Do you currently subscribe to HBO? If you don’t, you might want to go ahead and adjust your 2020 household budget for the premium cable channel because you’re probably going to need it next summer if you consider yourself a hardcore fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
With the Steelers missing the playoffs for a second consecutive season in 2019 they figure to now be prime candidates to be on HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’ next summer.
By league rules, teams can be chosen to be on ‘Hard Knocks’ if they haven’t done the football documentary in the last 10 years, haven’t been to the playoffs in the last two years and don’t have a new head coach coming into the season. In short, the Steelers will check all of those boxes barring them firing head coach Mike Tomlin and that’s very unlikely to happen.
Sure, there will be several other teams that check the boxes just like the Steelers, the you can bet that HBO, and probably the NFL for that matter, would like to finally have the Hard Knock cameras in Latrobe for the first time ever. A few other expected candidates for the 2020 version of Hard Knocks are expected to be the Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos and Detroit Lions.
While Tomlin certainly won’t be volunteering to have his 2020 team be the subject matter of ‘Hard Knocks’ next summer, Steelers team president Art Rooney II did reportedly say roughly five and a half years ago that an appearance on the NFL reality documentary would likely happen at some point in the future.
Tomlin was asked a few years ago at training camp how he would go about dealing with his team being on ‘Hard Knocks’ should such a time every come.
“You know, I just avoid the parameters that get you into that discussion,” Tomlin said. He then asked, “What are the parameters?”
When told that he could avoid being on ‘Hard Knocks’ by just winning year in and year out, Tomlin’s response was a somewhat predictable one.
“Yeah, exactly, exactly,” he said. “The parameters that get you into that discussion are not good ones, so I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about Hard Knocks. I definitely don’t set my DVR for it.”
Well, Tomlin’s 2019 Steelers failed to avoid parameters this season that will get the 2020 team into the discussion for ‘Hard Knocks’ next summer. While the final decision as to which team will be chosen to be on ‘Hard Knocks’ isn’t likely to be made until sometime around the start of June, I’ll go on record right now and say that I’ll be shocked if the Steelers aren’t the team that’s ultimately chosen for it.
Should, however, the Steelers not be picked for the 2020 version of Hard Knocks, Tomlin better make sure he gets his team back to the playoffs next season.