The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced Wednesday that they'll be featured in the upcoming 12th (!) season of the HBO training-camp series Hard Knocks. Here's what to expect when the cameras, boom mics and producers make their way to Florida.
Kirby LeeKirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Soft-lit feature on dude who fires cannons after Bucs touchdowns
You can practically hear the Liev Schreiber voiceover: "While Jameis Winston is the most explosive Buccaneer on the field, there's one man who has far more firepower off of it. He goes by Scurvy Steve, but in his non-plundering afternoons he's known as Steve Pollarine, a veteran of Tampa's game day event staff. Whenever the Bucs score a touchdown -- and this year Jameis Winston and Mike Evans expect to have many -- the earth shakes beneath the feet of the Bucs faithful, but it's always Scurvy Steve who's responsible for the biggest rumble."
Kim KlementKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Someone making fun of 5-6 Jacquizz Rodgers' height
Someone will call Jacquizz a standard nickname for a short guy he's heard thousands of times in his career but, with the cameras moving and producers nudging, Rodgers will get mad about it and challenge the guy to a ping-pong match for total manhood supremecy. And they'll play, too, because Tom Coughlin works for the Jags, not the Bucs.
A sideline discussion involving a player who adamantly believes the world is flat
Much like last year's dino-truthers, expect HBO to find at least one Bucs player who subscribes to the more-popular-than-you-think theory that the world is flat, even though Pythagoras and Aristotle knew otherwise 2,600 years ago. A globe will find its way into the locker room, and incredulous teammates will point out that, hey, the earth looks pretty round. It will be denounced as "dark magic."
The Jameis wish list
Producers will shadow Jameis Winston on an off-day with the sole purpose of hoping he makes a trip to the grocery store.
Hearing Dirk Koetter speak for the first time and probably seeing him for the first time
While the Bucs kept a relatively low profile in 2016, their coach, the heretofore non-famous Dirk Koetter, had an ever lower one. As Tampa gets into the national spotlight with Hard Knocks and, it hopes, a run at the NFC South, we'll be introduced to Koetter and his methods of crushing players' dreams with a camera rolling.
But don't expect Koetter to enjoy himself. In the presser on Wednesday he said: "I like watching the show. I wish I wasn't on it."
Bill StreicherBill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
A fight that involves a grown man punching another man's helmet with his bare hand
It's Hard Knocks' version of a catchphrase. Every year there are least two or three scuffles (more in the Rams' season) during camp -- the usual pushing, shoving and occasional punching. NBD. But it's always grand when a guy decides to deck a guy who's wearing a helmet, as if temporarily unaware the piece of equipment that keeps him safe as he plows into a receiver in a mini car-crash isn't going to do the same when he's throwing a haymaker.
An intro that intersperses football training highlights with the sights and sounds of Tampa
The Hard Knocks intro does three things: It shows players training, it tries to give viewers a flavor for the team's city and, when everything comes together, it should players training in locations that give a viewer said flavor.
Last year's intro for Los Angeles was pretty predictable. Close your eyes and you can probably get it like 80 percent correct. It was basically Randy Newman's I Love L.A. video with more inspiring music. The Hollywood Hills. Rodeo Drive. Models walking in packs and pushing down their sunglasses for a closer look like those creeper guys in 1980s lite-beer commercials. Guys running past the Hollywood Hills, Rodeo Drive and the leering models.
It's a great formula. To capture the essence of Tampa, expect the usual training montage plus various shots of Busch Gardens, riding a roller coaster at Busch Gardens and taking a road trip to dine at the Olive Garden in Clearwater.
John McKay clips
HBO will show players the amazing old clips of the first Bucs coach John McKay, who oversaw the franchise's 0-26 start with his trademark wit and taciturn nature. When once asked about his team's execution, he said he was in favor of it.
A metaphorical scene in the pre-credits sequence of the first episode
Last year, the world was introduced to the 2016 Los Angeles with a not-so-subtle scene that showed No. 1 pick Jared Goff and some unnamed teammates going for a ride in the Goodyear blimp, a clear trope intended to mimic the Rams' hope of rising over Los Angeles in its first season there. The blimp thankfully landed safely because the appropriate end to the metaphor would have been a Hindenburg-style crash.
What's the best way to showcase the upcoming 8-8 Bucs season? I don't know; maybe finding the straightest stretch of I-75 and artistically filming a 1997 Hyundai Elantra driving the speed limit? They can get the "flat earth" guy to drive.