorothy said “There is no place like home,” and team people (all teams in all sports) would add that there is no family like your own, inside your own building.
Once upon a time this show was the be all and end all of inside journalism. And HBO does a tremendous job with the series — it has at once provided behind the scenes candor with as much sensitivity as possible. From talking with our friend at the network and with other clubs that have participated, it is clear that HBO tries to be as unobtrusive as possible.
But “they” still are not “us.”
As readers know, the Denver Broncos have been and remain at the forefront of social media use and will continue to be among the most progressive organizations with regard to building our web site, which already stands as one of the league’s most aggressive and progressive. And if we want to, we can do so again with this concept.
The team will continue to reach out to our fans in the most direct and personable way possible, as evidenced by our recent series of three Fan Forum conference calls with our season ticket holders, as well as meet-and-greet sessions which continue with key sponsors and advertisers.
Further, our local media remain very important to us, and we are committed to maintaining relationships in this area. Every interview that we grant for HBO or any other national entity takes away access and time from the individuals who are here daily and who cover the team in good times and bad, all the time.
There are only so many interviews possible, and we want keep as much focus as possible on the members of the press who deliver Broncos news daily to our Rocky Mountain region.
Broncos Country has a national and international reach, but it still emanates from Denver and the front range.
We just do not need an outside network to present the inside view of ourselves to our fans.
We want to focus our resources on the most constant, direct and engaging contact with our fans. We historically have done this with our local media, and we continue to do so. We have been the league leader in making social media and our web site pivotal components in reaching out to our fans.
These platforms which we control and our fans access are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, anywhere in the world, without subscription fees.