Better choices for HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are reportedly the front-runners to be the subject of this year’s “Hard Knocks” on HBO. Not a terrible choice. Raheem Morris, Josh Freeman and the crew could be fun. But it just seems like there are some other choices that might make for more “must-see TV.” HBO realizes that Jon Gruden, Warren Sapp and Keyshawn Johnson are gone, right?

Are the Raiders ready for prime time? (Paul Sakum/Associated Press)

With that in mind, we present our top six choices to be the subject of “Hard Knocks.” (Only drawing from the pool of teams that have not participated in the past.)

But one team that failed to make the cut:

The Patriots. One foot joke (or 20) from Wes Welker, and Bill Belichick would shut down production. Even without that, how would producers fill time with the stoic coach repressing the fun, like the NFL’s version of Dean Wormer? Even the guys who managed to stretch 15 minutes of material on “Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock Hotel” into a 60-minute, weekly series would find the Patriots too vexing. In fact, the Patriots would probably kill the franchise. Even worse than the Chiefs’ attempt in 2007.

Alright, let’s get to the six.

6. Indianapolis Colts

Compelling storyline: Curtis Painter‘s mother complaining that Peyton Manning never takes a play off, preventing her son from ever getting into a real NFL game. A tearful meeting with Jim Sorgi‘s mother could be a “very special episode.”

Potential breakout star: Judging from his Twitter account, Colts owner Jim Irsay is the runaway choice.

5. San Diego Chargers

Compelling storyline: Figuring out which potential Pro Bowl player general manager A.J. Smith is going to keep from playing for the Chargers this season.

Potential breakout star: Chargers QB Philip Rivers cements himself as the Gordon Ramsay of the NFL.

4. San Francisco 49ers

Compelling storyline: New coach Jim Harbaugh calls out Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, and says the 49ers have the talent to compete for the Pac-10 title. When pressed by reporters if he means NFC West, Harbaugh says, “No, I am talking about the stronger conference right now.”

Potential breakout star: QB Alex Smith. Oh wait, we’ve been waiting for this since 2005. We haven’t waited this long for a failed experiment since Guns-n-Roses’ “Chinese Democracy.”

3. Buffalo Bills

Compelling storyline: A good television series hasn’t been set in Buffalo since “Jesse” went off the air. Alright, a television series hasn’t been set in Buffalo since “Jesse” went off the air. But Buffalo deserves a break, especially after losing out to Miami for the last CSI franchise.

Breakout star: Hey, if the Bills draft QB Cam Newton, what better place for the icon and entertainer to get his start than HBO?

2. Seattle Seahawks

Compelling storyline: The Seahawks are investigated after the 12th Man is rumored to purchase a home for the parents of RB Marshawn Lynch.

Potential breakout star: Charlie Whitehurst‘s neck beard.

1. Oakland Raiders

Compelling storyline: This is a tough one because remaking a popular series from the 1970s into TV shows has recently failed, just look at Hawaii Five-0. But even their press conferences are more interesting than most teams in general. Seriously, why hasn’t this happened yet?

Potential breakout star: Al Davis‘ overhead projector.

Now that you’ve heard from me, which team would you like to see on Hard Knocks?