Chicago Bears will be featured on HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’

Series will debut Aug. 6 on HBO

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus listens to reporters during a news conference before the NFL football team's rookie camp at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, Ill., Friday, May 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

The Caleb Williams hype is real. NFL fans are hyped about the Bears’ new rookie quarterback, and so is HBO.

The Bears will be featured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” during training camp this season, the league and the show announced Thursday. The five-episode series will begin airing Aug. 6, with new episodes debuting until Sept. 3. This will be the 19th edition of the show, and the first to feature the Bears.

“We are honored to feature such an iconic NFL franchise on ‘Hard Knocks,’” NFL Films senior director and supervising producer Shannon Furman said in a statement. “The Chicago Bears have a talented roster, coaching staff and front office all determined to match the expectations of a hungry fanbase. We are thankful to the entire organization for opening their doors to us for what is sure to be an exciting training camp this summer.”

“Hard Knocks” debuted in 2001 and has run continuously since 2007 (other than the lockout-shortened training camp in 2011). The show also added an “in season” version in 2021 and will debut an offseason version featuring the New York Giants this summer.

The Bears have long avoided participating in the show. In recent years, the league has enacted rules that allow it to force a team to participate.

Teams that missed the postseason in each of the two previous years, and also did not have a first-year head coach and also have not been on the show in the past decade can be forced to participate by the NFL. Only three teams – the Bears, Broncos and Saints – met all three criteria this year.

Team chairman George McCaskey has not been shy about wanting to avoid the distractions that might come with the show. McCaskey joked at the NFL owners meetings in March that he felt 31 other teams had more compelling stories to tell on “Hard Knocks.”

Nevertheless, the Bears will be front and center this preseason. The show typically follows a collection of players through training camp. That often includes one returning veteran, a rookie at his first training camp or a player who is in danger of not making the team. It’s also an opportunity for head coach Matt Eberflus to get some national air time.

The show, undoubtedly, will be interested in Williams, the No. 1 overall draft pick in April, as he goes through his first training camp.

The Bears also have an extra preseason game this year thanks to their selection for the Hall of Fame Game in August. The NFL is making full use of Williams’ presence in the league’s largest media market with only one team.

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for the Shaw Local News Network. He has covered the Bears since 2020. Prior to writing about the Bears, he covered high school sports for the Northwest Herald and contributed to Friday Night Drive. Sean joined Shaw Media in 2016.