'Hard Knocks' isn't the only game in TV town

By Will Robinson
July 28, 2016 at 12:00 PM EDT
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Football fans know there are only 37 days until the first big Saturday of college ball arrives, and 42 days until the NFL kicks off. Soon, fall will be taken over by time on the couch or parking lot loitering for tailgates.

Before gridirons were reopened, junkies could only count on supplementing their addiction by way-too-early fantasy football research or awaiting Hard Knocks to arrive. HBO’s long-running docuseries follows one team through their training camp and preseason, leading up to the new season.

Now there are more options than ever, including tracking a pro team throughout an entire season. While not every show has been released yet, there’s plenty to feed your football desire until opening weekend. Sure, there are old Hard Knocks seasons to rehash; reruns of NFL Network’s compelling A Football Life; and Showtime’s efforts following former superstar Tony Gonzalez and Notre Dame’s football team. But here are other shows to check out.

All or Nothing

Who are you following?: Last year’s Arizona Cardinals.

What’s it about?: The Amazon and NFL Films collaboration tracks the exciting Cardinals — and what a great pick they were. Arizona was arguably the most exciting team in the 2015 NFL season, scoring tons of points and luring in casual fans with their bevy of personalities, starting with head coach Bruce Arians. On the field, plenty of drama existed (see their playoff win against the Green Bay Packers). But off the field is where coaches and players revealed a different side of themselves.

When and where to watch: All eight episodes are ready for your binging pleasure on Amazon — and free for all until Aug. 31!

Last Chance U

Who are you following?: Last year’s East Mississippi Community College Lions.

What’s it about?: When elite college football players find themselves in trouble, they turn to one place: EMCC. Players have used the college — dominant in its competition level — to earn scholarships to universities including Alabama and Oregon, and found places on the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, and more. Academic advisor Brittany Wagner appears as a real-life Tami Taylor in the trailer.

When and where to watch: Hit refresh on Netflix on Friday and burn through the six installments then.

Hard Knocks

Who are you following?: The Los Angeles Rams, in their first season away from St. Louis.

What’s it about?: The elder statesmen of the sports docuseries might have one of its more fascinating seasons. Never has the HBO show followed a team as they attempted to plant roots in a new city; it even appears the first episode will deal with Rams executives, coaches, and players settling out West. Oh, and there’ll be a quarterback battle — a.k.a. the most compelling roster battle in sports. At the very least, seeing general manager Les Snead’s mane will give you hair envy.

When and where to watch: Allow Liev Schreiber to ease you into two-a-days beginning Aug. 9, 10 p.m. ET on HBO.

A Season With Florida State Football

Who are you following?: The Florida St. Seminoles, of college football.

What’s it about?: When Hard Knocks and training camp fades away, Showtime’s newer A Season With series steps up. The Seminoles ended last season in the top 15 of the Associated Press poll and have recently returned to dominance on the field. Coach Jimbo Fisher gives a hell of a quote and as interesting a figure in the sport — not only because of his name. Like All or Nothing, A Season With will be embedded in the locker room, team meetings, and give an insight into how players balance being a student and a high-profile athlete.

When and where to watch: Episode 1 debuts Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime — a day after FSU’s season opener against the Ole Miss Rebels.

Hollywood & Football

Who are you following?: The Los Angeles Rams, in their first season away from St. Louis (again).

What’s it about?: Hard Knocks follows football players home from practice, but Hollywood & Football sounds as if it’ll go all-in on that concept. The brand-new E! series will follow Rams players Kenny Britt, Rodger Saffold, Lance Kendricks, Chase Reynolds, Bradley Marquez, Cory Harkey, and their respective families, according to Variety. There might be a cultural adjustment from the Midwest.

When and where to watch: Six hour-long episodes will appear on E! sometime this fall. This one will be a mid-week pigskin fill-in.

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