Cowboys headline list of five candidates for 2021 Hard Knocks

The Cowboys twice have appeared on Hard Knocks, NFL Films’ reality TV series that appears on HBO. Both were hits.

In 2002, the Cowboys acquired Chad Hutchinson to compete with Quincy Carter, and Emmitt Smith was closing in on the NFL’s all-time rushing title.

In 2008, the Cowboys were coming off a 13-3 season that ended disappointingly, and they had Tony Romo at quarterback, DeMarcus Ware as an edge rusher and cornerback Adam Jones joining the team in his return from a suspension.

The Cowboys are one of the five teams that can’t turn down being on Hard Knocks in 2021.

Hard Knocks loves the Cowboys, and Jerry Jones loves being on Hard Knocks.

The Giants, Panthers, Cardinals and Broncos also are candidates since, like the Cowboys, they don’t have any of the three exemptions that get them off the hook.

In 2014, the league and its teams agreed to three conditions that void mandatory inclusion on Hard Knocks: 1. They have a first-year head coach; 2. They have a playoff berth over the past two seasons; or 3. They have appeared on Hard Knocks in the past 10 years.

However, teams also can volunteer for the series, and NFL Network predicts the series will feature the Jaguars this summer. They would make for an intriguing series with Urban Meyer as their head coach and likely Trevor Lawrence as the No. 1 overall draft choice.

The Rams and Chargers were featured in the training camp documentary series for the 2020 season, the 15th season of Hard Knocks.