The greatest sports-related program in television history just received assurance from the NFL that it will continue to air the show even if no team is interested in subjecting itself to the national spotlight.

A source in the room told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport the league passed a rule Tuesday that will compel one team per year to participate in the HBO/NFL Films joint venture "Hard Knocks."

The league still will ask for volunteers. If one is not forthcoming a team will be appointed. All organizations will be eligible with the exception of those that have made the playoffs for two consecutive seasons and those who have participated in the previous 10 seasons.

This is a tacit acknowledgment from the NFL that the show's range and power are an invaluable asset to professional football regardless of any perceived invasion of privacy.

Fans will continue to revel in the now classic training-camp story lines: including the lovable underdog coach tantrums position battles and rookie hazing.