A “Hard Knock” on Wood: Docuseries Offers the Detroit Lions Fans Hope for the 2022-23 Season

It takes no sports genius to know that Michigan’s professional football team, the Detroit Lions, have had a less than remarkable track record for the past couple of decades. In fact, the most remarkable thing about the Lions these days is how poorly they’ve been performing. After a 3-13 (and 1 tie) season in 2021, Michiganders are desperate for any Lion’s victory; thankfully, HBO’s Hard Knocks has swooped in to save the day for Detroit football fans.
Hard Knocks is a behind-the-scenes football docuseries, which catalogs a runtime of 17 seasons, with each season offering football fans an inside look at their favorite teams. This year was no exception; fans and competitors alike were surprised to learn that season 17 would be featuring Michigan’s own Detroit Lions.
Longtime Lion fan and Berkley senior Alex Basmadjian has been keeping up with this season of Hard Knocks in hopes of a better future, “I feel great. I like our new team, especially with our new head coach. I think it’s going to be a great up and coming franchise, and I think last season was a disappointment, and this season we’re going to make the playoffs” Alex says. Like Alex, many fans have found inspiration in the second-year coach, Dan Campbell: a former Lion and tight end of 10 years, who returned to Ford Field as the Lion’s head coach in 2021.
Despite Campbell’s relatively young coaching career, episode one of season 17 reveals that Dan knows he’s got his work cut out for him. Referencing Metallica song No Leaf Clover, Campbell tells his players: “‘Man, when it comes to the soothing light at the end of your tunnel, it’s just a freight train coming your way.’” Perhaps not the most cheery sentiment, but an honest one that accepts responsibility for the team’s improvement and mindset in the upcoming season.
Berkley senior A.J. Simpson takes a more optimistic approach, “[The Lions] are gonna be better than last year,” Simpson reassures. “We’re gone be swift as a dog” A.J. adds–a nod to the heartfelt speech made by running back Jamaal Williams in episode one.
Jamaal Williams encourages his teammates that, “We’ve got to come out here and be dogs… Last year wasn’t it. Last year got me angry for this year. When you see me tired, I’ma keep going. Remember your why. Remember why you play football.”
Williams’ speech was well received, earning praise from various sports reporters, including former Packers Vice President Andrew Brandt. Any true Michigan football fan knows that support from the Packers is reason alone for celebration. These outcries encourage Lions fans for a redemptive season ahead.
Alongside the unmatched determination displayed by players like Williams, season 17 has been especially focused on highlighting the team’s resounding chemistry. The addition of number one draft pick, defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, seems to be a large contender in the excitement both on and off the field.
In Lion’s tradition, Hutchinson’s team-wide introduction was accompanied by what could only be described as a memorable karaoke performance of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean. Hutchinson, a Michigan grad, stands as a sign of hope for the Lions; a native Michigander, Hutchinson has stayed true to his Detroit colors, and his sportsmanship (and karaoke skills) is a positive indication of the team’s general attitude going into the season.
All in all, Hard Knocks’ decision to feature the Lions stands as a strong symbol of what is hopefully going to be a better season for Detroit. Due to the lasting impressions made by Hard Knocks, students should be looking forward to a brighter future for the Detroit Lions; or as Alex Basmadjian so eloquently puts it: “Super Bowl or go home.”