Thanks to the Pittsburgh Steelers failing to make the playoffs for a second straight season, they are now one of eight teams that could be forced to be the subject matter of Hard Knocks, the HBO training camp documentary.
NFL owners passed a resolution last year during their fall meetings in Washington that would give the league the authority to pick a team to be on the show if they are in need of one. The resolution, however, included exemptions for teams that appeared on the show in the last 10 years, reached the playoffs once within the previous two years, or have a new coach.
In total, there are eight teams that fail to qualify for those exemptions and they are the Steelers, Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams.
Last August during training camp, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was asked about the show and whether or not he would be for the team taking part in it in the future during a radio interview. While he didn't totally rule it out ever happening, he was quick to discuss some of the negatives associated with doing it.
"There are things that are still protected as far as I'm concerned, "said Colbert. "The conversations when a player gets cut, it makes for good TV, but I don't like because it's embarrassing. First of all, you're going to be a little guarded when you do it if you try to do it for TV, so it's really not the real situation, it will be a little protected. So I can see the value of it, I know the fans would like it, but just as an administrator, I'd still be a little protected about some of it."
The league and HBO would of course love to have the Steelers take part in Hard Knocks because of the global draw it would create. Last year the Cincinnati Bengals were the subject matter for a second time in the show's existence and they wound up making the playoffs.
So when will we know if the Steelers will be the team chosen to do the show this year? Probably around June as that is when the announcement was made last year.