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    A New Spin to ‘Hard Knocks’ — HBO’s In-Season Edition To Feature an Entire NFL Division for the First Time

    "Hard Knocks" has served as a staple for NFL fans since 2001, and 2024's in-season format comes with a new twist.

    The critically acclaimed “Hard Knocks” will place its cameras on not one but four different NFL franchises throughout the regular season this fall.

    Fans of the show and followers of the league learned Monday which division is getting the HBO limelight.

    In-Season ‘Hard Knocks’ To Feature AFC North Division Race

    The AFC North is getting its reality television treatment.

    It will become the first division to have all four of its teams chronicled by the Emmy Award-winning series, with Dec. 3 targeted as the 2024 season premiere date, as announced by NFL Media.

    HBO plans to highlight the final six weeks of the regular season, which will showcase the heated race for the division title. The series will air in Jan. 2025 during the playoffs.

    Why are the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, and Pittsburgh Steelers set to be spotlighted? NFL Films vice president and head of content Keith Cossrow outlined the reasons in a news release.

    “Last season the AFC North became the first division ever to have all four teams finish with a winning record, making it the perfect place to launch this new approach to ‘Hard Knocks,'” Cossrow said. “We thank the Bengals, Browns, Ravens, and Steelers for the opportunity to showcase some of the greatest rivalries in football and present the intensity of a playoff chase from all four corners of this incredibly competitive division.”

    Top Storylines To Follow

    The cameras likely won’t be fixated on just the on-field action in the AFC North. While fans will get a closer look at how intense the race for the division crown will be, viewers are also going to get a taste of some key NFL storylines likely to be caught on camera:

    Mike Tomlin and Pittsburgh Steelers’ first HBO appearance: Surprisingly, Tomlin and his team have never had the presence of a “Hard Knocks” camera crew at their facility. Now, in his 18th NFL season, HBO’s team will be on-site focusing on their late ’24 charge.

    Tomlin likely won’t be the only top subject on camera, though. The show has documented team meetings, including those for position groups. In this case, expect Russell Wilson and Justin Fields to earn plenty of air time as they handle the quarterback reins in the Steel City for the first time.

    Joe Burrow and Cincinnati’s star power: Burrow is coming back from his season-ending wrist injury. His flash persona is already perfect for reality television.

    But count on Tee Higgins getting airtime as well after agreeing to his franchise tag. Many fans will wonder if he’ll be on his final days with Cincy. Ja’Marr Chase will also have cameramen documenting his moves on and off the field.

    Deshaun Watson’s return: For the Browns quarterback, 2024 will mark his chance at his full NFL season since 2020. He was limited to six games in 2023.

    And the quarterback’s contract could become a focus. He’s entering his third year with the Browns after inking a five-year deal in 2022.

    Lamar Jackson pursuing consecutive MVP seasons, first title: The Ravens quarterback already owns two league Most Valuable Player awards. He now gets a chance to become the first consecutive MVP winner since Aaron Rodgers in 2020 and 2021.

    But as Jackson approaches 28, many fans are wondering if his championship window is closing. The series likely will focus on Jackson’s Super Bowl pursuit.

    History of HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’

    “Hard Knocks” launched in 2001 and will be heading toward its 24th season with HBO.

    The Ravens were the first team to receive documentation of their training camp. The show followed the Super Bowl 35 winners through July and August.

    KEEP READING: Ranking the 10 Best “Hard Knocks” Seasons of All Time

    From there, various other NFL franchises have been spotlighted during their training camps. Some recent seasons have featured the New York Jets, Detroit Lions, and Dallas Cowboys. In 2020, both the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers shared the stage.

    But in 2021, the show spotlighted a team during the regular season for the first time. The Indianapolis Colts received an in-season focus, followed by the Arizona Cardinals and then the Miami Dolphins.

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