The last thing NFL coaches want during training camp is to be followed by cameras and microphones. That’s why the NFL has rules which would allow them to force it on a team that doesn’t want to do it.
League rules explicitly state that teams cannot be compelled to appear on Hard Knocks if they fall into one of three categories:
1) They have a first-year head coach in place.
2) They have a playoff berth in the past 2 seasons.
3) They appeared on Hard Knocks in the past 10 years.
The teams that will have a new head coach this year are the Redskins, Giants, Panthers, Browns and possibly the Cowboys.
The teams that have been to the playoffs in the last two years are the Patriots, Ravens, Texans, 49ers, Packers, Colts, Chiefs, Chargers, Cowboys, Eagles, Bears, Saints, Rams, Seahawks, Bills, Titans and Vikings.
And the teams that have done the show in the last 10 years are the Raiders, Browns, Buccaneers, Rams, Texans, Falcons, Bengals, Dolphins and Jets.
That means only five teams cannot refuse to take part in the show in 2020: That would be the Cardinals, Lions, Broncos, Jaguars and Steelers.
If a team volunteers to appear on Hard Knocks, that team would appear on the show because the league prefers not to have to force a team to do it. Rarely does a team volunteer to do the show.
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