As expected, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be featured this summer on “Hard Knocks,” the HBO documentary series that provides inside access to life at an NFL training camp.
The official announcement was made Wednesday at a news conference at One Buc Place in Tampa.
With quarterback Jameis Winston entering his third season and the Bucs coming off a 9-7 campaign, there will plenty of story lines for the 30-person NFL Films crew to follow as Tampa Bay looks to earn its first playoff trip since the 2007 season. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, free-agent acquisition DeSean Jackson and wide receiver Mike Evans also figure to be prominent parts of the series.
“It was very appealing to us. (It’s a) young, charismatic roster,” said Mark Dissinger of NFL Films, who was joined by Peter Nelson of HBO Sports at the team’s facility for the announcement. “The fact that this is clearly a team on the rise, a team I would imagine would pique national interest.”
Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter was the offensive coordinator in Atlanta in 2014 when the Falcons were featured on “Hard Knocks.” Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith was the Falcons’ head coach that year, so the Tampa Bay staff will know how to handle the distractions that come with being the league’s summer sensation.
“I think it will not only be good for Bucs fans but for NFL fans around the country. We’ve got some great young guys here. I think there are some good stories there,” Koetter told reporters in Tampa. “We’re not trying to hide anything over here. I think there (are) some great stories to tell. I think the players have some great causes they’re behind outside the building. ... I think that’s the thing you try not to do. I think it’s corny if guys are faking it. So we’ll probably go with the ‘no faking it’ rule.”
The Bucs were one of eight teams under consideration for this summer, joining the Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans. Teams with a first-year head coach, a postseason appearance in the past two years or which appeared on “Hard Knocks” in the past decade were ineligible.
This will be the 12th season of “Hard Knocks.” Teams featured in the past were the Ravens (2001), Dallas Cowboys (2002, 2008), Kansas City Chiefs (2007), Cincinnati Bengals (2009, 2013), New York Jets (2010), Miami Dolphins (2012), Falcons (2014), Houston Texans (2015) and Los Angeles Rams (2016).
The five-episode show is scheduled to debut at 10 p.m. on Aug. 8.