NFL owners approve drastic changes to Hard Knocks: Five teams could be featured each season


When HBO’s “Hard Knocks” returns in 2024, it’s going to look a little different than it has in the past after the NFL owners approved several new rules regarding the show on Tuesday.  

CBS Sports lead NFL insider Jonathan Jones has reported that the in-season version of “Hard Knocks” will now follow four teams within one division. The in-season version of the show started in 2021 and has featured three teams since then with the Cardinals, Colts and Dolphins all making an appearance. 

The show probably causes somewhat of a disruption for the team that’s on it during the regular season, so the NFL probably figured that no one would gain an advantage if the league put an entire division on the show. It’s not clear which division will be on the show in 2024, but with the Dolphins doing the in-season show in 2023 and the Cardinals in 2022, it seems unlikely that they’d be asked to do it again so soon, which would likely rule out the AFC East and NFC West. 

Not only will there be four teams on the in-season show, but there will also still be a team on the preseason version of the show. The NFL has had some trouble finding a volunteer team over the past few years, so the league has changed the qualification rules for being on “Hard Knocks.”

Under the new rules, a team doesn’t have to be on the show if ANY of the three rules below applies to them (via SBJ):

  1. They have a first-year head coach in place. 
  2. They’re participating in the in-season show during the upcoming year or the following season. 
  3. They have appeared on “Hard Knocks” in the past eight years.

Under the old rules, a team could turn down “Hard Knocks” if it had made the playoffs at any point over the past two seasons, but that rule has been tossed out. Also, any team that had appeared on “Hard Knocks” in the past 10 years was also able to avoid being on the show under the old rules, but that number has now been reduced down to eight years. 

The NFL didn’t reveal who would be on the show in 2024, but it should be a lot more exciting now that more teams will be eligible for the preseason version. Also, adding an entire division for the in-season version should spice things up for the NFL and HBO.

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