HBO to launch fictional football series

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It’s been more than a decade since ESPN pulled the plug on Playmakers, at the behest of former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

Another network that doesn’t televise NFL games is going to give it another try.

According to Deadline.com, HBO has picked up the series Ballers, which explores the lives of a group of former and current football players.  Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars in the series, and he serves as executive producer with Mark Wahlberg.

The series also marks the acting debut of John David Washington, the son of Denzel Washington and a former football player who spent time with the Rams, but who never placed in a regular-season game.  John David Washington also played in NFL Europe/Europa/Whateva and the UFL.

The show begins production later this year.

Of course, HBO has been the long-time home of Hard Knocks.  If the league doesn’t react favorably to Ballers, HBO may have to choose between the two shows.