Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the Detroit Lions — how to watch and everything we know about the NFL reality series

Detroit Lions' running back Jamaal Williams
Detroit Lions' running back Jamaal Williams (Image credit: Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Football fans can’t get enough of the NFL, which is why Hard Knocks has been such a hit for the past 17 years, as the documentary series dives deep into a team’s NFL training camp. This year, the spotlight is on the Detroit Lions.

The show, which is a co-production between NFL Films and HBO Sports, has won 18 Sports Emmys and has focused on 13 teams throughout its previous 16 seasons, including the Dallas Cowboys three times. This is the first time that the Lions are going to be a part of Hard Knocks.

Here is everything that we know about Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the Detroit Lions.

How to watch Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Detroit Lions

Now that Hard Knocks has aired its final episode, US viewers can catch up with the docuseries on-demand through HBO Max.

The final episode of Hard Knocks is set to air for UK NFL fans on Friday, September 9, at 9 pm UK time on Sky Sports NFL. All episodes can then be watched on-demand.

Hard Knocks episode recap

Episode 1
The season premiere of Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Detroit Lions spent a lot of time introducing viewers to the coaches of the Detroit Lions, including head coach Dan Campbell (known for his tough mentality and fantastic soundbites) and a host of former players, headlined Duce Staley and Aaron Glenn. 

On the player side, Lions' rookie Aidan Hutchinson was a standout. The first-round pick and Michigan native is a big story for the team, but part of his official introduction to his new teammates was having him do a rousing rendition of a Michael Jackson song.

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Episode 2
The second episode of Hard Knocks was all about getting ready for the first preseason game for the Lions. That included getting an inside look at some team meetings, where standouts were rookie linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez, who is earning early buzz, and assistant head coach Duce Staley, a continued breakout star of this season.

Fans also got their first Hard Knocks look at Amon-Ra St. Brown. The second-year receiver had a big rookie season and is looking to continue that with a training regiment that he does with his dad, a two-time Mr. Universe. It was the elder St. Brown that stole the show, however, as he took a bit of a shot at NBA star Kevin Durant, who has dealt with calf injuries in recent seasons, asking when was the last time he did calf raises?

The episode ended with an extended sequence from the Lions' preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons, which they ultimately loss 27-23.

Episode 3
Head coach Dan Campbell continues to stress that the thing standing in the way of the Lions becoming a winning team is cleaning up the mistakes that cost them (highlight a couple of key plays from their preseason loss to the Falcons). They'll have the chance to correct that with a slate of joint practices and a culminating preseason game with the Indianapolis Colts.

They're some intense practices with the Colts, highlight by running back Jamaal Williams getting heated with some Colts defenders and coach Duce Staley losing his voice because he is yelling so much. Off the field, the Lions got a treat and Hard Knocks went meta as a Detroit comedian entertains them with jokes from the first couple of episodes that had already aired.

Some player highlights this week included Obinna Eze, with a detailed package on him coming from Nigeria, picking up football and fighting to make the Lions roster. He has the full support of his wife, who passionately cheered him on from the stands.

The episode concluded with the preseason game against the Colts, where the Lions got the chance to make the critical plays that separate the winners from the losers once again, this time coming through with them and beating the Colts 27-26.

Episode 4
Dan Campbell and Lions general manager Brad Holmes are starting to dive into the difficult cuts that they must make to get their roster down to 53 players by the start of the season. That means the players only have a few practices and a final preseason game left against the Pittsburgh Steelers to make their case to be on the team.

The episode particularly focuses on a few of the guys perceived to be on the roster bubble, including wide receiver Kalil Pimpleton, guard Obinna Eze, running back Craig Reynolds and backup quarterback David Blough

It's not a pretty game for the Lions, but each player has a moment that'll either help or hinder their chances of making the final roster.

Episode 5
The players (and fans) found out their fate in their pursuit to make the Detroit Lion's final 53-man roster. Season standouts like Craig Reynolds, Chase Lucas and Malcolm Rodriguez all made the team, while Obinna Eze was released but then brought back as part of the practice squad to work more with the Lions' coaches. Meanwhile, Kalil Pimpleton and David Blough were ultimately released and signed with other teams. In the final moments of the season, head coach Dan Campbell was asked what the 2022 Detroit Lions will be. After a long pause he said, "a team that can and will."

How to watch Hard Knocks

Airing live on HBO, anyone with the premium cable channel as part of their traditional pay-TV subscription can watch Hard Knocks when it airs at 10 pm ET/PT on Tuesdays. There is also the option to stream it via HBO Max, which you can either sign up for as a standalone service or get automatically if you have the traditional HBO cable channel. HBO/HBO Max is also available as an add-on with services like Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV and Sling TV

Sky TV is the only place showing Hard Knocks in the UK, so a subscription to the TV service is required to tune in to episodes weekly.

Is there a Hard Knocks trailer?

The trailer for Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the Detroit Lions is here. Head coach Dan Campbell's voice is heard throughout the trailer, praising his team and saying how they are at a different level heading into this new season over footages of the first few days of training camp. Give it a watch below:

What is the premise of Hard Knocks?

The idea behind Hard Knocks is to give an in-depth look into an NFL team’s training camp as it gets ready for a new season. This lets fans not only see the rigors of training camp, but also get to know many of the players and coaches for the teams better. Here is the synopsis for this season with the Detroit Lions:

"Camera crews will head to the Lions’ training camp in Allen Park, Michigan in the next few months to begin filming. The action will heat up in August when the cinema verité show focuses on the daily lives and routines of players and coaches. Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the Detroit Lions will chronicle head coach Dan Campbell entering his second season leading the team and an intriguing mix of young emerging stars, established veterans, free agent additions and highly regarded rookie hopefuls throughout training camp and the preseason."

Another aspect of Hard Knocks that is unique is it claims to have one of the fastest turnarounds on TV. While some filming has already been taking place, each episode details the week of training camp and the NFL preseason game that preceded it. So for instance, the second episode set to air on August 16 will include footage and reactions to the Lions’ preseason game on Friday, August 12.

Who narrates Hard Knocks?

Actor Liev Schreiber is the voice narrating each episode of Hard Knocks. This marks Schreiber’s 16th season handling narration for the docuseries.

Schreiber may be best known for his role as Ray Donovan in the titular Showtime series, but some of his other credits include Spotlight, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Isle of Dogs, Goon and Defiance.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.