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Eight teams eligible for 'Hard Knocks' in 2014, including the Rams

Could the NFL's reality television show be coming to St. Louis this summer?

Dilip Vishwanat

Summer feels like a long way off, especially when the mercury dips below zero (unless you're one of our SoCal fans ... so lucky). However, the NFL, NFL Films and HBO are going to have to start planning their summer soon for this year's version of Hard Knocks. The show will go on because the NFL is so starved for publicity, but which team it will feature has yet to be determined.

Any team can volunteer to be on the show. But the NFL has had a hard time finding willing subjects in recent years, partly because of the distraction, partly because teams are incredibly secretive about what they do and partly because the word "unscripted" gives most team PR people nightmares.

If no team volunteers, then the league will appoint one to be on the show using three criteria.

1. The team doesn't have a new head coach.
2. Hasn't made the playoffs in the last two seasons.
3. Hasn't been on the show in the last 10 years.

Guess which team happens to meet that criteria: The St. Louis Rams.

The Rams are one of eight teams that could be forced by the NFL to do Hard Knocks. The others are: Bills, Bears, Cardinals, Jaguars, Raiders & Steelers.

From a pure fan perspective, it would be fascinating to get a look behind the scenes at Rams Park. The Rams' national perception suffers because the local media does a poor job telling the franchise's story in today's interactive, never-ending news cycle. And you never see the inner workings of the team.

A look at the daily work of a football team on the rise would be must-see TV ... especially if it's your team on TV.

On the other hand, there's a downside to it. It can be a distraction for players. The Rams got linked to the show via the rumor mill in 2011, and I remember Chris Long being pretty vocal about not wanting the cameras there, understandably so.

After all, Rams Park is just another work place, Long, his teammates and the coaches are just employees with a lot of pressure on them. I'm sure most of us would not like for cameras to follow us around our 9-to-5 worlds ... then again, most of us don't work in the entertainment business like pro sports.