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Thursday, March 21, 2013
Today in NFC South history

By Pat Yasinskas

On this date in 2011, I reported from the NFL owners meeting in New Orleans that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were a leading candidate to appear on HBO’s “Hard Knocks’’.

As it turned out, that didn’t happen. The show, which features a behind-the-scenes look at a team during training camp, didn’t air in 2011. That was due largely to the lockout that summer.

But there’s a behind-the-scenes story about why the Bucs, a team that could have used some national exposure, ultimately declined to be featured.

The Bucs were coming off a 10-6 season in 2010 and were viewed as a team on the rise. When the talks first started, former Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris was a big proponent of opening the doors for “Hard Knocks.’’ Some people in the marketing and ticket departments also thought this was a good idea.

There was a lot of debate within the organization and the team came close to accepting. But, when the dust settled, the final decision was to pass because the Bucs ultimately decided they truly hadn’t arrived and didn’t want to put too much pressure on a young team.

That ended up being a wise move. The 2011 season ended up being a disaster for the Bucs and for Morris. The Bucs got off to a 4-2 start, but they didn’t win another game. All sorts of bizarre things took place during a 10-game losing streak that ended up costing Morris his job.