Hard Knocks selects the Bucs, calls them a 'team on the rise'
On the day that Hard Knocks, the HBO sports reality series, announced they were going to training camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dirk Koetter’s reaction was reflective of most head coaches in the National Football League.
“I like watching the show,’’ Koetter said. “I wish I wasn’t on it.’’
But for five weeks, with the premier episode scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 8 at 10 p.m., the Bucs will be the focus of the award-winning series in conjunction with NFL Films.
Matt Dissinger, the director of the show for NFL Films, said the Bucs were chosen ahead of seven other eligible teams because they are considered an ascending franchise with young stars such as quarterback Jameis Winston.
“I think the fact that this is clearly a team on the rise,’’ Dissinger said. “A team I would imagine would peak national interest. I’m sure the fans here in Tampa are very excited. But I think this is an opportunity to get Jameis (Winston), Mike Evans, Gerald McCoy – this gets some of those names out to a national audience. And it’s very appealing to us. A young, charismatic roster. I think it’s a good match. It seems like whatever team we choose on a year to year basis, it’s almost a perfect point in time for us to be there and that’s the way I feel about this season with Tampa.’’
Hard Knocks will have an NFL Film crew of 30 people recording more than 1,500 hours of tape during the filming of the series. At least 10 players and/or coaches will wear microphones and the crews will have access to every room in the facility and will shoot footage away from One Buc Place. That means there are 350 hours of film for every one hour episode which has averaged 3.9-million viewers over the last three seasons.
Koetter said about a dozen players on the Bucs roster have been part of Hard Knocks with other teams during their career. Defensive coordinator Mike Smith was the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons and Koetter was the offensive coordinator when the series went to training camp with them in 2014.
Both general Jason Licht and Koetter said they did not believe Hard Knocks would be a distraction to the football team preparing for the 2017 season.
“This is the NFL. There are bright lights,’’ Koetter said. “I look at it as it’s just part of the deal. I think we’ll be fine. I think we’ll be fine. There’s going to be some stuff. It’s a TV show. The real TV shows are Sundays in the fall. Those are the ones I worry about.
“In different markets around the country, there is more attention paid. We’re not, by any means, a team that’s paid the most attention. We’d like to be. We’d like to be the team that’s playing at the end of the season. Once again, this is just part of it."