In the first scene of the first episode of this season of HBO’s Hard Knocks, viewers got a taste of what originally made the show such a big hit — classified information.
“We kept that down. Nobody knew that,” said Dak Prescott, as he revealed he had not one, but two, surgeries on his broken ankle last year. The star quarterback of the world’s most valuable team opened the show discussing his injuries, both internal and external.
“I love scars. I’ve got plenty of them,” he said as he pointed out the ones on his body after speaking about the loss of his brother.
Now, it’s up to the long-running HBO series to figure out if this is the content viewers will continue to get, as the right shoulder strain that Prescott was dealing with in Episode 1, has become the talk of the league as it’s still an issue days before Episode 2 debuts next Tuesday night.
“Obviously, if everything keeps progressing the way it’s been, I’m going to be optimistic about that,” said Prescott. “... Keep doing the things that I need to do; being very cautious with it, though. Making sure that, more importantly, I’m ready for the season opener.”
Despite their Super Bowl drought and lack of playoff success, the Dallas Cowboys are still the “Dallas Cowboys,” and when you have an all-access TV show following them around as their franchise quarterback is dealing with a bum shoulder after missing most of last season due to injury, it means that people will tune in. However, it doesn’t guarantee that the content will be worthy of their attention, which is something we’ve seen before.
Enter Antonio Brown and the 2019 Oakland Raiders.
In case you forgot, due to all that Brown has been involved in over the last few years, including allegations of sexual assault, this was the summer in which the uber-talented, yet troubled wide receiver was supposed to be getting a “fresh start” with the Raiders after a bitter end with the Steelers. However, Brown took the drama to a new level as he was recovering from extreme frostbite on his feet after not wearing the proper footwear during a cryotherapy session, which affected his workouts and availability in training camp. Then, he threw a fit when the league wouldn’t allow him to wear his favorite helmet. That was followed by an argument in which Brown cussed out Raiders General Manager Mike Mayock and allegedly called him a “cracker.” The saga ended when the team released Brown before the season opener, as he never played a down for the team. Hard Knocks got little, and sometimes none, of the drama on camera. And if they did, they never showed it. The spectacle that makes shows like this wonderful was theirs for the taking, and HBO fumbled it.
In 16 seasons, Hard Knocks has racked up 18 Emmy awards – and counting. But, with four episodes left this season, we’re about to find out if the series can do something it’s never done – give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at how a possibly-injured quarterback deals with the sport’s most famous owner while playing for “America’s team” in America’s sport.