Liev Schreiber has been the narrator for the majority of the NFL reality series Hard Knocks since its inception in 2001. The show follows a specific NFL team during their pre-season training camp and offers an inside look into the players’ personal and professional lives. Schreiber’s “voice of God” narration has been a defining element of the show, except for the 2007 season when actor Paul Rudd provided the narration as the show followed his favorite NFL team, the Kansas City Chiefs.
Hard Knocks is a co-production between NFL Films and HBO and is known as the first sports-based reality series. It has inspired similar docuseries in the sports genre, such as Formula 1: Drive to Survive. Schreiber’s narration helps set Hard Knocks apart from other sports docuseries, and he has been the consistent narrator for almost every season of the show. Liev Schreiber returns as the narrator for Hard Knocks season 20, which focuses on the journey of Aaron Rodgers and the New York Jets.
The show has faced challenges in finding NFL teams willing to participate in the filming process, which can be disruptive to their pre-season preparations. This led to a two-year hiatus after the initial seasons chronicling the Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys. In the show’s 2007 comeback, Paul Rudd took over as the narrator because the season followed his favorite team, the Kansas City Chiefs. However, Liev Schreiber returned as the narrator in season 4, which also featured the return of the Dallas Cowboys.
In Hard Knocks season 20, the cameras went behind the scenes with the New York Jets during their training camp. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers expressed his concerns about the team’s appearance on the show, citing worries about distractions and misconceptions. In response, Liev Schreiber made his first on-screen appearance in over 20 years of narrating the show. He had an on-camera conversation with Rodgers, discussing the hesitancy of NFL teams to appear on Hard Knocks. Schreiber’s appearance marked a significant moment as he became both the voice and face of the series.
New episodes of Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the New York Jets premiered on HBO and Max on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET and will continue until September 5, 2023.