America’s team makes its third appearance (after 2002 and 2008) in this Sports Emmy–winning docuseries that tackles the preseason fortunes of a single NFL franchise.
Why are the Cowboys the ideal 2021 choice for the immersive five-episode look at how squads come together?
1. A Coach at a Crossroads
Dallas—the league’s most profitable team by a country mile—has played in eight Super Bowls…but none in 25 years. Always expected to excel, the star-helmeted ’boys tanked after losing Pro Bowl quarterback Dak Prescott (above) to an ankle injury last year. Now, Dak is back, and pressure is on head coach Mike McCarthy to improve on a 6–10 record in his sophomore season.
2. Competition on the Field
Following rookies to find out who gets cut by the team is a signature of Hard Knocks. With owner Jerry Jones padding his porous defense on draft day, expect the team’s top pick, former Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, to be a starter. But fascination will be high to see who won’t make the final roster.
3. Characters off the Gridiron
Viewers will love face time for popular Prescott targets Ezekiel Elliott (the running back who punctuates good carries with his “first down” chop gesture) and receivers Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup. But another Knocks staple is finding some unique player the camera embraces. Does Dallas have its version of then-Rams defensive end William Hayes, who, in the 2016 series, boasted of believing in mermaids but not dinosaurs? The answer is in the stars.
Hard Knocks: The Dallas Cowboys, Season Premiere, Tuesday, August 10, 10/9c, HBO