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Here's when the NFL could announce the next subject for HBO's ‘Hard Knocks'

Here's when the NFL could announce the next subject for HBO's ‘Hard Knocks' originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

UPDATE: The Chicago Bears, NFL and NFL Films have announced the Bears as this offseason's subject for HBO's "Hard Knocks" documentary.

MORE: Bears selected as ‘Hard Knocks' team this summer

NFL fans are eagerly awaiting the announcement of this offseason's subject for HBO's "Hard Knocks" documentary.

The documentary goes deep into storylines surrounding the team, gaining insider access to the subject's training camp to provide quite an insightful and interesting product.

When will NFL and NFL Films announce the next offseason subject of the show?

There's no surefire answer to the question. But it's certainly coming soon.

Last year, news broke of the Jets' participation in the offseason documentary on July 12. In 2022, the NFL announced their selection of the Lions to participate on March 28. The Cowboys' 2021 selection was announced on July 2.

The Rams and Chargers volunteered to participate in 2020, which was announced on April 7. The Raiders were selected for the 2019 version on June 11. And the Browns' 2018 announcement took place on May 17.

The previous announcement dates are quite volatile. But seeing as we're teetering at the beginning of June, the announcement is surely coming soon. But there's no way of knowing for certain.

The Giants will appear in an all-new version of the documentary on July 2. No, this is not the notorious "offseason" version of the show. This series version aims to go behind the scenes with the Giants from the end of the 2023 regular season leading up to the summer.

Usually, teams show strong disinterest in participating in the offseason version, as they view the documentary as a distraction during training camp. But the NFL has a clause in their contract with HBO to force a team to participate based on their qualifications to certain criteria.

To force a team to participate, a team must meet these three criteria:

1) The team does not have a new head coach

2) The team has not made the playoffs in the previous two seasons

3) The team hasn't been on “Hard Knocks” in the past 10 years

The three teams who fit the bill this offseason are the Broncos, Saints and Bears.

The Bears have been crystal clear in previous offseasons about their disinterest in participating. At the NFL owners meetings in Orlando in late March, Bears chairman George McCaskey reiterated the team's apathy.

“We’re told there is some interest in other teams being on the program and we welcome that interest,” McCaskey said.

But it's hard to believe, barring a team volunteers to become the subject, that the league wouldn't force the Bears to be the next subject of the offseason documentary. At this juncture, the Bears have built up one of the most intriguing storylines in the entire league.

Expect an announcement for the documentary soon, as a subject must be selected before the start of training camp in mid-July.

MORE: Bears building inarguably the most attractive case for ‘Hard Knocks' — even if they don't want to

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