The HBO program Hard Knocks will feature the Houston Texans in 2015, which means plenty of J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney for your viewing pleasure. As San Francisco 49ers fans, there is an added hook. The 49ers face the Houston Texans in Week 1 of the preseason, on August 15. While Hard Knocks focuses mostly on training camp itself, there will likely be some game footage and discussion of that game.
The NFL approved a Hard Knocks rule back in 2013, which made the 49ers ineligible for the show in 2015. The league asks for volunteers, but has had to compel teams to do it in recent years. In order to make it somewhat fair, the NFL decided teams with the following conditions could not be compelled to appear on Hard Knocks:
1. New head coach
2. Made the playoffs in the last two seasons
3. Been on Hard Knocks in the previous ten years.
The first two apply to the 49ers given Jim Tomsula's promotion, and the team's participation in the NFC title game following the 2013 season. If the team makes the playoffs this year they will remain free from appearing, but if they miss the playoffs and don't fire Jim Tomsula, they would be eligible in 2016. Trent Baalke does not strike me as a guy who wants to be doing Hard Knocks, but there is always the chance they are forced to. We'll see next year.