Bucs make right call on 'Hard Knocks'

When I got the news a little bit ago that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have decided not to be featured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks’’ this summer, my first thought was “opportunity lost.’’

That lasted all of about five seconds. When you put just a little bit of thought into this one, it’s easy to see the Bucs made the right call.

A team official said the decision ultimately came down to the team wanting to keep things focused “on the field’’ this season, but wouldn’t rule out an appearance in a future year.

That’s the right call because the Bucs do need to stay focused on the field right now. They’re a team that seems to be on the rise after last season’s 10-6 record. But they’re not a finished product yet.

Every time general manager Mark Dominik and coach Raheem Morris were asked about “Hard Knocks’’ they made references to wanting to be sure their team could live up to the hype. I have very little doubt the Bucs are headed in the right direction, but putting them on “Hard Knocks’’ would have turned up the dial on the hype many times over. The expectations could have grown out of control and taking the spotlight might have had an adverse impact on the team.

Maybe in a year or two, “Hard Knocks’’ will work for the Bucs. But they’re a team that didn’t quite make the playoffs last season. They don’t need to go ahead and anoint themselves just yet.

Continue with the building program that’s in place, have another winning season and a playoff appearance and the Bucs won’t have to anoint themselves. When they’ve truly earned the spotlight, it will be obvious. It’s better to have someone else anoint them when the time is right.