Perhaps you’ve heard of “All Or Nothing.” I might’ve written about it a couple of times last summer. The eight-episode series about the Cardinals, released on Amazon last July about the team’s 2015 season and the first streaming series by NFL Films, has been nominated for a Sports Emmy by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for Outstanding Serialized Sports Documentary.
“All Or Nothing: A Season With The Arizona Cardinals” is one of five choices in its category. The others are “Run Mama Run” from ESPN and espnW; “Friday Night Tykes: Steel Country” from the Esquire Network; “Hard Knocks: Training Camp With The Los Angeles Rams” from NFL Films and HBO; and “Undrafted” from the NFL Network and Mandalay Sports.
The award winners will be announced May 9.
Tags: All or Nothing
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So Sunday, actor, former professional wrestler and one-time college football player Dwayne Johnson — The Rock — tweeted out a video of Bruce Arians with the message “Would’ve loved to play for this man.” It got me thinking about something GM Steve Keim said about one of the benefits of having the “All or Nothing” series out there for public consumption.
“It helps not only the brand, but it helps create resources you didn’t have before,” Keim said. “Sometimes, when you talk about free agency, there is a recruiting aspect to that. So when there is a perception of a team or an organization and it is good, it makes it that much easier to talk players into signing here and sometimes signing for less money, because they want to be part of something special.”
OK, The Rock isn’t signing a contract with the Cardinals (and, it should be noted, the video clip Johnson used was actually from the Arians bio “A Football Life” and not from “All or Nothing.”) But it underscores what Keim said about the Amazon series. It’s clear the biggest “star” of the whole thing is Arians. Without his personality, I’m not sure the series is as successful as it is, and that’s not to knock anyone else in the program. But the head coach is naturally going to be at the epicenter of a series like that, and — as all of us know who work with Arians on a daily basis — Arians has that kind of charisma.
Yes, he can MF you on the practice field, but players can see it’s about the football. Arians forgets about it as soon as the work is over. He can separate the player and the man. That’s why guys love to play for him. And while The Rock isn’t coming anytime soon, you can bet there are active players out there who have watched “All or Nothing” or Arians’ “A Football Life” and are thinking that they too want to play for Arians and the Cardinals. That’s a powerful tool.
Tags: All or Nothing, Bruce Arians, Dwayne Johnson, Steve Keim, The Rock
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It’s not “Hard Knocks,” and that’s something Bruce Arians insisted upon from the start. That’s why the coach always said he didn’t want to do the HBO training camp series, because of how it showed things like players being cut — a cold way to have someone’s professional life laid bare for the world to see. Michael Bidwill agreed, although both liked some of the things “Hard Knocks” did show, like the human side of players and coaches.
In a very general way, that’s how “All or Nothing,” the story of the 2015 Cardinals, came to be.
There are still a few weeks before the series is available on Amazon. July 1 is that date (if you didn’t already know), when all eight episodes will be there on demand for everyone to see. Want to binge? Go ahead. Want to space them out? Your call. Do you prefer to watch with your kids and have the sometimes harsh words of the NFL bleeped out? There will be both unrated and edited versions.
I have only seen one episode, the seventh that chronicled the win over the Packers in the playoffs. It was, as you can imagine in something put together by NFL Films, pretty epic. The original score — which has a main theme that can be heard during the Brentson Buckner portion of the trailer — is excellent. And even though you know what will happen, to see how the emotions flowed not just for the players but others (like Arians’ wife Chris) is simply riveting television.
A couple other thoughts I had about the series, based on what we saw:
— Buckner, who is a great quote and a colorful figure, sure seems like he is going to be one of the stars.
— It reminds you of who isn’t here anymore. Jerraud Powers and Rashad Johnson were so important to last year’s team and this will rightfully reflect that and it’s a little weird since they are no longer on the roster.
— Carson Palmer had said that even with the mics and cameras Arians “was still B.A.” all last season and, yes, that was apparent.
— Crazy to think defensive coordinator James Bettcher specifically talked to the team about defending an Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary before the game, and yet Rodgers still pulled one off.
I’m looking forward to seeing the whole series. I’m guessing it will live up to the hype.
Tags: Aaron Rodgers, All or Nothing, Brentson Buckner, Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer, James Bettcher, Jerraud Powers, Rashad Johnson
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And we enter the home stretch.
The Cardinals held their “media day” Monday — that’s Chandler Jones modeling his new team’s uniform for the first time — where players get into uniform for the various video/photo shoots that will be needed by the team, the stadium and broadcasters like NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.” Players also got their summer physicals.
Then Tuesday the Cardinals begin mandatory minicamp, although other than a day here and there for a couple of guys, the Cards have had all their players for the voluntary OTAs the last few weeks anyway. Minicamp isn’t really any different than OTAs in terms of how it’s done — helmets, no pads, still what Bruce Arians likes to call “soccer practice” — but they can be out on the field a little more.
Once Thursday arrives, the players (other than rookies) are done until training camp time. They’ll get a lot of recharging time, with report day for camp coming July 28. A few of the stars will have one more commitment before they scatter, as they take part in the Los Angeles red carpet event Thursday night for the “All or Nothing” Amazon series set to be available July 1.
