Okay so first off I apologize for the inconsistent updating, this is the most social and busy summer I have had since pre-covid and I think there might just not be Monday content till football returns and I’m back on my ass watching it on Sundays again.

So last week Netflix dropped a show called Quarterback, produced by Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions and I think was also partnered with Mahomes’ company. I blew through it in two days because I can watch stuff on the side while I work, and long review short: it’s fine. If you have ever watched an NFL Films fluff piece for NFL Network, especially the “Americas Game” series they do for every Super Bowl winner, it’ll feel comfortable and familiar. It’s excellent to have on while you do something else.

If you are there to better understand the position, you won’t get that. If you want any drama, or real behind-the-scenes stuff, you won’t really get too much of that either. If you like Patrick Mahomes and enjoy watching him yell, you’ll love it. As milquetoast and safe as the show is it still had me thinking about it a lot. It made me reflect on what makes a good docuseries about sports figures, and what about the show worked and what did not. In short: Kirk Cousins worked. Mariota was shafted, and now I find Mahomes boring, at least when he isn’t on the field.

To start with Mariota, the poor guy gets no screentime compared to the other two, and the show deliberately tiptoes around the whole year because Mariota had a bad season. You see a couple of his games, but they only sorta bring up the bad play, and I think it’s a misstep. Now they might have been trying to do right by the guy and not show the rough stuff but it doesn’t make for good TV. They had a chance to show a guy going through a bad season and examine the human toll it takes on those players. I want to see how Mariota handles the noise, the callousness of fans like us when we flippantly demand a guy go away because he isn’t good enough. We forget how tough that must be on the humans like Mariota when for us, they are just dudes far away on a screen not playing up to the standards we want. I wanted the show to humanize that, and the show failed. It fails Mariota, and he essentially straight up vanishes for the final two episodes completely after the benching. The only thing the show does right is go into a bit of detail about the small scandal of him “bailing on the team” when he was benched. He didn’t bail on the team. His wife was in the hospital after having his first child when he gets benched, and he took the benching as an opportunity to get a needed surgery. He didn’t bail on anyone, and the fault lies with Arthur Smith throwing him under the bus during the announcement press conference in a way that allowed the media to run with it. Show the bad parts. Show how hard it is. I want to root for him, not wonder where he went.

Cousins is the best part of the show by miles. We all know Cousins is a bit of a weirdo, but he’s candid about his time in the league, he’s open about his efforts and his problems, and some of the strange stuff he does. He takes days off to do anything but football in order to maintain a life balance. He’s a dork, but he seems like a genuinely good guy. He appears to struggle with his emotions during games, and has to fight his way through bad times and pull himself out. He’s not like Mahomes, who appears to just take every single moment as a challenge. It helps that this season was a magical mess of chaos that was inherently fascinating, and I appreciated that the show examined what it was like for him on the drive home after the playoff loss. I have more respect for Kirk Cousins now, even if he does put electrodes on his head to do nonsense brainwave testing to improve his focus.

Mahomes is the problem. He gets probably 50% of the runtime dedicated to him. His voice is…grating after a point. That’s not his fault, but you will get sick of it. The real problem here…is that Mahomes is not in an interesting part of his life or career, and he’s not relatable in the slightest, it makes every segment with him annoying or boring.

You can make documentaries about the greatest athletes in the world, but in my opinion, it is a mistake to do so while that athlete is essentially at their peak. Mahomes is in his prime. He has experienced nothing but a high level of sustained success. He isn’t a fresh face still looking for his first Super Bowl. While he has faced a few tough playoff losses, they are exceptionally privileged playoff losses, no true struggle on par with Mariota or Cousins. Mahomes isn’t some old guy on the tail end of his career, or even a decade-vet like Cousins, reflecting on times past. He has no perspective. He has no drama. They try so hard to play up a whole bunch of the games during the show, namely the few losses, but it still comes across as bland and uninteresting as the Chiefs once again cruise to the top with relative ease. Mahomes, at this very stage and moment in his life, is the greatest athlete in the sport and exceptionally uninteresting and unrelatable. I do not find the clips of him wandering his brand-new mansion charming. His best material is him interacting with other players during games.

The dichotomy of the best player in the world being fucking dull to watch comes across most strongly after he hurts his ankle in the playoffs. The show makes a huge deal about it, and yet pretty much every clip of Patrick is him going “nah guys come on I’m fine” and then he basically is and goes out and wins. Mahomes might be one of the most fun players to watch play football, maybe that I’ve ever seen, but he is not compelling to listen to.

The Last Dance was another documentary about the best player in the world, but it was made 25 years after his reign ended, and benefitted from that perspective and reflection. The recent Brady documentary, made while he was still playing, also worked because he was drawing on 20 years of NFL experience, which included a few genuinely bad times like his injury or the Giants losses. I don’t want to hear from Patrick Mahomes for another decade, after he’s had some genuinely bad years or at the very least, a lot more time to be able to properly reflect on his experiences. Right now he’s at the top of the world in pretty much every way, and that won’t make for an interesting story until he isn’t anymore.

Quarterback has been renewed for season 2. My hopeful follows: Josh Allen, Russell Wilson, Justin Herbert, whatever mess starts in Tampa