Hard Time Believing “Hard Knocks” Will Happen

March 22nd, 2011

Joe brought word yesterday of a Disney blogger’s report that the Bucs are among the top teams in contention to be featured in HBO’s vaunted “Hard Knocks” series.

Joe thinks this would be so cool and Joe would be forced to break down and purchase HBO, a service he canceled the very moment “The Sopranos” went dark.

But color Joe skeptical. Joe decided to take off his Bucs cap and replace it with the fedora of a New York television executive who doesn’t give a crap about sports; only eyeballs.

Joe has learned long ago that programming, whether it be for TV or radio, cannot target the facepainters unless it’s Sirius NFL Radio. That’s because NFL Radio is a niche market (and is subscription-based).

The facepainters are a niche demographic of a niche demographic. Just go to a Bucs game for evidence. This is why you hear announcers in sports playoff games dumb down the talk as they are targeting non-sports fans or the casual sports fan.

Now let’s look at HBO and the Bucs. Generally, a TV executive is going to look at a compelling figure or a nationally known personality to highlight. Just who on the Bucs fits that bill? Joe suggests no one.

This is not the Bucs team of yore with bigger than life personalities like Warren Sapp, Simeon Rice, Meshaun Johnson, Chucky and other compelling players like John Lynch and Derrick Brooks.

Generally, HBO’s target audience is not just hardcore sports fans — who would watch “Hard Knocks” no matter the team — but hausfraus and the type of person who hosts Oscar parties serving wine coolers and spinach dip. Would any Bucs player or coach even raise an eyebrow with this demographic?

Joe suspects the answer would be, “no.” Let’s be honest, would Donald Penn or Davin Joseph, stud players that they are, ring a bell with commonfolk the way Sapp or Johnson would have years ago?

Yeah, maybe Kellen Winslow is nationally known. Maybe. But even Kellen will admit he’s not that much of an extrovert.

Color Joe suspicious that HBO would want to highlight a team that wasn’t even on Sunday or Monday or Thursday night football, and when given a chance, NBC even passed on flexing a Bucs-Saints game to televise instead the putrid Seahawks -Lambs.

Sure, Joe wants to see the Bucs on “Hard Knocks.” He just has a difficult time believing it will happen.

Not this year.

22 Responses to “Hard Time Believing “Hard Knocks” Will Happen”

  1. Leighroy Says:


    I think you make a fair point as far as the star quality of our players “now,” and certainly can’t disagree too hard with your opinion. But I don’t think its as bad as you make it out to be.

    National media HAS taken notice of the bucs recently. Freeman especially gets most of the recognition, and has been on multiple shows for interviews since the superbowl, and Blount has gotten lots of air-play based off of his leaping ability. I guarantee you the average football fan has heard of those two guys, and has heard some Raheem speak. Furthermore, I personally have seen McCoy’s picture on the disney website a few times this past month, and don’t discount the name value of Ronde Barber, especially with Tiki bringing some press back to the Barber family recently.

    Also, yes the last few Hard Knocks series have been heavy on star power, but the precedent is there, that one season doesn’t have to focus on a team with the biggest and baddest stars in the league. Name me one compelling name from the 2007 Kansas City Chiefs team other than Priest Holmes and maybe I’ll concede, but to my mind no one jumps out. And what average/casual fan knew much about the Bungles other than Chad Ochocinco and his severe case of diarrhea of the mouth/twitter fingers?

    My point is this. The whole concept of a team on the rise that we’ve been hearing from Mark and Raheem has started to catch on with the national media. Are they completely sold yet? No. But are they intrigued by the bucs, yes. HBO executives aren’t dumb, if someone presents an argument that a team like the bucs could be documented while still on the rise, and as their (our) stars are just beginning to shine, I think that could be compelling enough for the green light. I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the potential just yet, but would obviously temper any optimism with plenty of caution.

    Final additional note, don’t discount the fact that teams actually have to want to participate. Maybe other teams are unwilling, and the bucs are the most open to kicking the tires on the idea so far because of the publicity (which the Glazers desperately need) it could generate? Who knows.

  2. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Talib. Blount.

