Sportress of Blogitude

Art Rooney II: Steelers ‘will grin and bear it’ if tabbed for ‘Hard Knocks’

It has become an annual tradition for teams eligible for an appearance on “Hard Knocks” to bemoan the possibility of having to deal with the distractions of being the subject of the long-running HBO documentary series amid a litany of offseason work.

With the Pittsburgh Steelers among the crop of candidates this time around, the organization has indicated it will make the best of a tough situation if the team ends up being selected.

Steelers owner Art Rooney II, while noting that there has been “no word on ‘Hard Knocks’ yet,” weighed in on the possibility the team will be tasked with an appearance.

“I know it seems like it’s getting a lot of attention here and it’s one of those things that if we have to do it, we’ll grin and bear it,” Rooney told Steelers.com’s Stan Savran, as transcribed by Steelers Depot. “I think if they ask if we’re volunteering for this, we’ll say, no. It’s not necessarily a volunteer kind of situation anymore as you know.”

The Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars, along with Steelers, are candidates to appear on “Hard Knocks” based on not being exempt according to the NFL’s following criteria: 1) A team cannot appear on the documentary show if it was in the playoffs either of the last two seasons; 2) If the team will have a first-year head coach in the upcoming season; and 3) If the team has appeared on the show in the last 10 years.

Last season, the Oakland Raiders were tabbed for “Hard Knocks,” much to head coach Jon Gruden’s chagrin, though it actually turned out to be very compelling television in the end.

As noted, NFL teams regard having to appear on “Hard Knocks” as an unfortunate fate, as evidenced by how the Browns felt about it in 2018 before begrudgingly accepting their fate. Having camera crews covering all the behind-the-scenes action at training camp can only serve as an unwanted distraction as teams prepare for the upcoming season.