Hard Knocks

How ‘Hard Knocks' crew plans to earn Bears' trust in early stages of show production

'Hard Knocks' and 'distraction' are two words that go together in NFL locker rooms. But the crew hopes that won't be the case at Halas Hall.

NBC Universal, Inc.

For years the Bears avoided HBO, NFL Films and kept “Hard Knocks” away from Halas Hall. The team made it clear they didn’t want to be involved in the show. They didn’t want the cameras in the locker room or team meetings. They didn’t want the distractions.

The Bears will finally star in the show this summer, however, and now the show’s crew will have to work to earn the team’s trust.

On the latest episode of NBC Sports Chicago’s “Under Center” podcast, “Hard Knocks” producer and director Shannon Furman joined to explain exactly how her crew will try to do that.

“It's just building the relationship and just getting to talk with people, let them ask me questions,” Furman said on the “Under Center” podcast. “I give them answers so they kind of know how we work. Anything that they need to know from me from past experiences. It's just every day, in every meeting we have I think the trust builds a little bit more.”

Furman said she’s been to Chicago twice already, so they’ve already begun building that relationship. The full crew will arrive at Halas Hall on July 14, two days before rookies report for training camp. At first it will be hard to ignore all the lights, cameras and action that come with HBO and NFL Films, but Furman believes it won’t take long for the Bears to get used to the “Hard Knocks” production crew.

“I like to say that I think after like three days on the premises, you kind of don't realize we're there. That's the whole goal, is to blend in with everybody… like we have on like a uniform, we wear the team colors. You know who everybody is on the ‘Hard Knocks’ staff. Then, hopefully by the third day we blend in and you forget we're there.”

If a team has any concerns about the show whatsoever, Furman said she does her best to work with the team to assuage any issues. Her crew even includes a few former players who can review what’s been filmed and offer insight as to what footage should be omitted for including competitive information. If her crew learns about injuries, they won’t break the news on the show.

“That's not our job,” Furman said.

At the latest, Furman hopes the team will fully trust her crew by the time the first episode has aired.

“I think that's when you really understand, you've seen us work, and then you see the product on the screen. And then hopefully after that it's seamless.”

The word “distraction” will probably follow “Hard Knocks” as long as the show is on the air, but Furman hopes that once the show wraps this summer, it won’t be a word used at Halas Hall.

“In the 10 years I've been doing this show, I'd be upset if there's any team that said that we were a distraction… I think that after they see the way that we work, they just understand exactly the job we have to do and how we do it, and would be proud of the fact that we all worked together and got it done.”

For the full episode, catch "Under Center" on NBC Sports Chicago, Wednesday at 5:30, or catch up later on our YouTube page.

Click here to follow the Under Center Podcast.

Contact Us