The new season of HBO’s Hard Knocks will follow America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys, who will be making their third appearance on the show, having been previously featured in 2002 and 2008.
The unfiltered five-episode series chronicling the team’s training camp in Oxnard, California will debut on Tuesday, Aug. 10 at 10 p.m. with the season finale slated to air on Sept. 7. Liev Schreiber will once again serve as narrator, marking his 15th season with the show, which will have encore plays on Wednesday nights and will be available on both HBO and HBO Max.
The Cowboys enter the 2021 NFL season looking to improve upon last year’s third-place finish in the NFC East. In the second year under head coach Mike McCarthy, the Cowboys look forward to having franchise quarterback Dak Prescott back under center to lead Dallas’ high-powered offense, which features the likes of running back Ezekiel Elliott, and wide receivers Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb. You can also expect to see a whole lot of team owner Jerry Jones, who has always been very hands-on when it comes to the iconic franchise.
“We are thrilled that Hard Knocks will be returning this summer and excited for our return to the NFC East and the Dallas Cowboys franchise,” said HBO Sports VP Jonathan Crystal. “We are beyond grateful to the Cowboys for opening up their doors and allowing HBO and NFL Films to spend the summer with one of the sport’s world’s truly iconic franchises as they prepare for the upcoming season.”
“The Cowboys are one of the most storied franchises in NFL history and a team that elicits strong reactions from fans around the world,” said NFL Films VP Ken Rodgers. “Tens of millions of fans love them, but just as many people love to hate them. Either way, when the Cowboys show up people watch, which makes them perfect for Hard Knocks. This year, their high-profile status as “America’s Team” is paired with uniquely interesting storylines. We can’t thank Mr. Jones and Coach McCarthy enough for letting us tell the story behind what we hope is the beginning of an exciting year in Dallas.”
A 30-person NFL Films crew will be at Cowboys’ training camp, shooting more than 1,750 hours of footage over the course of the series. Camera and sound crews will have unencumbered access to players’ and coaches’ meeting rooms, training rooms, living quarters and practice fields. The series launched in 2001 with the Baltimore Ravens, and last year’s unprecedented season — given the pandemic — featured both the Los Angeles Chargers and the Los Angeles Rams. The Hard Knocks series has won 18 Sports Emmy Awards to date, and episodes have averaged 3.7 million viewers over the past five years.
I’m a big fan of Hard Knocks and though I would’ve loved to see HBO head up to Lambeau Field to keep an eye on the drama surrounding Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers heading into the season, I can see the widespread appeal of the Cowboys. Honestly, I’m fine so long as the cameras stay away from my Patriots, who lost a step with the departure of Tom Brady and seem to play better when they’re flying under the radar anyway.
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