    Those are personalities that would attract them because of their past. Talib is always on a short fuse.

  3. Travis Says:

    Hardknocks doesnt target random football fans that watch 5 games a year. It targets fans that watch the games weekley, and those fans know who Blount, Mike Williams, Josh Freeman, Talib, Donald Penn, Davin Joseph, Kellen Winslow, etc are.

  4. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Good point. Add Williams in there. Will Benn turn into a great WR?

    I think they might see a team on the verge of becoming a superbowl contender.

    Let’s think this through…

    Normally, the Bucs make their Free Agent aquisitions after the draft anyway, but THIS year because of the lockout, the pickings will be better after the draft.

    That means that if the Bucs draft well, they could well consider themselves 1-2 players away from contending…and they might fill those holes with Free Agents.

    It’s theoretically possible that the Bucs could contend this year and maybe hard knocks thinks so as well. Certainly they must be tired of wasting seasons on the cowgirls.

  5. OAR Says:

    With all the new illegal hit rules, I’d say the NFL is trying to outlaw “HardKnocks” in the actual games!

  6. OAR Says:

    I find it hard to believe, myself. Sports media craps on the Bucs every year, even our 2002 year of Champions! Why is this any different?

  7. Brad Says:

    I agree with bloggers above. We have Freeman, Blount ( who is nationally known even if for the wrong reasons), Wiliams, Winslow etc etc. Besides the show spends time watching the rookies that try and make the team and their reactions when their cut. Watching Cromodrie (sp?) from the Jets trying to remember all his kids names was worse than any bad publicity the Bucs could bring. Besides other than Ryan what really big names did the Jets have other than aging veterans.

  8. Tuggz Says:

    2007 Kansas City Chiefs.

  9. D-Rome Says:

    I feel differently. I predicted last year (not that anyone noticed or cared) that the Bucs would be the next team featured on Hard Knocks and I’m sticking to that. Hard Knocks have focused on potentially exciting, up and coming teams and the Bucs fit that bill.

  10. Brad Says:

    @D-Rome.. I hope your right.

  11. Dylan Says:

    Also you cant forget we have one of the most energetic head coaches in the NFL, followed with players like aqib talib, kellen winslow, donald penn, josh freeman, legarrete blount. And recently 3rd overall pic gerald mccoy and whoever the bucs add in the draft and free agency. I think the bucs would be perfect. Raheem could make the show himself (LOL).

  12. KJ Says:

    I honestly don’t think the team matters in Hark Knocks. People watch Hard Knocks because they are sports fans and football fans and, honestly, it is great television. I personally HATE the Jets but I watched every episode last season. I also watched the Bengals and Chiefs, two teams I have no interest in whatsoever.

    The point is, I don’t think the team really matters in Hard Knocks. People will watch regardless. Plus, HBO can promo the show (if they choose the Bucs) with some interesting story lines: “Young team on the rise,” “brash young head coach,” “Franchise QB,” “Aging vet (Barber),” “Young player rehabing his image (Blount),” “Trying to drum up fan interest,” the list goes on and on…

  13. JDouble Says:

    Sorry to ruin your festival of negativity joe but you are completely wrong. Before the jets they had the jacksonville jag wires in the cincinnati bengals… do you think those teams have more national appeals in the Bucs?

    As far as not having an exciting characters… Morris is a very popular up and coming coach and he is taylor made for a show like this. How about the story of Blount? Freeman is 1 of the hottest young players in the league. So is mike williams. Kellen winslow is a big name. And then you have the rest of the roster that makes up the youngest team in the nfl… Whether you wear rose colored glasses or not the Bucs Make more sense than any other team for the hard knock show.

  14. KJ Says:

    Yeah, I tend to agree. Again, people watch Hard Knocks because they love the SHOW not necessarily the team. For example, I don’t know any buddy of mine who wouldn’t watch the show if they had the Seahawks or some west coast team on. Every team is interesting in their own way. That’s whats great about the NFL. Even a crap team like the Panthers is interesting bc now they have the #1 pick. I really don’t think the team matters all that much in terms of ratings for Hard Knocks.

