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The Cincinnati Bengals won’t be on the 2021 edition of HBO’s “Hard Knocks” show — that honor belongs to the Dallas Cowboys.

And that’s a shame.

The Bengals weren’t one of the teams that wouldn’t be permitted to refuse the show if picked — but they could have volunteered.

As we argued in the past, the Bengals would have been the perfect fit too. The storylines were made for television. This is a team that wants to be more open with fans and get them more engaged again. It’s got Joe Burrow rehabbing his knee, new jerseys, a debuting Ring of Honor, a top-five player, fun team reps like Chad Johnson, a completely remade roster and so much more.

But as is always the case, the Bengals just slot behind a national presence like Dallas (which admittedly has some great storylines too, like Dak Prescott’s comeback). Though let’s not forget that Cincinnati’s past appearance on the show is widely viewed as one of the best to ever air.

Maybe the Bengals weren’t interested in the idea. Some fans would certainly argue it’s a “distraction” to the team, anyway. But it was a rare opportunity to give the globe an inside look at this team’s personality and the way it’s changing.

But as they say, there’s always next year, right?


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