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Steelers may end up on Hard Knocks anyway

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The Buffalo Bills are one of eight teams eligible for forced participation in the HBO documentary series. With the Bills heading to Latrobe for practice against the Steelers Aug. 13-14, it's possible the Steelers end up on the show anyway.

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Manziels turned down an off-list invitation to be the featured team on HBO's Hard Knocks in 2014 - something they were not eligible for forced inclusion due to the fact they have a new coach.

The Giants allegedly won't be the team chosen, either, despite their inclusion on the eight-member list of eligible teams. The eight teams qualifying are the Steelers, Bills, Bears, Giants, Cardinals, Jaguars, Raiders, and Rams. That same report suggested there were "volunteers," meaning, "more than one," and all signs strongly indicate the Steelers won't be volunteering for the documentary series that runs through the preseason.

The Buffalo Bills, participants in the Steelers' first joint training camp practice, invade the greater Latrobe area Aug. 13-14, and could lug an HBO camera crew along with them. The Bills, like the Steelers, are on the forced inclusion list.  Perhaps Buffalo's story is interesting enough to merit selection for the show, despite all the alleged volunteers for it.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has stressed his intention of providing a complete lack of cooperation with camera crews, and watching the confrontation of those crews and Tomlin may be worthy in itself of a documentary. Certainly, if Buffalo is the feature, the Steelers would want nothing to do with being filmed. It'd be hard to avoid, though, considering the Steelers agreed to host the Bills for practice. Maybe the show would end by that time, considering the practices are at the end of camp.

While it seems much more reasonable the Bills and Steelers agreed to hold joint practices only after having discussed the possibility of being the featured subject of the show, and both sides having agreed they want nothing to do with it, until the league and HBO selects a team, the possibility is still there. Their rules are clear and both teams fit their requirements for forced inclusion.