On Wednesday, in front of a packed auditorium at One Buc Place, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced that they will officially be the 2017 participants for the HBO and NFL Films documentary series Hard Knocks.

Though this wasn’t a volunteered honor by the team, both head coach Dirk Koetter and general manager Jason Licht have fully accepted the responsibility ahead.

The show first aired in 2001 and featured the Baltimore Ravens after their Super Bowl victory. The show took years off in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2011 and has featured nine other teams including the Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals twice. 

In October of 2013, the NFL announced that if no team offered to volunteer to participate in the show, the league could force a team to participate. The Bucs didn’t lobby to appear on the show, instead since no team volunteered, the Bucs were chosen. Although the program was essentially forced on the Bucs, they are embracing the opportunity to showcase their team. 

At the press conference on Monday, NFL Films Director, Matt Dissinger, mentioned these three aspects of the Buccaneers that ultimately made them their choice.

1. A TEAM ON THE RISE
Dissinger made it a point to note that this Buccaneers team was a “team on the rise”. Over the last three seasons, the Bucs have improved their record from 2-14 to 6-10, and finally last year at 9-7. I’m sure HBO also knew that the Buccaneers were a game away – or, the flip of a win, really – from making the playoffs and not even being eligible for the show. Having the opportunity to have that kind of team in your lap is a lucky situation for national interest. 

2. YOUNG, CHARISMATIC ROSTER
Going into last season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the 8th youngest team in the NFL with an average age of 25.7. Though they did add some free agents over that age line, they’ll be adding a handful of rookies, which, depending on their ages should keep that number in the Top 10 (certainly the half).

There’s an appeal to getting the chance to be the “first” to show the nation a player who could be the next great diamond in the rough. Though Tampa Bay fans may recognize the names, most of the people around the country won’t. From an organization that clearly succeeds with younger talent, the odds of finding that special player seem to be greater in the Tampa Bay – or at least HBO thinks so.

3. GIVING BIG NAMES THE BIG PLATFORM
Finally, Dissinger mentioned the big names, “Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, Gerald McCoy.”

The opportunity could be a well-positioned move to get Winston into the proper spotlight nationally. Usually when Winston makes national news it’s for all the wrong reasons. When Koetter and Licht were asked about that element of the show for their star quarterback, both stated that anyone who spends time around Winston knows the kind of person he is, and hope this show convinces many others for good.

It could also be a nice coming out party for a player who has certainly captured the attention of Buccaneers fans over the last two years, but remains mostly unknown to those around the globe and that is linebacker Kwon Alexander. Licht mentioned Alexander’s name as the second name out of his mouth when asked about which personalties he thinks could shine during the show. This organization loves Alexander, and chances are the rest of the country will, too. It could be a nice boost in popularity to match his top-notch production, which could potentially help him get the All-Pro honors he’s been chasing.

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About the Author: Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]
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Brandonges
Brandonges
5 years ago

And here I thought it was the kicking competition with Roberto

Destino102
Destino102
5 years ago

This Matt Dissinger guy has Mark Dominik hair. I don’t trust him.

Destino102
Destino102
Reply to  Destino102
5 years ago

and they both have initials M.D.!!! HE’S A SABATUER!!!!

e
e
Reply to  Destino102
5 years ago

As long as he doesn’t draft like Dominick, I think we’re good. It’s sort of a hybrid Dominick-Kiper.

Destino102
Destino102
Reply to  e
5 years ago

The author of this article, a Mr Trevor Malory Sikkema, has stated on the the PR podcast, that Mark Dominik was the greatest draft GM the Bucs have ever had, possible in the NFL, and he Always, ALWAYS, makes the best picks. : )

MudManVA
MudManVA
5 years ago

Didn’t volunteer, forced, 8th youngest team, good reality TV, and likely exempt next year (maybe if hard knocks doesn’t cripple them out of the gates).

Selfishly we all want our team front & center, and see our team/players. IF they r too young for this (especially with the Dougie drama) 1 step back and not on the rise after all. Worry about the rookies.

Poor Koetter

avocat
avocat
Reply to  MudManVA
5 years ago

The word is charismatic. You guys need a spell checker.

chetthevette
chetthevette
5 years ago

$5.95 per month, that’s the cheapest way I found to watch Hard Knocks on HBO without having to stream crappy stuff off the internet. been a long time since I’ve had HBO and forgot how good their shows were. As a bonus I get to re-watch the Wire, the best cops and robbers show ever, and the Soprano’s, forget about it!!
I don’t know how this will turn out but I’m watching it.
GO BUCS

chetthevette
chetthevette
5 years ago

I did not say where I bought this, free advertising is not my gig.
GO BUCS