The Houston Texans will be the featured team on HBO's Hard Knocks this summer, according to Tania Ganguli of ESPN. The documentary series is entering its 10th season and will premiere Aug. 11 at 10 p.m. ET. Hourlong episodes will air every Tuesday until the season finale on Sept. 8.
The Texans officially made the announcement Wednesday afternoon. Team owner Bob McNair said, "It's a great opportunity to showcase our team."
HBO announced that for the first time, Hard Knocks will also air on HBO Now, a streaming service that does not require a cable subscription.
The show follows one NFL team as it goes through training camp in preparation for the regular season. The Atlanta Falcons appeared on the program last year, with the Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets also featured recently. This is the first time the Texans will appear on the show.
This year's show will follow a team that managed to turn things around last season after finishing a league-worst 2-14 in 2013. Even after drafting Jadeveon Clowney with the first overall pick in 2014, the Texans entered the season with a new coaching staff and few expectations. However, they finished the 2014 season with a 9-7 record and while they never really threatened the Colts in the AFC South, the roster is loaded with talented players.
Chief among them is J.J. Watt, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year and one of the most exciting players in the NFL. He's also quite the character off the field, and should get plenty of screen time this season.
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Much of the action could revolve around a battle for the starting quarterback job that should be a close one. After starting 13 games for the Cleveland Browns in 2014, Brian Hoyer will compete with Ryan Mallett and Tom Savage, a fourth-round pick in 2014. Mallett started two games last season for the Texans before suffering a season-ending injury while Savage saw limited action in two games.
New additions, like Vince Wilfork, join a defense that already has strong personalities like Watt and Brian Cushing, and led the NFL in forced turnovers in 2014. But it's not just the players who should provide plenty of entertainment. The coaching staff, including head coach Bill O'Brien, Romeo Crennel and Mike Vrabel, also has the potential to make for good TV.
The other rumored finalist for the show was Washington, which has been one of the more unstable teams in the NFL for a while. While the Texans will strive to be a team headed for big things, Washington is one that won just seven games in the last two years and has a somewhat messy quarterback situation with Robert Griffin III possibly entering his final season with the team.
Each season, there seems to be an outpouring of teams that claim no interest in the documentary series. It stands to reason that most teams wouldn't want the distraction throughout training camp. However, the NFL can force a team on the program if it meets certain criteria. On the other hand, teams that have been on the show in the last 10 years, teams with new head coaches and teams that have made the playoffs in either of the last two years cannot be forced on the program.
That means the Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Minnesota Vikings, Houston Texans, St. Louis Rams, New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and Washington all could have been forced into it this year. Last year's team, the Falcons, agreed to do the show despite the fact that they were a playoff team in 2012.