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Cowboys on 'Hard Knocks'? Should've Been a 'Hard Pass'

HBO's 'Hard Knocks'? The football side of the building here at The Star in Frisco should've begged, pleaded, demanded to avoid involvement.

FRISCO - Hard Knocks on HBO is a clever, interesting and popular show, and it's a great idea for the Dallas Cowboys if they wish to "market'' and "sell'' and maybe once again squeeze old friend Dave Campo into a dolphin swim and a wetsuit.

And so they will. Congrats to the sales and marketing people here inside The Star. 

But ... Otherwise? It's a terrible way to run a football team.

NFL.com recently did the math on the guidelines for which teams are eligible for Hard Knocks in 2021, and yeah, Dallas fit the parameters. Not that the Cowboys have a choice here, as a team can simply be mandated to participate, as Dallas has done a couple of times before.

But the football side of the building here at The Star in Frisco should've begged, pleaded and even demanded to avoid involvement.

Whose job is it to say "yes''? Charlotte Jones is largely on the marketing side of the building, as is Jerry Jr. But the view from here: They need to get out-voted by Stephen Jones, by Will McClay, by coach Mike McCarthy.

And ultimately, by owner Jerry Jones, who has often proudly told me of his desire to be equal parts "businessman'' and "sportsman'' - but here, must choose the latter.

NFL.com ranks the attractiveness of the potential teams involved and - guess what? - the Cowboys came up at No. 1. Why? As NFL.com writes:

"The Cowboys sell. The consistent prime-time love and endless talk show segments dedicated to the various dramas unfolding at Jerrah World (prove) the Cowboys move the needle from a business standpoint and NFL Films and HBO want as many people to watch their show as possible. ... If the Cowboys are indeed the team in August, it will likely be because the Jones family wants it.''

I don't know that the last point is true. But I hope it is, because of the Jones family can say "yes,'' that means it can also say "no.''

"No'' to the presence of cameras and microphones forcing bogus posing, conversations and even evaluations. As one Dallas staffer told me the last time the Cowboys were on the show, "You're sitting in a meeting room wondering if you can say what needs to be said, concerned that you might be saying too much, making sure you don't slouch or pick your nose.

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"It's not a natural football environment.''

Indeed, and haven't the Cowboys - after 25 years of having been The Marketing King but a playoffs Court Jester - had enough of "unnatural football environments''?

Hard Knocks makes TV stars out of relative nobodies, makes coaches issue "staged'' remarks rather than frank ones, steals focus from the real training-camp task at hand.

Do the Dallas Cowboys even remember what that task is?

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NFL.com says the Jacksonville Jaguars really wanted to be chosen here. God bless that. Urban Meyer! Trevor Lawrence! Congrats, Jags, you had my vote.

There are times to prance and pose for TV cameras. Maybe, for a Cowboys franchise basking in a trio of Super Bowl wins, that time once existed. But today? This is a 6-10 team that is surfing off the success of its "America's Team'' ancestors. It'll be quite a show. Jerry. Dak's ankle. Zeke's abs. A rookie's rapping. Oxnard. Hollywood. Canton. 

Oh, and did I mention Jerry?

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The truth is, even without Hard Knocks, the Dallas Cowboys already do enough "prancing and posing'' as it is. So it's off to Oxnard we go, with a little more posing and a little less football.