Hard Knocks has been around for over a decade, but 2020's edition of the show is unlike any season in years past.
That concerns two big factors: the show featuring both the Los Angeles Chargers and Rams as well as discussing COVID-19. The show's director, Shannon Furman, discussed all this on a recent edition of Playmakers, including how both of these things have affected the planning process.
"It literally changes every single day," Furman said. "We've been working on scheduling everything for this since March, since our office closed for a few weeks. We didn't know what was going to happen, we started planning for it, but it literally changes every single day. It feels like we're in a good groove right now, but it's literally getting used to something different every single day. Everyone's been great so far, we just need to kind of stay on our toes and take it one day at a time. It's definitely different from any Hard Knocks we've done before."
Furman admitted without preseason games, it's been a blessing to have two teams to cover. Much like how head coach Anthony Lynn has said he'll need to put players in game-type situations to further evaluate them without having preseason film to rely on, Furman said they'll have to get creative with their own storylines for the show this season.
"When they put on pads, it's always kind of a big deal, but it'll be a really big deal this year," she said. "There's things we've been looking at like Chris Harris Jr. and Keenan Allen, two guys who were rivals for years, and building up things like that where they get to go against each other in practice. It's more of a moment and a bigger deal than it would have been in previous years."
Furman is also a senior producer at NFL Films as has spent nearly two decades working games, events, Super Bowls and creating shows.
She is a graduate from Penn State and originally wanted to pursue a career in sports broadcasting before she turned to a career behind the lens. She really loved the production-aspect of storytelling and enjoys how she gets to do that full-time with Films.
Furman's also making her mark in this industry as a woman and noted there are seven women on the Hard Knocks crew this year. While a lot of women talk about the challenges they face in this industry, Furman discussed how being a woman has its advantages, especially when it comes to earning trust.
"Building relationships, I think that's what I'm good at and I think women might be better at that. There's a level of trust you can build a little faster, especially in this window of time. We have five to six weeks … I love the group of women we have on this show. There are (fewer) of us, so sometimes we can be better mentors."
As for advice for those who aspire to be in her position? Furman says it's all about networking. Making connections and keeping contacts is extremely important, especially in the small world known as the NFL.