Steelers on short list for 'Hard Knocks'

January, 21, 2014
Jan 21
8:00
AM ET
Mike Tomlin's worst nightmare could accompany the Steelers to the serene setting of St. Vincent College in late July.

The Steelers are one of just eight teams that are, ahem, eligible for HBO's “Hard Knocks” this year, and imagine the ratings bonanza that the only team to win six Super Bowls would provide with an inside look at its training camp.

Tomlin surely does not want to find out just how many viewers the Steelers would attract by appearing on "Hard Knocks."

He is as closely guarded about his team's inner workings as any coach, and Tomlin loves training camp because it minimizes distractions with players living in dorm rooms and abiding by curfews at the small college that has hosted the Steelers every summer for almost 50 years.

TV cameras with the kind of access that “Hard Knocks” enjoys are the last thing Tomlin wants as he molds a team that has missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time on his watch.

The best-case scenario for Tomlin and the Steelers is that one of the other teams eligible for “Hard Knocks” is so desperate for the publicity that it lobbies the NFL to be the subject of the long-running series.

The Jaguars are among the eight teams eligible for “Hard Knocks,” and no team has more trouble filling its stadium than Jacksonville. The Steelers, meanwhile, need “Hard Knocks” as much as they need another season of offensive linemen dropping like bowling pins.

The show would offer a compelling look at Tomlin and one of the NFL's flagship franchises behind closed doors. But you can bet the Steelers will do everything they can to keep HBO from documenting their training camp anytime soon.

In other Steelers/NFL news:
  • The Steelers are down to one representative in the Pro Bowl after strong safety Troy Polamalu opted out of the annual all-star game with an injury. Funny, that Polamalu played every snap this season. But it's hard to blame him for withdrawing from a game that should have been put out of its misery by now and replaced with some sort of showcase anchored by a skills competition. Browns safety T.J. Ward replaced Polamalu on the Pro Bowl roster, giving four-win Cleveland six Pro Bowlers.
  • The extra-point could be getting the boot, and I would have no problem if the NFL did away with it. Forget ways to make the play after a touchdown more meaningful. How about getting rid of a kick that has become automatic to shave a little time off games that are getting longer and longer?

Here are a few other links:
  • Steelers.com's Mike Prisuta looks at playing running back from the eyes of Le'Veon Bell. Speaking of Bell, I talked to former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis about a number of subjects and he is a big fan of Bell and plans on reaching out to him. I will have more on that, the Hall of Fame and Bettis' take on the Steelers in later posts.
  • ESPN.com Browns reporters Pat McManamon takes a look at the history Cleveland's next head coach will have to overcome.
  • CBS NFL draft analyst Dane Brugler provides an update from the Senior Bowl, and among the players who jumped out at him during the North team's first practice were Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

Scott Brown

ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter

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