The groundbreaking Netflix series, “Quarterback”, has elevated Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback, Kirk Cousins, from NFL stardom to you guessed it… Netflix sensation. Jointly produced by NFL Films, 2PM Productions, and Omaha Productions, this series promises unparalleled insights into the life of an NFL starting quarterback.
Unlike previous sports documentaries such as “All or Nothing” or “Hard Knocks”, “Quarterback” stands as the pioneer in offering a vantage point unique to the quarterback. This compelling series features three NFL quarterbacks, each with distinctive experiences, handpicked by the “sheriff” Peyton Manning.
Episode 1 of ‘Quarterback’ immerses viewers in the contrasting careers of three notable NFL quarterbacks. Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, with two Lombardis and two MVP trophies to his name by just 25, exemplifies the elite QB. Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings, regularly among the top 15 QBs, represents the seasoned veteran still pushing to cement his championship credibility with a single playoff victory at 34. Rounding out the trio, Marcus Mariota from the Atlanta Falcons, a former Heisman winner and second overall draft pick, now bears the tags ‘fringe starter’ and ‘journeyman’ after stints with three teams by the age of 29.
In our detailed review series for “Quarterback”, my colleague Jack Wozniak and I will alternate in dissecting each of the eight episodes, with a special emphasis on the Vikings and the Cousins’ narrative.
The first episode quickly draws viewers into Cousins’ world. The opening scene captures a tender moment of Cousins reading his son a bedtime story, explaining the critical need for stringent NFL quarterback protection rules. He details the significant shift in NFL rules that followed Tom Brady’s season-ending knee injury at the start of the 2008 season, which led to the restriction of hits on quarterbacks below their knees. Cousins pauses reading and quips to his son “and dad is forever grateful”.
Furthermore, the episode delves into Cousins’ personality and public image, highlighting his self-proclaimed “boring” persona. It showcases memorable instances like his victory “chains” worn post team wins and the viral memes stemming from his plaid button-down shirt worn at a week 1 victory press conference. Adding a delightful touch, Cousins reveals that his wife, Julie Cousins, carefully curates his game day outfits. Defending her choice of the much-memed shirt, Julie explains it was selected to symbolize the arrival of fall.
You just know this dude is rolling in Kohl's Cash. pic.twitter.com/56RXRurLV6
— Dana Wessel (@DanaWessel) September 12, 2022
The first episode also navigates through the tumultuous initial weeks of the Kevin O’Connell era, encapsulating the rollercoaster of the Minnesota Vikings’ early season. Cousins candidly shares the immaculate offensive execution against the Green Bay Packers in week 1, the humbling blowout defeat against the Philadelphia Eagles in week 2, and the triumphant comeback against the Detroit Lions in week 3 which would be the first of many comeback wins in the Vikings’ 2023 campaign. We even see that Cousins works with a team psychologist as he navigates through the rollercoaster start of the NFL season.
Finally, Cousins addresses the ongoing media narrative surrounding his decade-long career, notably the perception that he isn’t a postseason threat. He articulates his belief that “to whom much is given, much is required”, and employs a Margaret Thatcher quote to subtly rebut his critics: “If my critics saw me walking on water, they would say it’s because I can’t swim”.
“If my critics saw me walking on water, they would say it’s because I can’t swim”
– Kirk Cousins (via Margaret Thatcher) pic.twitter.com/YHdkInQI63
— Chris Haddad (@chrisvIQtory) July 12, 2023
To sum it up, the debut episode of “Quarterback” delivers an enlightening introduction to Kirk Cousins’ life and career, further enriched by the charming insights into his personal life. Be sure to tune in for my review of episode 2 coming soon.