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Are the Saints finally headed for HBO’s Hard Knocks?

Something to watch for this upcoming season.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Since its inception in August of 2001, the New Orleans Saints have avoided being selected to appear on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” series, unlike many other NFL teams. The Saints are amongst 15 other franchises, 9 from the NFC, to never allow HBO cameras into their facilities. This history between the TV series and the team is due in part to former Coach Sean Payton not being a huge proponent of having the organization’s “inner-workings” aired preceding upcoming seasons. The other part of this equation is that a team has to “qualify” for a spot on the Hard Knocks series, which the Saints have only done 4 times (counting this upcoming season) in 2009, 2016, 2023, and now 2024. The show selects its team based on the following criteria: 1.) Can’t have a first year Head Coach, 2.) Must have missed the playoffs in at least 2 consecutive seasons and 3.) Haven’t appeared on the show in at least 10 years.

As it relates to the upcoming 2024-25 NFL Season, the Black and Gold are one of the 4 teams that will possibly appear on “Hard Knocks”, along with the Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals and Chicago Bears. Out of those qualifying squads, it’s likely to be a two-horse race between the Bears and Saints. The reasoning behind the aforementioned logic is due to process of elimination: Arizona has at least done an “In Season” version of the HBO series and as far as the Broncos go, well let’s just say all we need to… Sean Payton is their current Head Coach. That leaves the Saints and Bears to battle it out for the show’s next preseason slot and if I’m a betting man, I’ll lean a bit more towards Chicago. Not that the Saints don’t have an interesting cast of characters or interesting subplots to put on display, but what the Bears have going on with the looming Justin Fields decision and TWO Top 10 picks at their disposal, will surely provide an enticing watch.

NFL: Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

I’m sure many Saints fans like myself, would be intrigued by the possibility of the “Who Dat Nation” being able to watch their team exclusively behind the scenes a bit. “Hard Knocks: Training Camp Edition” is set for its 19th season to air via HBO/ HBO Max sometime in early August. As that time approaches, it’ll be something interesting to keep an eye on this offseason.