Publish date:

‘Hard Knocks’ Features Amazing Drone Footage of Cowboys’ Practice Facility

In Wednesday’s Hot Clicks: a really impressive job by HBO’s drone operator, a great home run robbery in San Diego and more.

Amazing work by NFL Films

Usually, the football players are the stars of Hard Knocks. This week, it was a drone operator. 

Tuesday’s episode of the HBO series featured a drone zipping through every nook and cranny of the enormous Cowboys practice facility with amazing precision. It was a collaborative effort between NFL Films and Sky Candy Studios of Minneapolis. (You may recognize Sky Candy for its bowling alley tracking shot that went viral earlier this year.)

Since 2016, the Cowboys have practiced at a 91-acre campus in the Dallas suburb of Frisco called The Star. It includes not only the typical things you find at an NFL team’s facility (indoor and outdoor practice fields, a weight room, meeting rooms, offices, etc.) but also retail spaces for shops and restaurants. The drone zoomed through the entire place in one take.

Obviously, being able to pull off that tour in a single take is impressive, but there are a few details that really take it up a notch. Flying through the open windows of a pickup truck is a nice touch, but I’m mainly talking about the people on the ground who had their timing down perfectly. There’s the guy who opened the door to the practice field at just the right moment, and the reporter who started her segment just as she came into view. In the locker room, there’s the guy who throws a towel in a bin just in front of the drone right as another guy walks by with two helmets. According to Peter Schrager of Fox Sports, the team got the perfect shot on the 15th try.

The video also gives a good sense of how cool The Star is. I had dinner there once and was pretty impressed, but HBO has the access to give viewers a closer look than they would ever be able to get in person. Anybody can jog through the retail section or take a yoga class out in front of the indoor stadium, but the continuous trip through the Cowboys’ off-limit areas offers a better look at what it’s really like inside than photos could. 

SI Recommends

The best of SI

How Tom Allen turned around the struggling Indiana football program. ... Arsenal is in shambles and things will only get worse before they get better. ... Grading every NBA Western Conference team’s offseason

Around the sports world

MLB is asking pitchers for their input on new baseball prototypes. ... Jerry Jones (yes, Jerry Jones) had a very good explanation for why people should get vaccinated. ... The NFL will not allow reporters in locker rooms this season

A great play and a better photo


Sounds like this thing is really going to shake up college football

What’s really weird is he hasn’t even walked that many guys

Check out Shohei’s style

Not sports

Because Disney loves origin stories, it’s ordering a prequel series about Captain Nemo from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. ... A cube of uranium at a lab in Washington State might be a relic of the Nazis’ nuclear program. ... To watch the final trailer for Candyman, you have to open a web page and say “Candyman” five times into your microphone. ... Tom Cruise landed his helicopter in an English family’s backyard because he was late for a meeting

Pretty cool

A good song

Email with any feedback or follow me on Twitter for approximately one half-decent baseball joke per week. Bookmark this page to see previous editions of Hot Clicks and find the newest edition every day. By popular request I’ve made a Spotify playlist of the music featured here. Visit our Extra Mustard page throughout each day for more offbeat sports stories.