One of the coolest parts of the first in-season series of "Hard Knocks" is how NFL Films balances game preparation and gameday against the backdrop of the personal lives of players and coaches. Episode 1 took us into the Wentz and Leonard households. Episode 2 showcased Frank Reich's time in Buffalo and Grover Stewart's legendary wings.
Episode 3 continued that storytelling in highlighting the kind of person Kenny Moore II is, and the impact the Colts cornerback has on the community, intertwining his story with Week 13's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"Hard Knocks" tells the story of Moore's relationship with "Mighty" Mason Garvey. The two became fast friends while Mason battled a rare cancer, embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, and Moore not only became close with Mason but the entire Garvey family. Tragically, Mason passed away at the age of nine in June of 2020. But Moore is considered a part of the Garvey family, and "Hard Knocks" takes us to the Garvey family Thanksgiving dinner with Moore.
"I value them as family," Moore says.
(Those wondering how to support Mason's legacy can find more information on the Might Mason Fund here.)
It's a touching look at the impact Moore is making on his community. And that emphasis on giving back is something instilled in him by his mother, Angela Carter.
"My mother was always about doing something for other people before they do something for you," Moore says. "Always just having great character and trying to put a smile on someone's face."
Carter is in Indianapolis for the Bucs game, and she's mic'd up in the stands for the game. Her nervous energy is something every parent who's watched their daughter or son play in a big game can relate to – "I need a Tylenol," she says at one point.
While the Colts fell, 38-31, to the Buccaneers, we do get a cool interaction between Moore and Tom Brady after the game.
"Way to play dude," Brady tells Moore. "Great job out there. Keep it going. You got a great career going. You know what to do. I already seen it for the last four years."
The last shot of the episode is at a postgame dinner that includes the Garveys, Moore and Carter, where Moore's mom notes Brady's respect for him in a different way.
"He does not throw your direction, I know that," Carter says. "Because he know you be ready."
Other highlights from Episode 3:
- Quote of the episode is Frank Reich talking about the AFC Playoff race: "We don't know what to tell our wives as far as who to root for. In our family, my kids are texting me, who am I rooting for here, dad? I don't know. The Colts. We just gotta keep winning. That's all that really matters."
- Reich looked genuinely surprised by the surprise 60th birthday gathering his wife, Linda, pulled off. "That's the last thing I was expecting," Reich says.
- I had heard of Matt Eberflus giving out those Ball Hawk shirts but I hadn't seen them before tonight. They are not what I expected! Caw caw.
- Defensive line coach Brian Baker on the plan for Brady: "Make him think he's back in his hyperbaric chamber that he sleeps in."
- Taylor Stallworth might need more screen time. I snort-laughed at his high-pitched "Here they come! Carson Wentz! Carson Wentz!" line.
- Sam Ehlinger to Wentz after his long touchdown to Ashton Dulin: "Might've been the prettiest ball I've ever seen." No lies detected.
- The Colts ran the RPO touchdown that went to Jack Doyle for 10 weeks with the target on the play being Mo Alie-Cox. Then this one goes for a touchdown and it goes to Doyle, who said: "I felt kinda bad!"
- During a timeout, an official goes up to Darius Leonard: "How do you do that punch stuff." Leonard explains, and the official responds: "That is incredible."