HBO has not dropped anything official about which NFL team will be the focus of HARD KNOCKS in August 2017. It is too early for it to so. But the buzz about it does drop early every year. It proves to be one of the biggest casting questions of the year for the network.
Those familiar with the sports series knows the criteria that make a team eligible for the yearly scrutiny. A team cannot be selected if they were in the playoffs in either of the last two seasons, if they have a first-year head coach or if they have been on the program at any point in the last 10 years. That is exempt, however, if any ball club chooses to volunteer for the show. But, no NFL team willingly volunteers for the training camp invasion so, every year the NFL picks a team from the eligible category.
The eligible teams have been determined already as the playoff berths are set. That eliminates the following teams (in alphabetical order): Bengals, Broncos, Cardinals, Chiefs, Cowboys, Dolphins, Falcons, Giants, Lions, Packers, Panthers, Patriots, Raiders, Redskins, Seahawks, Steelers, Texans & Vikings. Remember, that is teams that have been in the playoffs in the past two seasons. Also out are five teams under coaching changes. They are the 49ers, Bills, Chargers, Jaguars and Rams. Also, the Jets are exempt for having appeared on HARD KNOCKS in recent years.
So the unwilling team to take the hot seat will come from the following list: Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Tennessee (Nashville) Titans, Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Some media outlets have already called out their local teams as a likely candidate. Philly.com, NOLA.com and the Baltimore Sun are just examples. As always we await the decision to see which team gets drafted to be before the cameras before they’re ready for the 2017 season. Of course, the Seahawks, Patriots, or Steelers could volunteer? Yeah, right! The countdown to HARD KNOCKS begins!