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Detroit Lions 1 of just 3 teams that could be forced into ‘Hard Knocks’ in 2022

Dan Campbell on “Hard Knocks”? Please let this happen.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams-Training Camp Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the latest news that Saints head coach Sean Payton is stepping down, this is turning out to be one of the busiest head coaching carousels in NFL history. There are now nine teams currently searching for their next head coach. That means a lot of parity, but it also means a lot of teams can no longer be forced to appear on HBO’s behind-the-scenes training camp documentary series “Hard Knocks.”

Because “Hard Knocks” can be a bit intrusive and distracting, most teams have stopped volunteering to appear on the show despite the extra publicity. So, the NFL applied a rule several years ago that they could force a team to be displayed on the show. The catch is there are three things that can ensure a team will NOT be forced into it. Those stipulation are:

  1. Teams with a first-year head coach
  2. Teams who have made the playoffs in at least one of the past two years
  3. Teams who have been on “Hard Knocks” in the past 10 years

So let’s break it down. Here are the teams that will have a new head coach, and therefore can’t be forced into the show:

Now let’s add teams who have been to the playoffs either this year or last year:

Only five teams are not on the two above lists: Lions, Jets, Panthers, Falcons and Chargers. However, the Chargers were on “Hard Knocks” (with the Rams) in 2020. The Falcons were on “Hard Knocks” in 2014.

That leaves just three teams eligible to be forced into the docuseries:

It’s worth noting that any team can volunteer for “Hard Knocks” at any time — the Rams and Chargers did so in 2020. But that doesn’t happen often, which means the Lions have a decent shot of being the focus this year.