Tuesday morning reports started circulating that the field for possible teams to be compelled to participate in HBO’s Hard Knocks was narrowed to three teams, one of them being the Pittsburgh Steelers. By afternoon, an NFL spokesperson claimed that those reports were false. Still, we know that the Steelers are one of the “eligible” teams who the NFL can force to participate in the HBO reality show so the announcement is sure to come soon one way or the other. How does Steeler Nation feel about letting the nation in on Steelers Training Camp in Latrobe and, more importantly, would you watch?
Sports are the ultimate reality show. No matter what’s talked about beforehand you can’t ever truly predict what will happen on the field. It’s compelling, it’s dramatic, and it’s exciting. Reality shows, on the other hand, are none of those things. What is billed to be “reality” is almost always staged and people who were once normal, everyday people become television characters who get paid to behave their worst. While it sounds like I’m passing judgment on reality shows, I’m not, just merely pointing out the differences. HBO’s Hard Knocks tries to bridge the gap between reality shows and sports reality by going behind the scenes with a team during training camp to bring the fans a side they quite possibly haven’t seen before.
When it comes to the Steelers training camp, it’s one of if not the best experiences in the NFL from a fan’s perspective. Whether it’s the no cost to attend, the beautiful scenery, or the access to the players, visiting Latrobe in July/August is something every Steeler fan should treat themselves to at some point in their lives. That being said I don’t want the Steelers to have to participate in Hard Knocks. I think it’s wrong for the league to have made this deal with HBO where it can force a team to participate in something that should be volunteer-based. I think it should be up to the team to decide if they want that kind of publicity and coverage and it shouldn’t be forced on them.
Would I watch the Steelers in Hard Knocks? You bet your sweet ass I will. I’ll host watching parties if it comes to that. The Hard Knocks show usually has a team without a national following featured in order to help them boost a national fallowing. I’d suspect if the Steelers were the participants, the ratings would be through the roof. I don’t have to like it, but if the Steelers are on, I’ll eat up every bit of it and ask for more. And so will you, you know it.