What if HBO’s Hard Knocks Used Former Miami Dolphins WR Chad Johnson for Ratings?

After the NFL lockout prevented HBO from airing their critically acclaimed reality show Hard Knocks, which follows an NFL team during training camp and centers the show around young rookies fighting for a chance to make a roster, the show got back into action this year at Miami Dolphins‘ camp.

When newly signed receiver Chad Johnson was arrested this past weekend, that combined with the problems he had had with the media and not fitting in on the field forced the Dolphins to part ways with him. The exchange between head coach Joe Philbin and Johnson was caught on tape and aired Tuesday night. The video did not provide the fireworks you might have thought, but it was still chilling to watch.

But watching it I started to have a crazy thought: What if HBO put the Dolphins up to this to create ratings for the show after a year in hiatus?

I mean think about it. The Dolphins assume zero risk by signing Johnson. Contracts are not guaranteed until the first week of the regular season. If Johnson turned out to be better than advertises, great, the Dolphins get an extra weapon for rookie Ryan Tannehill. If not, then you get the lovely exchange we witnessed between Philbin and Johnson.

We found out about HBO picking the Dolphins at the end of May, and about 10 days later they had signed Johnson to a one-year contract. No guarantees, no risks. Now, there is no way Hard Knocks could have foreseen an incident going down like the domestic abuse charge leading to Johnson’s arrest this weekend, but they are likely not surprised.

They had to know Johnson would be a ratings boost no matter what happened. Having been on the show with the Cincinnati Bengals before, Hard Knocks had prior experience with the 34-year old veteran.

Could HBO really have convinced the Dolphins to stage such a signing to increase ratings? Probably not, but the question is an interesting one to consider.


Jeff is an NFL Featured Columnist for RantSports.com. He contributes mainly to the New York Giants and NFL Rumors pages. He also will occasionally touch on the NBA and humorous videos involving all sports.

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