The Atlanta Falcons shocked the football world when they actually volunteered to be showcased on Hard Knocks last year. The NFL had to institute rules to make it mandatory for a team to appear on the program that fit a certain criteria because nobody was volunteering to have HBO's cameras and microphones invade their training camp space. Hard to believe because football coaches are usually so friendly and hospitable to outsiders in their mix and embrace the free flow of information, right?
With Mike Smith axed by the Falcons, it's unlikely we'll see another brave soul step up to volunteer. So out of the nine teams that are eligible (two years out of the playoffs, no first year head coach, haven't appeared on Hard Knocks in the last decade), who might the NFL choose.
Take a deep breath America, because the Cleveland Browns are reportedly the front-runners to appear according to longtime NFL writer Vic Carucci.
Hearing the #Browns are front-runners for next featured team on HBO Hard Knocks series.
The Browns make perfect sense for Hard Knocks. They're a young team with a second year head coach who slowly began to turn things in the right direction last year. Not only that, but they are having to deal with the controversy of losing Josh Gordon to suspension once again. Then you have great players who don't get a lot of publicity like Joe Thomas in which you can follow. Oh, and did we mention the team is getting new uniforms! The Browns! Those uniforms are like a hundred years old so that's a big flippin' deal!
Let's see, are we missing anything else that would lead the NFL to want the Browns for Hard Knocks? Anything? Hmmm....
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The Browns are apparently the front-runner for Hard Knocks
JUPITER, FL - MARCH 22: Dee Gordon #9 of the Miami Marlins watches a bunted ball during the first inning of the game against the Minnesota Twins at Roger Dean Stadium on March 22, 2015 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 18: Dominic Moore #28 of the New York Rangers falls into the net after getting hit from behind by Kimmo Timonen #44 of the Chicago Blackhawks at Madison Square Garden on March 18, 2015 in New York City. The puck crossed the line but was ruled no goal because a whistle had blown. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)
A jogger runs during the sunset after a warm spring day on March 16, 2015, in the Olympic park in Munich, southern Germany. Meteorologists forecast temperatures around 15 degrees and further sun in the region. AFP PHOTO/CHRISTOF STACHE (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
A lone Italian flag is waved amongst a sea of Juventus' flags during the Round of 16, second-leg UEFA Champions League football match Borussia Dortmund vs Juventus in Dortmund, western Germany on March 18, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ (Photo credit should read PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images)
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MARCH 21: Pandelela Rinong of Malaysia dives during the semi final of the Women's 10m Platform on day two of the 2015 FINA/NVA Diving World Series at the Hamdan Sports Complex on March 21, 2015 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY - MARCH 21: Omer Toprak of Bayer 04 Leverkusen tangles with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar of FC Schalke 04 during the Bundesliga match between FC Schalke 04 and Bayer 04 Leverkusen at Veltins Arena on March 21, 2015 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 20: Rasmus Ristolainen #55 of the Buffalo Sabres checks Jacob Josefson #16 of the New Jersey Devils at First Niagara Center on March 20, 2015 in Buffalo, New York. New Jersey defeated Buffalo 3-1. (Photo by Jen Fuller/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 22: Marcelo Vieira of Real Madrid jumps over Xavi Hernandez of FC Barcelona during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at Camp Nou on March 22, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Real Madrid via Getty Images)
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 22: Phil Davis and Shane Mumford of the Giants and Sam Naismith of the Swans contest a mark during the NAB Challenge AFL match between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Sydney Swans at Star Track Oval on March 22, 2015 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 20: Michelle Wie hits a tee shot on the 10th hole during the second round of the LPGA Founders Cup at Wildfire Golf Club on March 20, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
ROME, ITALY - MARCH 21: Luke Charteris of Wales in action during the RBS Six Nations match between Italy and Wales at Stadio Olimpico on March 21, 2015 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 20: Taj Gibson #22 of the Chicago Bulls yells as he dunks over Patrick Patterson #54 of the Toronto Raptors in his first game back from injury at the United Center on March 20, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)