‘All or Nothing’ on Amazon Prime first started in 2016 and have now become one of the main sources of sports documentaries. They started with American Football, before branching out to football, rugby and ice hockey.
Sports teams such as the Los Angeles Rams, Dallas Cowboys, New Zealand All Blacks, Manchester City and Toronto Maple Leafs have all featured on an All or Nothing series.
Let’s look at the 2019 edition of All or Nothing, where the Carolina Panthers’ 2018 campaign was documented. Here is a review of Episode One.
The Focus On Cam Newton
There is instantly a focus on quarterback Cam Newton, the star of the show in Carolina, as most quarterbacks are. The position is often seen as the alpha male in the locker room, and this was no different in the Panthers’ training facility, with Newton’s infectious personality clear to see early on. For the first five minutes of the episode, 80% of it is of Newton. It doesn’t take long to see the influence he has on his teammates, with the 2011 first overall pick seen to give orders and demand only the best.
“We’ve got to come together for this team. We got leadership, talent. Everything to win this championship is in this room. I want everyone to realise that it’s going to take every single person in this room”.
“He brings out the best in all the players around him. That’s a quality that you need in your quarterback and not one that everyone has”, stated offensive coordinator Norv Turner later in the episode.
The episode takes you back in time through Newton’s career, one that included a MVP award and Super Bowl 50 appearance. They show his best bits, to give the audience a picture of how good Newton has been throughout his career.
The mood of the documentary soon changes, showing Newton’s infamous sulk in the Super Bowl post-match press conference, the future playoff losses that have occurred and the injury he suffered, something that has continued to surround his career.
We are taken to Cam Newton’s home early into this episode. The first thing you notice a poster taken from a magazine cover, with the caption ‘8 people who changed the city in 2016’. This shows the impact Newton has made in Carolina and the kind of person he is off the pitch. Newton set up the ‘Cam Newton Foundation’ in 2012, that is reported to have donated more than $5 million dollars to schools and non-profits in Atlanta and Charlotte.
“I know what I do weekly, no one’s doing. Come Sunday, that’s the only thing that runs through my mind. I feel obligated to make sure that this is one of the seasons that they will never forget”, stated Newton as he gets a haircut and smokes a cigar. This shows not only his supreme self-confidence but also what the people of Carolina mean to him.
“It’s a team sport. Everyone has to do their part to win a Super Bowl”, stated the hosts of the ‘Panthers Talk’ radio show with a shot of a Panthers poster next to Carolina’s Bank of America stadium.
With the moving traffic alongside, it gave you an insight to the community that lies in this part of America as well as an insight into the effort and determination that these Panthers players will need to be successful in the upcoming season.
The Gameday Action
We play for each other. It’s about us as a team, eleven guys doing one thing at a time and not one guy doing eleven. Do you your job to the best of your ability”, screamed Rivera pre-game.
One thing that was noticeable early on when the episode showed gameday footage was the authenticity of the sound. You can hear the players Mic’d up and the crunch of tackles.
The testing nature of life as an NFL player, particularly a veteran, is shown in this episode. Olsen is given water and looks exhausted. He then complains of an injury to his foot as he limps off the field. Olsen looks physically distraught. The medical staff call for an X-ray, with Olsen’s emotions clear to see.
“I don’t like the way that X-ray looked”, Head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion told Rivera.
This shows the testing nature for a head coach when they lose one of their best players as Rivera’s head drops along with a shake of the head. The Panthers won the game 16-8 as they looked to build towards what they hoped would be an excellent season.
“This is the first step. We are a good football team and can be a better football team. It’s going to take work and commitment to do that. I need every one of you to understand that”, rallied Rivera after the win.
All or Nothing is a fantastic insight into the Panthers dressing room and ticks all the boxes when it comes to coverage of the team. However, I would have liked to have seen more focus on the fanbase.