The Atlanta Falcons are this year’s choice for HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” will will debut Aug. 5.
Any choice was bound to seem bland by comparison, once the Cleveland Browns let it be known that they and Johnny Football wouldn’t be participating. The St. Louis Rams, with the first openly gay player taken in the NFL draft in training camp, also let it known that they wouldn’t be involved. That left just a few other options, under the league’s guidelines.
The NFL passed a rule last year compelling teams to participate in the HBO series unless they can meet one of three exemptions: having a first-year coach, a playoff appearance in the past two years or a previous “Hard Knocks” stint in the past decade.
Here’s a bit of preseason handicapping advice: Each of the last four teams featured on the show has improved its record in the season that follows the reality show.