LOS ANGELES -- Standing in the green room prior to the screening of the upcoming documentary series All or Nothing: A Season with the Arizona Cardinals, it was easy to understand why Amazon and NFL Films had honed in on the defending NFC West champions for this unprecedented look at the behind-the-scenes life of an NFL team.
There are heavy hitters all over the place. Coach Bruce Arians -- wearing a custom-made Kangol-style hat complete with its own logo (this is baller) -- mingles near the bar. Patrick Peterson (perhaps the game's best cornerback) and David Johnson (perhaps the game's top young running back) chat at a stand-up table. Larry Fitzgerald tapes a segment with the Cardinals' media team looking like a respected head of state (which he basically is). Calais Campbell is a giant who walks around shaking hands and cracking jokes with everyone in his orbit. Tyrann Mathieu looks like the coolest guy in the room. And over in the corner is Carson Palmer, a forever star in the league, conversing as he takes the occasional pull from his Bud Heavy.
Yep, there are no shortage of compelling humans here. It's the perfect group to follow around for seven months, which is what happens on All or Nothing. From the draft through the NFC Championship Game, we'll see how a special Cardinals season unfolded, both on the field, in the locker room and at home.
On Thursday, Amazon screened the season's penultimate episode (all eight installments drop for Amazon Prime members on July 1). The episode we saw focused on the team's classic divisional round playoff victory over the Packers in January. We were told before the screening that the matchup had more "cameras and wires" than any game in NFL history. This turned out to be a very wise use of resources.
Around The NFL was on the scene in the green room, inside the theater and at the after party, which all took place in the shadow of the Staples Center. Some takeaways:
» You have to love Arians. As you might guess, he's a star in the episode that was screened (as was his wife, Christine, but you'll see). Arians comes across as a deeply respected coach, loving husband and proud owner of zero effs when it comes to being wired for sound. He might rival Rex Ryan's famous Hard Knocks star turn when it comes to salty language. "I'll get a bunch of bibles in the mail I'm sure," he told NFL Network's Dan Hellie in a Q&A after the screening. "Rightfully so." The crowd guffawed at that one.
» Speaking of Arians, he couldn't have higher expectations for his team in 2016. Check this out: "We just probably finished up the best 13 practices I've ever been around in the NFL," he said. "This is my 22nd year and our last two days, it scared me how hard we were competing against each other. I thought somebody was going to get hurt so I cancelled the third day. The practices were that good. If they bring that attitude to camp, which I know that they will, this team will be better than last year's."
»Cardinals president Michael Bidwill took his private jet to Los Angeles for the premiere, bringing several Cardinals stars along for the ride. Oh, Bidwill flew the plane, too. "It's been a hobby and a passion for a long, long time," Bidwill explained. "David Johnson had never been on a small airplane before, so when I jumped in and told him, 'Hey, and I'm flying, too' I think he thought I was kidding. I said, 'I'm not kidding' and gave him a quick briefing."
» Is Palmer worried about anything he said or did making its way into the show? "I have no idea, but I'm sure I'm going to see something and go, 'Oh man, they should have edited that out.' When somebody's with you for seven months every single day, you don't ever feel like you misstepped. You get so comfortable and used to it, which is exactly what they want." Palmer likened the camera and crew to furniture. They were just ... there.
» Mathieu said he's "kind of over" all the attention that comes with being the Honey Badger, but he didn't find the cameras intrusive and believes people will see a different side of him. "I'm sure most people think I'm a quiet guy, but there will probably be some scenes in there where I'm just being obnoxious and very talkative. It should be interesting, I can't wait to see it."
All eight one-hour episodes of All or Nothing: A Season with the Arizona Cardinals will be available for Amazon Prime members as part of their membership, and to all Amazon customers from July 1 to August 31, via the Amazon Video app for TVs, connected devices including Fire TV, mobile devices and online at Amazon.com/allornothing. For a list of all Amazon Video compatible devices, visit Amazon.com/howtostream.