Pittsburgh Steelers could be forced by NFL to participate in HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’


Aug 12, 2013; Latrobe, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers helmet rests on the field during training camp at Saint Vincent College. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to a newly approved rule passed at the NFL Fall Meeting, along with a deal struck between the league and HBO, a team can be forced to be the subject of the HBO series, “Hard Knocks” if no other team volunteers, and the team meets certain criteria. Under these conditions, the Pittsburgh Steelers meet the conditions of one of the teams that could potentially be forced by the league to participate.

The conditions are:

  • The team does not have a first-year head coach
  • The team has not made the playoffs in one of the last 2 seasons
  • The team has not participated in the series in the previous 10 seasons

All those conditions make the following teams eligible, if no other team volunteers to participate.

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Jacksonville Jaguars

New York Giants

Oakland Raiders

Pittsburgh Steelers

St. Louis Rams

The league would probably kick themselves if they didn’t pick the Steelers for this, not saying that I agree with that but as a ratings perspective, the Steelers would gain the most national attention to all the other teams on the list. I can’t even imagine what a snooze-fest a Bills Hard Knocks would be or Rams for that matter. The only thing interesting about Jaguars Hard Knocks would feature the owner’s negotiations to move the team to London or Los Angeles. Only one team on that list has a true “nation” of fans that would tune in week after week to get the inside peak at camp and that’s the Pittsburgh Steelers.

That would mean that the whole world would get to look in on what’s been Steeler Nation’s best kept secret, how incredibly beautiful and awesome the Steelers training camp experience at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA really is. Even though Sports Illustrated’s Peter King has been very vocal at ranking the Steelers’ training camp experience as his top of the league, it’s something that is still uniquely ours. It’s one of the few, if only, training camps where the team does not charge the fans to watch practices. It’s spread out across the campus at Saint Vincent’s among hills and corn fields and just beautiful Western Pennsylvania scenery.

Obviously I’m against this idea not just because I’d prefer Steelers training camp in Latrobe to stay a strictly “Steeler Nation” thing, but also because the idea of forcing a team to participate in a reality show seems ultra-scummy to me. No one is under any illusions that the NFL isn’t entertainment but reality shows just seem to have a different element involved. I’ve watched Hard Knocks but not consistently. I believe it should be something that the team involves themselves with voluntarily instead of being forced because of some deal made with a network to ensure participation.

What are your thoughts on a possible Steelers Hard Knocks?

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