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.