At least with “All or Nothing,” there will be some football to watch until the Cards come back.
Tags: All or Nothing, Chandler Jones, minicamp, training camp
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A few months ago, the excellent NFL Films “A Football Life” episode on Bruce Arians was released. Now it’s available on azcardinals.com by clicking here or by watching below. It covers Arians’ story from young, sometimes-troubled kid to where he is now leading the Cardinals. It’s well worth the time to check it out.
NFL Films is also working on “A Football Life” episode of Pat Tillman and so that’s something else to look forward to seeing. And we’re still waiting on the official announcement of the availability for “All or Nothing” as well.
Tags: All or Nothing, Bruce Arians, Pat Tillman
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Cardinals president Michael Bidwill is at the owners meetings in Florida this week, and Tuesday morning talked about a variety of topics — including the new “All Or Nothing” eight-episode series coming on Amazon that will chronicle the Cards’ 2015 season from the draft through the NFC Championship. Bidwill, appearing on the “Doug and Wolf” Show on Arizona Sports 98.7, said it was just about a year ago when he started a dialogue with NFL Films to capture many of the behind-the-scenes parts of the team “many people have never seen before.”
“I think it’s going to be very good for the Cardinals and the players and coaches,” Bidwill said. “We’re going to be able to tell some great stories.”
Bidwill said he believes the series won’t just be on the premium Amazon Prime but “potentially in front of their pay wall,” which would open up the availability to many more people. Ultimately that’s what Bidwill would like to broaden the fan base and “continue to improve our footprint” as a franchise.
As for the comparison’s to HBO’s training camp documentary “Hard Knocks,” Bidwill said “it’s different and I think it’s better. I wasn’t interested in doing “Hard Knocks” but I thought there were elements we could do in a completely different way.”
— The owners will vote on various potential rule changes/new rules on Wednesday. One is the concept of player ejections with two unsportsmanlike fouls or some variation there (Bidwill noted rules, if passed, can often morph during discussions). “It should be the rare exception that any of our players or personnel on the field are acting in an unsportsmanlike manner, and if it happens a second time, I’m all in favor of getting them off the field completely and sending a strong message,” Bidwill said. “Because we have millions of kids watching us. … National Football League football is about playing hard within the rules, within the white lines and doing it in sportsmanlike fashion.”
— On the concept of commissioner Roger Goodell retaining the power to discipline players — something the NFL Players Association would like to change: “At a very high level, it’s about the NFL brand,” Bidwill said. “We don’t want to outsource that ultimate decision about discipline to a third party. That’s just my opinion. I feel like no one has more reputationally to lose than we do, and we don’t want our commissioner to lose that power.”
— Bidwill didn’t say the Cardinals are on tap to play any of the international games on the horizon — there have been reports of potential future games in China and Germany — but was clearly behind the concept. “When you think about the global brand, the NFL is an important American brand and everyone wants to continue to expand their presence in the global marketplace,” Bidwill said. “We want to continue to bring live games to the international scene, that’s how many global sports grow.”
— Not surprisingly, he was bullish on the Cardinals’ offseason moves, especially the trade for pass rusher Chandler Jones.
“We all recognize what happened in the Super Bowl,” Bidwill said. “Steve and his team did a great job of crafting a trade that is true win-win with the New England Patriots.”
Tags: All or Nothing, Michael Bidwill, Roger Goodell
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It isn’t unusual for an NFL Films crew to show up in Tempe a couple of times a year, gathering practice footage or working on a piece. But last year, the crew didn’t leave. Some of the faces changed, sure — when you are embedding with an NFL team, that’s a bigger job than for just one group of three or four. But someone was around all the time, in the offseason, at training camp, through the regular season and playoffs (and a week in West Virginia). Sometimes they were even on the Cardinals’ charter flight.
And now, the reason is out there: “All or Nothing,” an eight-episode series on Amazon, is coming.
(There is no set date of when the release will be. That’s still TBD.)
It’s a massive logistical undertaking. It’s unusual for a pro team, for sure, and certainly for an NFL team, but team president Michael Bidwill liked the idea and pushed for it from the top. He couldn’t have picked a much more intriguing season for which to do it. A franchise record for wins, Tyrann Mathieu’s big season and subsequent knee injury, Carson Palmer’s MVP push, Larry Fitzgerald’s renaissance, Dwight Freeney’s midseason arrival, five primetime games. I’ll be interested to see how they manage to break down eight episodes. Clearly there’s enough to do even more.
People talk about distractions, but since nothing will air until after the fact, last season isn’t impacted by the series (unlike, say, “Hard Knocks.”) Also, once the crew was in place, it never seemed that overbearing. Cameras were installed in offices and meeting rooms, used remotely from a “control room” set up in the facility so no one would be bothered.
Even as someone who is pretty embedded myself, I’m looking forward to see this inside view — views I don’t get to see either.
Tags: All or Nothing, Michael Bidwill, NFL Films
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