Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Hard Knocks: The Dallas Cowboys’ on HBO Max, a Behind-The-Scenes Look at “America’s Team”

For sixteen of the final twenty seasons, HBO has kicked off the upcoming NFL season by giving viewers a deep-dive look inside one fortunate (or unfortunate, relying on their perspective) group’s locker room and coaching camp with Hard Knocks. This yr, they’re returning to one of the eye-grabbing groups within the league, with Laborious Knocks: The Dallas Cowboys marking the venerable Texas group’s third look on the present. Coming off one of many strangest seasons in league historical past, it guarantees to be an interesting window into the NFL’s new regular.

Opening Shot: A detailed-up digicam shot of Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott’s surgery-scarred ankle, a reminder of the season-ending damage he suffered final November. Prescott relives the damage, interspersed with sport footage of it occurring, and displays on the way it felt to have a season finish so abruptly.

The Gist: Love them or hate them—and it appears nearly each American soccer fan falls cleanly into certainly one of these two camps—the Dallas Cowboys are hardly ever forgotten. Led by one of many largest-looming and most controversial homeowners in sports activities, the at-times-cartoonish however maniacally-devoted billionaire Jerry Jones, the ‘Boys play within the largest, most costly stadium within the league, have a few of the most vocal and wide-spread followers, and cling tight to the questionable moniker of “America’s Crew”.

The group is at a crossroads coming into 2021, with star quarterback Dak Prescott coming off a season-ending damage in 2020 however with an enormous new contract in hand, and second-year head coach Mike McCarthy trying to replicate the success he had throughout his Tremendous Bowl-winning 12-year tenure with the Inexperienced Bay Packers.

Can Prescott keep wholesome? Can lead operating again Ezekiel Elliott regain his three-time Pro Bowl type? Can the Cowboys come again to the place their followers have at all times believed they belong—on prime?

Hard Knocks'21: Dallas Cowboys (2021)
Picture: HBO

What Exhibits Will It Remind You Of? There are different real-time sports activities documentaries prefer it, however after 15 seasons, it could be honest to say that these remind you of Laborious Knocks, and never the opposite approach round; HBO’s stalwart NFL preseason occasion stands head and shoulders above the remaining.

Our Take: It’s been a very long time because the Cowboys had been a powerhouse, however they nonetheless demand consideration like one. Within the early Nineties, there was no group that would come near the glitz, glamour, and game-day success of America’s Crew, successful three of the group’s lifetime 5 Tremendous Bowl championships over a four-year span. Since then? Effectively, it’s been a combined bag. There haven’t been lengthy playoff droughts, however Dallas hasn’t seen their group advance previous the divisional spherical since their final Tremendous Bowl season in 1995. This failure to recover from the hump value longtime coach Jason Garrett his job earlier than the 2020 season, and the pandemic-constrained season was additional dampened by Prescott’s ankle damage (and a few main woes on the defensive facet of the ball.)

Nonetheless, there’s causes for optimism in JerryWorld—Prescott is again, and signed to a long-term contract. Star again Ezekiel Elliott continues to be round, and nonetheless one of many NFL’s most electrifying runners when he’s in form, although his numbers dipped in 2020.

Early on, the Cowboys coaches are working to ease Prescott again in slowly, whereas the quarterback himself chafes in opposition to the observe limits, grousing that “I sat sufficient final yr” after McCarthy works to scale back his reps. Later, a strained muscle in his throwing arm pulls him out of form. It’s clear that the success or failure of the Cowboys’ season goes to journey largely on Prescott’s well being, and that’s a query that’s going to linger all through the season of Laborious Knocks and into the common season.

There’s shiny spots to get enthusiastic about, too, although. Rookie linebacker Micah Parsons reveals spectacular flashes of velocity in observe, and a starvation—each to show himself within the league, and for mid-practice snacks. “The lion’s at all times hungry,” Parson declares.

Intercourse and Pores and skin: Save for a really temporary shot close to the tip of the enduring Dallas Cowboys cheerleading squad, there’s none.

Parting Shot: Dramatic music swells over an NFL Movies-like montage of the Cowboys’ Corridor of Fame Recreation matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers, because the narrator speaks of hope for the season forward.

Sleeper Star: It’s arduous to name a three-time Pro Bowler a sleeper, however Elliott reveals an surprising facet as he fumbles comically in trying to wrap a birthday current for his greatest buddy Prescott. It’s an incredible little montage that reveals the real bond between the Cowboys’ two most vital offensive weapons. For a real sleeper, although, there’s assistant coach John Fassel recounting a vasectomy to a movie room filled with fascinated gamers.

Most Pilot-y Line: “It was a season of adversity, and now it’s a season of triumph,” Prescott notes confidently. “I’d do something recognized to man to get right into a Tremendous Bowl,” Jerry Jones says, addressing followers gathered at coaching camp, “and that’s a truth.”

Our Name: STREAM IT. For those who’re a professional soccer fan, there’s merely no higher option to get primed for the upcoming season than to look at Laborious Knocks; the entry and perception the present has offered over the past 20 years are unparalleled in sports activities media, and it provides a really feel for the sport—and the individuals behind it—that you simply simply can’t get anyplace else.

 Scott Hines is an architect, blogger and web person who lives in Louisville, Kentucky along with his spouse, two younger kids, and a small, loud canine.

Watch Hard Knocks: Dallas Cowboys on HBO Max

https://decider.com/2021/08/11/hard-knocks-dallas-cowboys-hbo-review/ | Stream It or Skip It?


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