  15. BigMacAttack Says:

    I think rich McKay is a closet kweer, and only likes stroking opposed to hitting.

    He was bullied far too much as a kid…. by Faine’s Bitch.

  16. HFXBUC Says:

    You right on JOE! The bucs aren’t good enough as a team, as ‘personalities’. There is a movement to shut down the team because ownership sucks, the fans suck, the people who write about them suck. Apparently that is the biggest sticking point in the negotiations…the league wants the Bucs franchise contracted and the players do but they can’t agree on how to dismantle RJ Stadium which I believe you mentioned sucks too…

    either way it sucks and that’s, that.

    thanks for the insight, and since I’m in marketing I came up with a new tag line for you JoeBucsFan – If it’s Bucs….it sucks.

  17. OAR Says:

    “thanks for the insight, and since I’m in marketing I came up with a new tag line for you JoeBucsFan – If it’s Bucs….it sucks.”
    Wow, very thought provoking and orginal! In marketing, huh? Sounds like you should moonlight then, cause your day job sounds like your not good at it!

  18. Camby Says:

    I’ll have to agree with Joe. The diehards are going to watch the show regardless of what team is featured. But thats not who HBO is trying to get. They already know those people will watch. They’re trying to get soccer mom and Joe Box of wine to watch, the casual fan, or someone who does not even really follow sports, but enjoys the drama that HBO portrays at camp. Enigmatic coach, check (Morris) young stud, check (Freeman) interesting/well knows personalities…(?) We’ve seen Chad Johnson, the Revis saga, Rex Ryan making Eddie Murphy blush with his colorful language, what or who exactly is going to do that for the Bucs? Absent the Bucs signing some free agent that would pique the interest of lay fan, like a Tiki Barber or a TO (both terrible signings for the Bucs anyway) they lack a “name” that would tempt casual fan to watch.

  19. Dave Says:

    I am REALLY hoping they DO NOT get Hard Knocks.
    1. It might be distracting for a young team
    2. I really do not want to pay for HBO. I cancelled them the minute they got rid of Sopranos and Dennis MIller and hired Bill “The hyporcitical idiot” Maher

    Really though, I think Raheem and McCoy and Williams and Talib would make great TV. I also think Freeman would come across as an absolute steadfast stud of a leader.

    But seriosuly, for the 2 reasons I mentioned, I hope they do not do it.

  20. Joe Says:


    You have a vivid imagination.

    Joe never said The CITS “sucks.” Joe has said it is overrated and it’s quite easy to see how it won’t be long before Goodell wants upgrades in the stadium before another Super Bowl is awarded.

    As for the NFL wanting to contract the Bucs, just how in the world did you concoct that premise?

  21. Joe Says:

    do you think those teams have more national appeals in the Bucs?

    Maybe you hadn’t heard of Chad Muchostinko (even little girls have heard of him, not arguing his merit as a football player) and Carson Palmer before?

    (Hint: Palmer was a studboy quarterback for the most popular college team in the nation’s second biggest TV market.)

    The old Bucs would have been the perfect team to feature but Chucky and Bruce Almighty were not media friendly so that was never going to happen. 🙁

  22. BigMacAttack Says:

    I prefer Showtime to HBO anyway.

    “Inside NFL” is pretty good with the #1 Loudmouth Buc Hater Sapp. Raheem proved him wrong week in and week out. Joe Theismann was the first guy to jump on the Buc Train last season. Props to part time Joe. With a name like Joe, you have to be hip, eh?

    “Weeds” is my favorite with Mary Louise Parker. She is so Hot!!! Naked too. Then you have “Dexter” the ultimate serial killer. Really, who wouldn’t want to kill douche-bags for a living and then cover it up. And “Shameless” keeps me rolling on the floor. Insomnia is a wonderful thing when there is uncensored TV.

    As for HBO,
    I liked Sopranos, but the last season sucked. “Larry LD David” is a walking train wreck. I love that guy. And the ONLY way I’d watch “Hard Knocks” is IF the Bucs were on there. I don’t care about the other 31 teams. As far as I’m concerned they all suck.