The rumblings and intrigue of HBO’s training camp series “Hard Knocks” choosing the Buccaneers is beginning to gain momentum.
“Hard Knocks” – the all-access, behind the scenes look at an NFL team during training camp – is always an interesting watch. And what fans don’t love the chance to see things they’d never otherwise see when it comes to their favorite team? The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are one of eight teams that could be chosen and required to host the HBO series should no one volunteer based on certain requirements as to which teams are eligible.
Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times sent out a message recently; like it or not, the Buccaneers would be the best option. As part of the argument as to why, Stroud states;
"“Jameis Winston could be ratings gold. The camera captures charisma. Cut to Winston driving in the dark to One Buc Place, interacting with coaches and teammates. Oh, the motivational moments. (“We some dogs, we ain’t no puppies!’)Mike Evans is a budding superstar, but not shy about speaking his mind. You will see the intensity of Kwon Alexander and Robert Ayers. There will be bleeps. Gerald McCoy is constantly counting his blessings.Coach Dirk Koetter is a heck of a lot more intense than anybody outside of One Buc Place realizes.”"
Hard to argue any of that.
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Now, is this legitimate or a local media member sticking up – in a way – for the team he covers to be the chosen one? Well, he’s certainly not the only person to find the Bucs an entertaining option.
Amy Parlapiano of SI.com ranked the Buccaneers number two of the best options out of the eight teams. In her rankings, she says;
"“It is safe to say we will likely never have a Hard Knocks coach who will live up to Rex Ryan’s standout performance from a few years ago, and it is perhaps even safer to say that second-year coach Dirk Koetter will not be telling his team to “go eat a goddamn snack.” Still, last season’s Rams had Jeff Fisher at the helm, and he’s not exactly someone who brings words like “entertaining” and “hilarious” to mind, so Koetter would probably be fine. Like the Titans, the Bucs fell just short of the playoffs this year and appear to be a team on the rise. They have plenty of characters to hone in on, from their charismatic and polarizing star-in-the-making at QB to a major weapon in Mike Evans to a second-year pass rusher with his own troubled past in Noah Spence, to an under-the-radar but solid offensive guard Ali Marpet who breaks the mold in his own way. Plus—and yes, I realize what I’m about to do is make the case for a compelling storyline involving a kicker—they could devote a good amount of time to the trials and tribulations of second-round pick Roberto Aguayo, who will be seeking redemption after an awful rookie year.”"
"I wasn’t sure where to slot the Bucs, and then I saw this story come down on Thursday morning about Jameis Winston speaking to a bunch of elementary school kids earlier this week.Jameis Winston is a decent bet to do at least one polarizing, controversial thing over the course of a training camp. Let’s do this, Tampa Bay!”"
So, his entire basis of the Buccaneers being on the show is because of a bogus story and he’s betting Winston will do something else that’s equally as controversial. Not exactly sound reasoning – especially to those that understood it was a simple mistake. However, a network may think the way Pendergast did and bank on ratings gold from a player doing/saying something egregious and Winston’s slip up at Melrose Elementary is exactly what they’d look for.
As a fan, I’d love to see the behind the scenes stuff. See Koetter pumping up the team like he did in his “big stick” speech we’ve all come to know and love so well. To see Licht making calls and moving pieces. It’s fascinating television.
On the other hand, teams that appear on Hard Knocks don’t exactly have the best luck. In the eleven seasons of the show, the teams appearing are a combined 86-90. Of those eleven teams, only five have made the playoffs and only one actually won a playoff game (2010 New York Jets).
Yes, the Buccaneers could make for entertaining and compelling television, but the inconvenience isn’t worth the exposure.