Thinking about American Football, many would associate it with roughness, muscles and quick plays. Regardless, there is a lot more going on behind the scenes of the sport, which the Netflix Original documentary ‘Quarterback’ is now trying to show.
The documentary does not, unlike most team sport documentaries, focus on a specific team but instead gives an insight into three NFL players’ lives during the 2022/23 season. United in the quarterback position, they all play for different teams.
The series has eight episode that are about 50 minutes long each.
The name of the series gives away what it is about but nonetheless, it is made sure that everyone knows exactly what a quarterback is and the role he plays in a team. In the opening the viewer is made understandably clear why the position is so important as well as why and how the regulations of the game protect them in a special way.
The three protagonists of the documentary series are Patrick Mahomes from the Kansas City Chiefs who is largely considered the best quarterback in the league and arguably one of the best ever, Kirk Cousins from the Minnesota Vikings and Marcus Mariota from the Atlanta Falcons.
‘Quarterback’ accompanies the players not just on the field but also in their free time – a combination of professional and private life which is different to what is usually shown about American Football.
While fans of the sport will be familiar with the three big names, others will get a brief introduction on who they are and what they have achieved so far, such as Patrick Mahomes’ Super Bowl win in 2020.
The series definitely had a lucky shot with casting Mahomes, as he also won the Super Bowl in 2023 with the Kansas City Chiefs while being miked up for the series – something that has never been allowed by the NFL before.
The series starts with the Super Bowl in 2020, where the Chiefs won against the San Francisco 49ers. It was the first Super Bowl participation for Kansas City after a 50-year break and it creates the story of how Mahomes’ life changed afterwards.Embed from Getty Images
About ten minutes into the show, the viewer gets to know Kirk Cousins. This is where the first contrast was created – unlike Mahomes, who is used to success, Cousins has not yet had a big achievement in the sport, such as a Super Bowl title, and is more likely to be considered a mid-tier established starter. The series accompanies him on his way of trying to change that.Embed from Getty Images
Afterwards, Marcus Mariota is being introduced who is again, different to the other two. He took over as a quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons from Matt Ryan in the 2022 season but is struggling to be successful in his first year in Atlanta. Mariota is introduced as his pregnant wife is having an ultrasound and these are the intimate moments that the series promises. These are the moments that should show the viewer that there is more to these players than just a good sportsperson.Embed from Getty Images
All three quarterbacks have different stories on why they are where they are – perfectly chosen to create a catchy show from the start.
The mix of family environment and professional environment combined with how the show is generally structured, ensures that it is not just a show for fans but for everybody.
Nonetheless, the documentary is a collaboration between Netflix and NFL Films, promising an exaggerated amount of drama and although it seems like viewers get insights on the sport and the players, it is very clear what can be talked about and what not.
What sets ‘Quarterback’ apart from other American Football documentaries is the fact that for the first time in NFL history, players were allowed to wear a microphone during games. This shows the viewer exactly what happens in the heat of the battle and makes the sport more approachable.
The documentary is created with a lot of set-up drama and therefore is exciting to watch but on the other hand, not always real. What the viewer sees is not a normal day where the three quarterbacks come home from training and talk about how it went. There are shooting days where everything is recorded multiple times to make it perfect so fans should not believe that everything in this documentary is true.
To conclude, ‘Quarterback’ is an entertaining documentary to watch in the off-season, when fans are craving American Football content. Although what is shown is planned and controlled by the NFL and the teams the quarterbacks play for, three differently impressing stories are being told, topping it off with Mahomes Super Bowl title, which makes the show definitely worth watching.