Bengals look to avoid 'Hard Knocks' curse

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

There are many curses in sports, but few have been more accurate recently than the "Hard Knocks" curse.

Earlier Thursday, the Cincinnati Bengals officially announced they will take part in the popular HBO series this summer, which puts cameras and microphones all over the facility and practice fields to capture the inner workings of training camp.

Since the series began in 2001, not many teams went on to have success.

  • The Baltimore Ravens were the first team on "Hard Knocks." Coming off a Super Bowl, Baltimore did finish 10-6 and made it to the playoffs before ending its season. But starting tailback Jamal Lewis suffered a season-ending knee injury in the preseason, ending any realistic chances of repeating.

  • In 2002, the Dallas Cowboys made their first of two appearances on "Hard Knocks." A case can be made that they invented the curse, not the Ravens. Dallas went 5-11 the first go around and became the first non-playoff team on Hard Knocks. Head coach Dave Campo was fired after the season.

  • After a five-year hiatus (the Jacksonville Jaguars participated in a similar program in 2004 but not under the "Hard Knocks" brand) the Kansas City Chiefs were the third team on the program. Former coach Herm Edwards' group was coming off a playoff run but finished an abysmal 4-12 in 2007.

  • The Cowboys also became the most recent team on "Hard Knocks" last season. Dallas was widely considered the most talented team in the NFL. But the Cowboys finished 9-7 and out of the postseason, making them one of the biggest disappointments of 2008. The curse hit the Cowboys twice in six years.

The Bengals are looking to end the "Hard Knocks" curse in 2009. Will they prevail?