Cowboys Exempt from HBO “Hard Knocks” in 2017

It was announced today that the NFL and HBO have agreed to a four-year extension of the Hard Knocks television series. The team that will give the viewers an inside look at their 2017 training camp has not yet been named, but we can tell that it definitely will not be the Dallas Cowboys.

As outlined in this article, there are specific rules that allow teams to be exempt from appearing on Hard Knocks. Meeting any one of the following three requirements grants you the exemption:

  • Have just hired a new head coach.
  • Have made the playoffs one of the last two seasons.
  • Have appeared on Hard Knocks within the last 10 years.

The Cowboys meet two of those, having made the playoffs in 2016 and appearing on Hard Knocks during the 2008 offseason. The earliest they could appear on the show again is the 2019 season.

There are only eight teams that are eligible for Hard Knocks in 2017. The only one from the NFC East is the Philadelphia Eagles, and they are a likely front-runner given their overall national appeal. I’m sure all Cowboys fans would enjoy a closer look at our hated rival, and especially if HBO’s presence creates any sort of distraction or problems for their training camp.

Emmitt Smith
Emmitt Smith’s final season in Dallas was a highlight of their 2002 “Hard Knocks” appearance.

For some, the Cowboys’ exemption from Hard Knocks may be disappointing. We often love the behind-the-scenes looks at the team. Dallas is one of just teams, along with the Cincinnati Bengals, two have appeared on the show twice.

In 2002, Hard Knocks covered Emmitt Smith’s preparation for his final year with the Cowboys. Safety Roy Williams’ rookie season and adjustment to the NFL was also featured. There was also a little bit of quarterback controversy between Quincy Carter and Chad Hutchinson (a battle in which there are no real winners).

The 2008 season of Hard Knocks featured the Cowboys’ problematic signings of Adam “Pacman” Jones and Tank Johnson. It also gave us a heavy dose of the mind and mouth of rookie tight end Martellus Bennett, which probably soured many fans’ opinions of him throughout his time in Dallas.

Seeing your favorite team on Hard Knocks can certainly be fun. However, given the exemption rule concerning playoff appearances, I’m sure any of us would say we’re happy if the Cowboys are never on the show again.

What do you think?


Written by Jess Haynie

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!


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