HBO's 'Hard Knocks' has eight contenders in place


We will have a "Hard Knocks" this summer. This was ensured at the NFL Fall Meeting, when a rule passed that allowed the league to appoint a team to be the subject of the popular HBO series if no other team volunteers.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that all organizations will be eligible with the exception of those that have a first-year head coach; teams that have made the playoffs in at least one of the last two seasons; and teams that have participated in the previous 10 seasons.

Now that the playoff field has been determined and we know which teams will enter 2014 with a new coach, we can figure out which organizations are eligible for a forced six-week residency on premium cable.

(As NFL Media's foremost "Hard Knocks" historian, I wish I could say I realized the field already had been set. I didn't. Great job, Internet.)

Here are the eligible teams. Any of these teams can be selected to appear on the show if there are no volunteers:

Arizona Cardinals
Buffalo Bills
Chicago Bears
Jacksonville Jaguars
New York Giants
Oakland Raiders
Pittsburgh Steelers
St. Louis Rams

A Liev Schreiber-narrated tour of Jay Cutler and Kristin Cavallari's luxury condo in Lincoln Park is this close to reality. This has to happen. We deserve this.

The "Around The League Podcast" recapped all the Conference Championship week action.