at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 24, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

We’re a little bit closer to finding out which franchise is going to grace HBO’s airwaves this summer as the stars of Hard Knocks. With no team stepping forward as of yet, it looks increasingly likely that the NFL and HBO are going to have to make the decision to choose among the eligible teams for the program. 

And according to a report from the Tampa Bay Times, the Buccaneers are bracing for the possibility that they will be the team selected to participate.

It’s looking more and more like this might happen. The Bucs believe they are among the top candidates to be chosen for HBO’s Hard Knocks, the sports documentary produced in conjunction with NFL Films.

Tampa Bay is among eight teams eligible for mandatory inclusion. The Bucs lost their way into contention. You can only be selected if you don’t have a new head coach, haven’t reached the playoffs in the past two seasons and haven’t appeared on the show in a decade.

The Bucs have vowed full cooperation but have asked the league and network for an answer next week.

“I think our players are at a point in their maturity that they would be able to handle it,” co-chairman Joel Glazer said. “They recognize what goes along with it. We’ll always be supportive of the league. Nobody is rushing to the podium for that necessarily. But I do feel I have great confidence in this team.”

If one of the Glazers is speaking publicly about Hard Knocks, that’s a pretty good sign that this is going to happen.

The Bucs ranked 5th out of 8 teams on our ranking of the Hard Knocks eligible teams so I can imagine that NFL fans would meet this development (if Tampa Bay officially becomes the choice) with a collective “meh.” There just seems to be so many more interesting stories out there, quite frankly. The Browns’ perpetual rebuilding mode and attempt to revolutionize front office management would be very compelling to watch at this stage. And it’s not too often that Hard Knocks gets the chance to chronicle a Hall of Fame quarterback like Drew Brees in New Orleans. Those two would seem to be the two best options.

Tampa Bay, though? Sure it might be interesting to watch Jameis Winston continue to develop and mature but besides that? I guess there’s the intrigue around whether or not former second round pick Roberto Aguayo can hold on to his job. When your kicker battle is the second biggest storyline, it probably means it’s going to require all of HBO’s creative capabilities to make this a truly interesting season.

[Tampa Bay Times]