Why HBO's Hard Knocks will be a curse to the 2024 Steelers

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Pittsburgh Steelers v Buffalo Bills
AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Pittsburgh Steelers v Buffalo Bills / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

For the first time in the history of the hit HBO show, Hard Knocks will focus on an entire division: the AFC North. That means for the first time in franchise time, the Steelers will have to deal with the Hard Knocks cameras being present everywhere throughout the season. I don't think this bodes well for the Steelers for a couple of reasons.

The first reason is that the Steelers have spent a couple of years now trying to block out the noise from outside and Hard Knocks will set that process back.

Steelers on Hard Knocks is a disaster waiting to happen

For a long time, it seemed like the Steelers always found themselves in the news for the wrong reasons. Whether it was an offseason suspension for Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown going off the deep end or JuJu Smith-Schuster dancing on opposing team's logos, the Steelers always seemed to catch the ire of NFL fans everywhere for their players' antics.

Over the past few years, the noise and distractions have been limited and that's a credit to Mike Tomlin, Omar Khan, and this group of players. However, Hard Knocks will challenge that new identity, as the whole purpose of the show is to reveal the everyday drama and antics that occur during an NFL season. Just when it seemed like the culture was in a better spot, Hard Knocks showed up and will challenge that new identity.

Another reason why Hard Knocks will be a curse to the 2024 Steelers is the lack of success had by teams previously featured on the show.

Over the last 5 years, 9 different teams have appeared on the show either during the preseason or regular season. Those 9 teams during their Hard Knocks season put up a combined record of 76-74 with only one playoff win (the Rams in the 2021 Wild Card round). Many of those teams dealt with a ton of off-the-field drama because of the show and there's no doubt that affected their performance on the field.

Hard Knocks has not proved to yield big successful seasons for teams. In fact, no team in the history of the show has won the Super Bowl the same season they were featured on Hard Knocks. If the Steelers want to get back to the top of the mountain, they'll have to overcome that fact.

While Hard Knocks is great entertainment for football fans, it's not a great sign for the teams featured on the show. The Pittsburgh Steelers already play in the toughest division in football and now they'll have to deal with the distractions of Hard Knocks. This new culture will be put to the ultimate test during the 2024 season.