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A Hard Knocks Show for a Hard Knocks Division

Earlier this week HBO announced that their NFL docuseries Hard Knocks will feature not just one specific team, but the whole AFC North Division. The thought process behind this idea is that in 2023 all 4 teams finished their season with winning records and 3 made the playoffs. The lone AFC North team to miss the 2023 NFL Playoffs was the Cincinnati Bengals with a 9-8 record. This dynamic can make it an interesting 2024 NFL season. The HBO NFL Films people felt the same.

I have many times said that the AFC North is the toughest division in football and the lone team to win the division could be the AFC number 1 playoff seed in 2024. Last year’s division champion Baltimore Ravens were the AFC top playoff seed with a 13-4 record. Three of their losses were to AFC North teams. Also, the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers had a 1-3 record in 2023 against the AFC North. For HBO and NFL films to produce a Hard Knocks Season with a whole division of four teams instead of one specific team is unprecedented.

The Hard Knocks: Offseason show debuts on July 3rd covering the New York Giants.  And the Hard Knocks: Training Camp begins on August 6th with the Chicago Bears. The Hard Knocks: In Season with the AFC North starts on December 3rd. All shows will air on HBO and be available to stream on Max. An interesting question would be if this could serve as a mid-season distraction for any of the AFC North Teams?

I personally don’t see this as a distraction for any teams in the AFC North. The reason for this is that all four teams have organizational stability. Both Baltimore and Pittsburgh have longest tenured NFL Head Coaches. The Browns and the Bengals have demonstrated consistent stability in the last 5 years. I don’t see any of these organizations allowing the show to be a distraction. I do believe it will good television and interesting to watch. Especially to see which team will be the division champion in 2024.


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