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New York Jets owner Woody Johnson said last week he'd be interested in another appearance on "Hard Knocks," but the Atlanta Falcons have emerged as a strong contender for this season's version of the HBO reality series, according to sources.

An HBO spokesman declined to comment, saying it's company policy not to discuss potential candidates during the selection process. Typically, HBO, which produces the show in conjunction with NFL Films, doesn't announce the team until May.

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Following a 13-3 record and NFC South title in 2010, the Falcons went 10-6 in 2010 and lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants 24-2 in the first round of the playoffs.

Despite boasting former Pro Bowlers Matt Ryan at quarterback, Michael Turner at running back and Roddy White at receiver, the Falcons regressed on offense in 2011. The struggles followed a headline-grabbing draft-day trade in which Atlanta moved up moved up to the No. 6 overall pick to select former Alabama receiver Julio Jones.

Offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey left the Falcons in the offseason to become head coach in Jacksonville and defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder left for the college ranks to take the same position with the Auburn Tigers.

Still, under Ryan and head coach Mike Smith, the Falcons have made the playoffs three of the past four seasons. They have never been featured on "Hard Knocks," which documents a team's trip through training camp and the preseason every August. There was no series last summer because of the NFL lockout.

The Jets were featured on the show in 2010, drawing huge ratings and increasing their national profile. Johnson said the exposure was a "tremendous value" to the franchise. There was no "Hard Knocks" last summer because of the NFL lockout.

With the recent attention-grabbing trade for Tim Tebow, and the locker-room turmoil that has dominated off-season headlines, the Jets seem like a logical option. Johnson intimated last week there have been informal talks with HBO, but he declined to speculation on an outcome because "we can't react to anything unless it's a real invitation."

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But Johnson said they'd give it strong consideration, saying he'd discuss it with general manager Mike Tannenbaum and coach Rex Ryan.

Ryan didn't seem excited about the prospect when asked about it at the recent league meetings, and Tannenbaum, in an interview last month on SiriusXM NFL Radio, made it clear he had no interest.

Tannenbaum backtracked from his comments, only hours after Johnson expressed interest last week.

"When I made that comment, I never had an expectation that we'd be asked to do it again," he said in a statement. "Obviously, if we're asked, we'll sit down and talk about it."

Initially, the Jets were criticized in 2010 for accepting the invitation, with many saying it would become a distraction, but they went 11-5 and reached the AFC Championship Game.

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Man, that would be fun to watch although Im not sure I would want it to happen.

We have the type of HC that doesnt allow for distractions. He is very reserved and I would like to see more coverage of the Falcons. I think we need a little chip on our shoulders this year and I would like to see an edge to this team early and often, maybe media creates that.

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would be cool to see Nolan rework the defense and some training camp battles like Dent/Lofa

I would also hate to see any Brent Grimes holdout being played out on TV like Revis one ..

Grimes will play, he is getting a goldmine to play and that is for a player who originally came from Shippensburg State

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I think that when they were asked about it before it wasn't a good time to do so because of the things going on with the coaching and the team that they may not have wanted to put out into public but now they may feel that they have things in tact so only time will tell. Smitty is familiar with Hardknocks anyway they shoot the Jags back when Smitty was there it is on youtube. I didn't see Smitty a lot but I saw Ray Hamilton who was the dline coach on there a lot through out the show. I would love to see that it would give me a better insight on every ones method of how the coach their squads on all three phases of the ball.

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think Blank who said no at 1 point couple years is facing a possible drop in season tickets and it would generate more bushiness might opt in .

Can you please show me proof that we are facing less STH's this season?

When I renewed mine, I added another seat, and it was a pretty full house everywhere.

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Can you please show me proof that we are facing less STH's this season?

When I renewed mine, I added another seat, and it was a pretty full house everywhere.

I said possible ...With economy still havent fully recovered and a disappointing end to last season .Plus there are still ton of season tickets on market ..

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I think there's a good chance it happens. Blank is a business man. He wants to win but he also wants to generate more revenue and a larger fanbase that's going to spend $ and pack the Dome like it was back in '04. I think the distraction talk is largely overblown. Cameras follow you around in training camp...big deal! We've got the kind of staff and personnel to not be hampered by that.

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I think there's a good chance it happens. Blank is a business man. He wants to win but he also wants to generate more revenue and a larger fanbase that's going to spend $ and pack the Dome like it was back in '04. I think the distraction talk is largely overblown. Cameras follow you around in training camp...big deal! We've got the kind of staff and personnel to not be hampered by that.

think its going to happen as well..whats worse happens WE 1 AND DONE in playoffs..lol we going to blame HARD KNOCKS for it..Im on board..anything to get extra coverage..I think we have some bright characters like Spoon that can get some more attention ..

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don't see Blank/Dimitroff/Smith going for this.....

who would the entertaining characters be? the ones that come to mind - Roddy and Spoon. Mike Smith is a better coach than Rex Ryan but he would be kind of boring.

<p class="mod-header">

Dimitroff open to 'Hard Knocks'

May, 20, 2011

5/20/11

7:39

PM ET

By Pat Yasinskas | ESPN.com

Although there have been no indications any talks are going on between the Atlanta Falcons and HBO’s “Hard Knocks," general manager Thomas Dimitroff might have been sending a signal in a radio interview Friday.

“I truly believe that an organization has to be in the right spot to jump into something like 'Hard Knocks,'" Dimitroff said. “I think it sheds a lot of light on our league. This is a league of entertainment. There are some traditionalists that struggle with it, but they have to work against the grain a little bit and see that this is about entertainment. 'Hard Knocks' is a good show for the fan base.”

That comes two years after the Falcons declined an opportunity to be featured on the show. Earlier this week, Tampa Bay turned down an offer to be the star of the show this summer.

“We are much closer to being in that spot where it’s not going to be as much of a distraction as it would have been another time,’’ Dimitroff said. “It’s such an individual thing. 'Hard Knocks' could be right for some of the teams that are fairly entrenched. It could be right for some team that wants to kick off some more brand recognition.”

The Falcons are a team with lots of veterans and young players just hitting their prime. They probably could handle the distractions that come with opening their lives to cameras for all of training camp. With three consecutive winning seasons behind them, the Falcons haven’t won a playoff game in the Dimitroff/Mike Smith era and there’s growing pressure due to that fact.

Appearing on “Hard Knocks’’ could help raise Atlanta’s national profile and perhaps help owner Arthur Blank’s quest for a new stadium. But it also could add pressure to a team that already has plenty of it.

An appearance on the show could still be a year or two off. You have to believe the show already had some backup plans in place beyond the Bucs and, despite the lockout, is probably moving forward on those plans. Again, there have been no indications that HBO or NFL Films, which produces the show, have approached the Falcons about a starring role this year. Then again, after hearing what Dimitroff had to say, the show could come calling.

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