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The Original Hard Knocks: The 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Tonight, another season of the annual Hard Knocks series starts, airing on HBO. Each year, one team volunteers to open up their training camp for NFL Films and HBO, giving the fans a look at the life of an NFL player. It's always interesting, even though the drama is always overdone. It's doubtful that this would actually ever help a team win, and given Greg Schiano's penchant for secrecy, we'll likely never see the Bucs on Hard Knocks during his tenure. But fear not, Bucs fans, we do have footage of the Bucs in training camp - or rather, the 1976 Bucs.

In the first year of the Bucs' existence, the team opened its doors for NFL Films. The result was an interesting film: Birth of the Bucs, a film about the makings of a historic failure in the NFL. The NFL Films blog takes it away:

While BIRTH OF THE BUCS deals exclusively with the Buccaneers' summer camp, the first thing that strikes you about the film is that it perfectly captures a disaster-in-the-making. The Bucs' inaugural season would be historic, in the Hindenburg sense. Their 0-14 record established a new standard for pro football futility. The team was shut out 5 times and averaged 9 points a game. No team in NFL history has ever been as bad as those Bucs, and you can see how the seeds of their impending troubles were sown during training camp. Yet, another striking aspect of BIRTH OF THE BUCS is how stylish it is - awfulness never looked or sounded so good.

Interesting, but if you want to see the footage - and trust me, you want to see the footage - you can head over to that very same NFL Films blog and view a lot of clips from Birth of the Bucs. It's worth a watch, even if it isn't about the current Buccaneers.

Of course, if you do want to see the current Buccaneers on Hard Knocks, you'll have to wait one week. The Bucs play the Miami Dolphins on Friday, and that's sure to be featured in next week's Hard Knocks episode.