HBO’s Hard Knocks enters its 13th season this year, and so far the Eagles have avoided appearing on the popular but intrusive documentary series that follows a single NFL team through training camp and the preseason.
That could change this year.
The Eagles are one of eight teams that the NFL could force to participate in the HBO series, according to a resolution passed by NFL owners in 2013.
There are three exemptions that allow teams to avoid mandatory inclusion in the show: 1) They have appeared in the playoffs at least once in the past two seasons; 2) They have a first-year head coach; 3) They have been featured on Hard Knocks at least once in the past 10 years.
Last season, the Eagles avoided being considered for the show thanks to the dismissal of then-head coach Chip Kelly. But with Doug Pederson entering his second season, the Eagles won’t be able to say no if HBO thinks chronicling the offseason of rookie quarterback Carson Wentz could make for some compelling television.
The seven other teams that could be compelled to participate are the Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and New Orleans Saints.
Of the teams eligible, only the Bears play in a larger media market than the Eagles.
There's always the chance that an NFL team will follow the Falcons' example in 2014 and volunteer to star in Hard Knocks, but that is unlikely, considering the complaints many NFL coaches and players have made after appearing on the program.
"Just being mic'd up all the time and having cameras in your face all the time — that's not something a football team is used to," Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien said of his team's 2015 appearance. "Although, I think our guys handled it very well. It wasn't a distraction; it was something that we handled very well, but it's something that I don't think you really need for a football team."
An announcement about which team will be featured is expected sometime in the spring.
Despite the difficulty in finding a team willing to participate, NFL Films signed a “long-term renewal” back in 2013 to continue producing the show. At the time, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he’d like to see more teams welcome HBO’s cameras into their training camps, calling it a “shared obligation” of every team in the league.