For the second year in a row, NFL fans will get to watch a frequent flyer when the new season of “Hard Knocks” kicks off on HBO midway through August.
Last season, COVID-19 forced HBO and the NFL to get creative with the buildup to the 2020 regular season, and eventually led to a combined season of “Hard Knocks” with the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams.
While the season was the Chargers’ first appearance, it marked the second time the Rams had been featured in the course of five years.
A year later, HBO will dust off another classic as they welcome back the Dallas Cowboys for the franchise’s third run on “Hard Knocks.”
While the hit summer series will feature a familiar face in the show’s history, it will still provide some fresh content as the Cowboys prepare for the league’s first 17-game regular season schedule in 2021.
The show usually spans the time leading up to the first preseason game before covering the featured team’s four preseason games. That format will change drastically as a result of the NFL’s new regular-season slate, which eliminates one of the four preseason games.
Regardless of how this summer’s five episodes are mapped out, the two sides can take pride in the fact that they struck gold with the Cowboys as their pick for the 2021 season.
How to watch:
“Hard Knocks: The Dallas Cowboys” will debut on Tuesday, August 10 at 10 pm ET/7 pm PT.
Each of the season’s five hourlong episodes will air on HBO and stream on HBO MAX weekly through Tuesday, September 7.
Storylines to follow:
Arguably the biggest storyline of HBO’s 2021 season of “Hard Knocks” will be the return of Dak Prescott.
The Cowboys quarterback signed a massive four-year, $160 million contract this past offseason, less than six months after a gruesome leg injury ended his 2020 campaign after just five games.
Now, the 28-year-old star will have a national audience watching as he works his way back to full speed, all with the weight of a contract that equals out to a whopping $40 million a year on his shoulders.
Along those same lines, fans will likely see Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, a man who isn’t shy about sharing his opinions on his franchise, frequently throughout the show.
As Prescott gets back into the swing of things in the Cowboys offense, Jones will likely have cameras around him at all times for his honest assessment of the situation.
Another notable name to watch is Cowboys rookie linebacker Micah Parsons, who the team selected with the 12th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The HBO and NFL Films crews love to showcase a team’s rookie class, and Parsons will stand out as one of the best of the bunch, both on the Cowboys and in the entire league.
Filling out the fray with be familiar faces in Dallas like running back Ezekiel Elliott, wide receivers Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, and linebacker Jaylon Smith.
With injuries hindering a few of those names as training camp gets underway, it’ll be interesting to see how frequently the Cowboys’ stars play, and which other younger, fringe-level players get showcased.
Lastly, how the franchise (and the league as a whole) deals with COVID-19 in a world full of vaccines will undoubtedly be a large talking point throughout the summer, and could cause issues among players and coaches later in training camp, as well.
No matter what viewers get when “Hard Knocks” premieres on August 10, the 2021 season of HBO’s hit show is bound to give fans loads of content to enjoy before the regular season gets underway in September.