HBO's new show "Ballers" isn't the first to depict professional football, nor is it the first television program to show aspects of the game the NFL would like to overlook. But, as Sunday night's premiere demonstrated, "Ballers" is the first fictional TV show in recent history to use actual NFL logos.

With rare exceptions (like the NFL-approved Draft Day), movies and TV shows have shied away from using actual team logos, presumably for trademark reasons.

But "Ballers," which stars Dwayne Johnson as an NFL player-turned-agent, is different. The show clearly used the logos of the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills during a scene in the first episode, and it appears this will continue throughout the first season.

Entertainment lawyer Michael C. Donaldson told Jason Guerrasio of Business Insider that HBO has no need to get the NFL's permission for the use of its team logos. As long as the use of the logos doesn't tarnish or disparage the league, Donaldson said, there's no problem.

“[The NFL] brow beat a lot of people into paying fees that don’t have to be paid,” Donaldson told Business Insider. “They extract those fees from filmmakers who are either nervous or not completely aware of their rights under the law.”

People who have seen the trailer for "Ballers" might not realize there are logos in the show, as the helmets and uniforms of players have been scrubbed of any evidence. This may have been a way for HBO to avoid any controversy before the airing of the first episode.

And unfortunately for the NFL, because its players have been involved in various incidents that tarnish the league's image, the show can portray less-than-ideal behavior and get away with it.

“Players have engaged in domestic violence and then convicted of that, and NFL players have committed murder," Chris Perez, Donaldson's partner at the law firm, told Business Insider. "So you can create a show that uses NFL logos and create a fiction situation where all of those things happen.”

It's fair to wonder how this might affect HBO's relationship with the NFL, which grants the network special access for the popular training camp series "Hard Knocks." While the NFL hasn't commented on the show, HBO had this to say:

"HBO is always mindful of other intellectual property owners, but in this context there is no legal requirement to obtain their consent.”

On the other hand, the NFL could benefit from "Ballers" if the show turns out to be successful.

The program has lots of NFL connections, including cameos by Victor Cruz and Clay Matthews. Former running back Rashard Mendehall is a writer on the show.

Check out more NFL stories on ThePostGame.

Best, Worst NFL Team Arrest Rates



Adrian Peterson is the poster-child, but the Vikings have a genuinely systemic problem: Their 32 arrests in the past 10 years are tied for the league lead. As fans grow impatient with illegal activity among players, franchises like Minnesota's may feel the heat for their role.



Tied with the Vikings is the Denver Broncos, which has had as many arrests since 2005 as the NFL has teams. Despite the well-known locker room presences of Tim Tebow and then Peyton Manning, Broncos players have a knack for finding trouble.



With their recent streak of playoff appearances, you can't quite call them the Bungles. But that string of successes has come amid plenty of off-field problems: Cincinnati's NFL team has had 31 arrests since 2005.



Pacman Jones may be one of the team's most notorious criminal problems, but he's far from alone. In the past 10 years, a Titans player has been arrested 30 times.



It's fitting that a franchise that flies a pirate flag at games would be on the lesser end of the player-arrest spectrum. The Bucs have struggled with off-field problems in the last decade, tallying 26 arrests.



Carolina is one of three teams with only nine arrests in 10 years. Only five of the NFL's 32 teams have averaged fewer than one arrest per year.



The Cowboys can't seem to put it all together and make a run at the Super Bowl, but their off-field distractions aren't a major detractor. The franchise has just nine arrests to its name since 2005.



Maybe it's the steady leadership of coach Bill Belichick, who has always had a no-nonsense approach to being a team leader. If so, his system is working: the Patriots have the third-best mark in the league with only nine arrests in the past decade.



On the downside, rookie head coach Bill O'Brien inherited a team that went 2-14 last season. On the bright side, the locker room hasn't been crawling with bad influences. Houston has had only eight arrests in the past 10 years, the second-best mark in the NFL.



That's right: The least criminally offensive NFL team can be found in Arizona. The Cardinals franchise can claim just seven arrests in the past 10 years.

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