The decision has been made: Atlanta Falcons will be the team hosting HBO's Hard Knocks this year. For those of you who don't know, Hard Knocks gives fans a chance to finally look inside of an NFL team's organization.
Honestly, this is a move that I didn't see coming. Granted, the Falcons have a good fan base, and are located in a pretty big city, so it shouldn't be a complete shock. Plus, the Falcons have our former favorite running back Steven Jackson, and that guy is made for TV, so he should shine.
Here's our SB Nation Atlanta Falcons site The Falcoholic, with the news of this announcement.
Obviously, this is great exposure for the Falcons and an opportunity to get the kind of national love that sometimes eludes this team. It also is going to be a sharply divisive show for Falcons fans, with some already excited and others viewing it as an unnecessary distraction after a 4-12 2013 season. I'm not 100% certain how I feel about this yet—the announcement blindsided me—but as a fan of the team, I'm at least going to enjoy getting deeper insight into the players from the show.
Honestly, I personally think the Rams would have been the perfect team for Hard Knocks, but I think Jeff Fisher had enough pull with the league that his team avoided appearing on Hard Knocks. Plus, there's Michael Sam... Although HBO would've loved the selling point, I could see how it would have been an issue.
Now, if the Rams don't make the playoffs this year, I could see a scenario with the St. Louis airing on Hard Knocks next year. You will have this whole stadium situation in the air and some positive publicity should help fans stay on board for at least another year.