Few teams fall under NFL’s new Hard Knocks rule: only five this year

Participation in HBO’s reality series Hard Knocks is now required by the NFL, but NBC Sports’ PFT did the math and found that few teams are eligible.

Had new rules been in place this year, only five teams would have been eligible: the Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Oakland Raiders, and St. Louis Rams. That’s because of the three rules that exempt teams who’ve been in the playoffs the last two years, have a new head coach, or appeared on the show during the past decade.

In fact, NBC Sports reports that “half the league knows right now it can’t be forced to do Hard Knocks next year,” and that’s before this year’s playoffs have even taken place. And as a PFT commenter points out, it’s quite possible that some years, zero teams will be eligible.

Of course, a team can always volunteer–but if there were a lot of volunteers, there wouldn’t have been a need for the requirement in the first place.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.