The Los Angeles Rams' return to the City of Angels will receive even more attention after they were selected to appear on next season's edition of Hard Knocks on HBO.
Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times first reported the news, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced it a press conference Wednesday:
Rams Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff talked with Farmer about accepting the opportunity:
It's clear both in Southern California and nationwide there's significant interest in the return of the Rams to Los Angeles, and it seemed like a very good year to give people a look at our franchise and our players.
We have one of the youngest teams, a lot of talented players -- back-to-back rookies of the year -- that we want people to start to get exposure to. What better way to do that than "Hard Knocks"?
The Rams posted an announcement on their official site, which noted the cameras have already begun to capture the move to L.A. ahead of the show's season premiere Aug. 9 at 10 p.m. ET. The announcement also included comments from head coach Jeff Fisher regarding the preseason spotlight.
"This is an exciting time for our franchise," Fisher said. "Hard Knocks will be an outstanding way to bring our fans into our training camp and preseason, and give a glimpse of the hard work and dedication of our players, coaches and staff as we prepare for the 2016 season."
Rams safety T.J. McDonald also expressed his excitement about the news via Twitter:
Of course, it's also a chance to sell the franchise to the market, as Darren Rovell of ESPN noted:
Rams announce they'll be the "Hard Knocks" team this year. Smart. They'll need all the marketing they can get.— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) March 23, 2016
Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated previously reported the Rams were among seven finalists to get featured on the popular show. The Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers were also considered.
Hard Knocks debuted in 2001 and has since received acclaim from both fans and critics for providing a behind-the-scenes look at a team's preparations for the season. The series covers the lives of coaches and players, often spotlighting family sacrifices, battles for jobs and difficult roster choices.
Not everybody enjoys the experience, though. Seth Walder of the New York Daily News passed along comments from coach Rex Ryan, who appeared on the show with the New York Jets in 2010, after it was noted the Bills could appear on the show.
"I wouldn't be happy about it, but I'd do it," Ryan said.
The Rams became a logical choice once their return to Los Angeles was confirmed. Not only does their return to the nation's second-largest media market create the potential for big ratings, but the team should have some terrific storylines to follow.
As Demoff mentioned, the Rams have a pair of Rookie of the Year winners on the roster in running back Todd Gurley and defensive lineman Aaron Donald. They also feature several other budding stars, including wide receiver Tavon Austin and linebacker Alec Ogletree.
There should be an intense quarterback battle as well. The current group includes Case Keenum, Nick Foles and Sean Mannion with the potential to add another option during the NFL draft.
Then there's the story about the transition to the bright lights of Los Angeles, which has the potential to create both off-field opportunities and off-field problems.
Put all of those factors together, and it's a recipe for another intriguing season of Hard Knocks.