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Atlanta Falcons to be featured on HBO's 'Hard Knocks'

We officially have a team in place for the new season of Hard Knocks.

The Atlanta Falcons announced Thursday they have agreed to take part in the ninth season of the acclaimed HBO documentary series.

NFL Films confirmed the partnership and added a nice graphic on their Twitter page to boot:

The Falcons are taking part in the series by choice. Under new bylines adopted by the NFL last year, the Falcons could've ducked the show because they qualified for the postseason in the last two years. Teams can also decline if they have a new coach or have been the subject of Hard Knocks in the past 10 years.

The Cincinnati Bengals were featured last summer, with the Miami Dolphins serving as the focal point in 2012. This will be the Falcons' first Hard Knocks appearance and the first appearance for an NFC team since 2008.

There were sexier options on the market here, but great Hard Knocks seasons have never been guaranteed on team selection alone (the 2010 Jets being the obvious outlier, of course).

The Falcons have always flown under the radar a bit -- even when they were deemed an NFC powerhouse. A Hard Knocks star turn is an effective way to command the spotlight.

In the latest edition of the "Around The League Podcast," the guys debate the windows of Brady and Manning.

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