Will Woody Johnson's supposed desire to do Hard Knocks again land his team the starring role in 2012? (US Presswire)

Just when we thought the 2012 season of Hard Knocks could be set with the Falcons, it turns out HBO will have to turn somewhere else.

ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas is reporting that Atlanta officials have turned down the starring role. According to a Yasinskas source, “the Falcons had extensive discussions about appearing on the show at every level of the organization, but eventually decided they wanted their focus for the 2012 season to be exclusively on the football field.”

A preseason with the Falcons could have been interesting with new offensive and defensive coordinators, with general manager Thomas Dimitroff, and with the receiver duo of Roddy White and Julio Jones.

Instead, you have to wonder if HBO will shift its sights back to the Jets. Although it appears coach Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum aren’t interested in making an encore appearance, owner Woody Johnson apparently wouldn’t mind doing so.

And following the Jets again could be another blast of a season, with Ryan, the Tim Tebow-Mark Sanchez dynamic, with the possibility of another contract squabble with Darrelle Revis, with Santonio Holmes, etc., etc.

"It's something we would take a look at with Mike, and the coach, and (director of media relations) Bruce (Speight), and I and others that we think would add value to that discussion, to see whether it is something we want to do," Johnson said earlier this month when asked about Hard Knocks though he was quick to point out that no formal invitation had been offered.

And while the Broncos turned down HBO already, there’s been speculation that Hard Knocks could offer a starring role to the Harbaugh brothers and feature the 49ers and the Ravens at the same time. The Jaguars also apparently have shown interest in appearing on the show.

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