4 things Steelers fans will love about Hard Knocks (and 2 they will hate)

Steelers fans have mixed feelings about the team being on Hard Knocks, and for good reason. However, there are some positives to the extra access.
Pittsburgh Steelers OTA Offseason Workout
Pittsburgh Steelers OTA Offseason Workout / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

Pittsburgh Steelers fans will soon have unprecedented access to their favorite NFL franchise when HBO's Hard Knocks features the AFC North in December.

Naturally, not everyone is crazy about the storied team being infiltrated by the cameras, but there will be plenty of reasons to be excited about the show, and not all of them are centered around the Steelers.

Here are four things to love about the Steelers being on the show and two things we'll have to take in stride.

Positive: The Playoff Push

The Steelers haven't won a playoff game in far too long, but that doesn't mean expectations are anything less than claiming a spot in the postseason.

That said, the show will take place during the Steelers' toughest stretch of the 2024 season where they will face each of their division rivals twice with a trip to Philadelphia and a Christmas contest with the Chiefs sprinkled in.

Pittsburgh should start the series with a solid record to make a playoff push. While the series will be more enjoyable if the Steelers handle business down the stretch, seeing how the team handles the schedule week by week in the face of tough competition will be a treat for the fanbase.

Positive: Locker Room Comradery

Last season we saw some frustration boil over as Najee Harris and Minkah Fitzpatrick spoke publically about some teammates not understanding the Steelers' Way and focusing on winning football games.

Hopefully, fans won't have to experience such annoyances in 2024. If that's the case, we should see some of the fun personalities of the team shine.

Seeing the team display a new-found togetherness could do wonders in boosting fanbase morale, or at the very least give fans the opportunity to understand how the new-age Steelers operate. A little clarity never hurt, especially for a franchise that keeps so much close to the vest.

Negative: Locker Room Destractions

The show itself is a distraction. It's many fans' biggest gripe with the Steelers being featured in the first place.

On top of that, if the Steelers are struggling down the stretch, fans will see how the team reacts to adversity, which we've seen to not always be positive. The last thing the fanbase needs is a reason to feel less confident about the future of the franchise, especially after Mike Tomlin signed a contract extension.

The whole issue compounds upon itself if players are more concerned with how they come across on camera instead of focusing on the task at hand.

Positive: A Closer Eye on AFC North Rivals

The AFC North is shaped up to be the best division in the NFL in 2024 with all four teams having realistic playoff aspirations.

The rest of the division will be highlighted just as much as Pittsburgh, so the show will no doubt give more examples of why fans have such disdain for their rivals. There's no doubt that the show will provide moments that have social media interactions between fanbases at an all-time high.

The stakes are higher with every team most likely jockeying for playoff position at the same time. With every loss for a division rival, fans will relish in the opportunity to rub it in the faces of the opposition - especially for those division matchups.

Positive: Contract Implications

This could be a "for better or worse" situation. Whether or not the team is performing well during the show, fans will get an even closer look at some players looking for new contracts ahead of the 2025 season.

Players like Cam Heyward, Najee Harris, James Daniels, and Justin Fields could all have unresolved contracts when the show airs, and fans could get a better idea of whether those players have done more to earn another contract both on and off the field thanks to the show.

Sure, the final decisions will come from Tomlin and Omar Kahn, but there will be content there for fans to draw their own conclusions from as well.

Negative: Steelers QB Drama

It feels inevitable that no matter how the Steelers perform down the stretch, fans will undoubtedly find evidence to support their narrative of why Justin Fields should see the field more or that Russell Wilson should have full reign of the offense.

Seeing as quarterback controversies haven't been the norm in Pittsburgh for some time, HBO will be sure to highlight every interaction between the two quarterbacks, how teammates are playing and communicating with them, and how fans react to their every move.

This could easily fall under locker room distractions, but this is a different beast altogether. A quarterback controversy sparks ratings, and even the most level-headed fans will have to endure the show's insistence on creating a story where one may not even exist - and the grief opposing fans will give as a result.