Hard Knocks A Smart Move By Bengals Brand…

They have been a lost franchise on the national scene for well…almost forever, even with a Super Bowl run, the Icky Shuffle and Ken Anderson, a great underrated QB. So giving the access to HBO's Hard Knocks was a great move for the Cincinnati Bengals brand, and eventhough it is a risk for HBO and the NFL, it gives the show a different look than in previous years, especially coming off last season's Dallas Cowboys run. Already the Bengals brand has gotten national exposure in what would norrmally be a quiet offseason for a small market team with a 4-12 record, and with a Spongetech practice jersey sponsorship on the table, the team has scored some much needed additional visibility. Let's also not forget the national interest in Chad Ochocinco, and the way he will be able to use his tweets and branding skills to also drive interest to the show, along with the casual interest for football fans in hearing president Mike Brown and head coach Marvin Lewis, perhaps for the first time. HBO's quality production with NFL Films could also stir interest in the team, at least for the first few weeks of the season, and give the franchise a much-needed boost. It is a bit of a departure for the series, but in terms of using the power of the NFL and the vision of HBO to try new things and give a franchise a lift, it could be a very smart move for the long term, especially if the team performs well and the story lines and drama effectively transfer to the show.

Some other good reads…Yahoo's Kevin Iole has a good profile of female MMA star Gina Carano…AP has a good profile of new Dolphins business head Mike Dee…and for those who missed it, Greg Bishop's piece this week in the New York Times on NFL players and divorce was also very well done