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Tracking NFL records for teams a part of HBO Hard Knocks

The NFL is an ever-changing product, and that includes how it disseminates the product out to the masses. One of the ways the NFL tries to get the product out to people who might not be a die hard fan is through outside platforms. Think Netflix’s docu-series “Quarterback” last season, and the staple which is HBO’s Hard Knocks.

This year the NFL and HBO decided to change their typical method of Hard Knocks, and they are expanding how they record the series. The training camp Hard Knocks will continue with the Chicago Bears being highlighted, but they are also doing an offseason Hard Knocks, with cameras following the New York Giants throughout free agency and the 2024 NFL Draft. But the in-season Hard Knocks, which started in 2021, won’t just feature one team, but a division. That division being the AFC North.

When this became official, fans of the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers all wondered what it would mean for their team. Will the cameras following their favorite team down the stretch equate to losses and potentially missing the playoffs?

I decided to do some digging and see just how teams who were selected for Hard Knocks, both the training camp and in-season variety, did the year they were featured. Let’s take a look, going all the way back to 2001:

Training Camp Hard Knocks

2001 Baltimore Ravens: 10-6

2002 Dallas Cowboys: 5-11

2007 Kansas City Chiefs: 4-12

2008 Dallas Cowboys: 9-7

2009 Cincinnati Bengals: 10-6

2010 New York Jets: 11-5

2012 Miami Dolphins: 7-9

2013 Cincinnati Bengals: 11-5

2014 Atlanta Falcons: 6-10

2015 Houston Texans: 9-7

2016 L.A. Rams: 4-12

2017 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5-11

2018 Cleveland Browns: 7-8-1

2019 Las Vegas Raiders: 7-9

2020 L.A. Rams / Chargers: Chargers 7-9 / Rams 10-6

2021 Dallas Cowboys: 12-5

2022 Detroit Lions: 9-8

2023 New York Jets: 7-10

Out of the 19 teams who participated in the series:

  • 9 had winning records the following season, with all but two making the playoffs.
  • 10 had losing records, with half of those teams losing double-digit games.
  • 3 had winning records after having a record below .500 the year prior.
  • 2 had losing records after having a winning record the year prior.

Obviously the AFC North will be featured in the in-season Hard Knocks, so comparing those teams who dealt with the training camp version of the show might not be the best comparison. So, let’s take a look at the teams who have been on the in-season Hard Knocks, and that has only been going on since 2021. Let’s take a look…

In-Season Hard Knocks

2021 Indianapolis Colts: 9-8 / No Playoffs

2022 Arizona Cardinals: 4-13 / No Playoffs

2023: Miami Dolphins: 11-6 / Made Playoffs

Is there a correlation between teams being on Hard Knocks and how they finish the season? Obviously, you can see above how there isn’t really a rhyme or reason to how these teams finish the season after having cameras in their faces every moment they are in the team facility.

Do these numbers make you feel any better about the AFC North being featured this year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


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