Yesterday, Netflix announced a brand new docuseries, “Quarterback,” set to air later this year surrounding the experiences of three NFL quarterbacks — Patrick Mahomes, Kirk Cousins, and Marcus Mariota — during the 2022 NFL season. According to the announcement, these three men were all mic’d up for every game of the season, meaning Netflix knew exactly who the series was going to focus on before the season even started.
I’ve never been one to believe the popular “NFL is rigged” theory. I won’t deny that my faith in the NFL’s authenticity hasn’t wavered ever, but all in all, I have faith that the NFL would never lie to us. Despite what former players like Benny Cunningham and Arian Foster have said, I’ve held firm, but for fans who are unsure whether or not the NFL is staged, this new docuseries certainly put another tally in the “rigged” column.
You’re telling me that prior to the season, Netflix just somehow managed to secure the eventual Super Bowl champion, a walking meme with numerous viral moments throughout the season including leading the largest comeback in NFL history, and a veteran forced to mentor a rookie who controversially stepped away from his team down the final stretch of the season. That’s three quarterbacks with wildly different plot lines from 2022 all coming together to form an all-encompassing narrative with several different points of view. Call me crazy but that seems too lucky to be a coincidence.
Mahomes, sure...but the other guys?
How do the Netflix executives even land on those three quarterbacks without knowing what was coming for each of them in 2022? You couldn’t ask for three more random quarterbacks. Sure, Mahomes makes sense. He’s an obvious MVP candidate and the Chiefs were always Super Bowl contenders. But Cousins and Mariota? What in the world made the bigwigs at Netflix go “Yeah, these guys will bring in viewers?”
I can maybe see an argument for Cousins because of his famous catchphrases and the “Kirk Thuggins” persona he’d developed over the years, but on camera, Cousins has always been pretty uninteresting. During the season, Cousins was a guest on the ManningCast during Monday Night Football Week 9, Cousins had just earned mad credentials for his viral shirtless video on the Vikings’ team plane. His appearance on the ManningCast ruined any good rep he’d built up as he awkwardly smiled at the camera the entire team.
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Just watch his moments in this compilation from that broadcast. See how he’s weirdly tilted away from the camera. His smirk never leaves his face. It’s unsettling. It makes you want to take a shower after watching. This is the guy that Netflix thought would be a good focal point for their docuseries? I don’t buy it. Yet somehow, this man, whose only claim to fame prior to 2022 was three words — You like that?! — manages to claw his way through numerous one-possession victories, the largest comeback in NFL history, and their first NFC North title in the Cousins era, all coincidentally the year that Cousins is mic’d up? No. That’s too big a coincidence.
Then you have Marcus Mariota. Why would anyone think Mariota would be a great subject? Not only was he on one of the worst rosters in the league heading into the season, but he’d never made so much as a headline during his career up to that point. He’d been a backup in the NFL for three years at that point. Why would they choose him?
But thank the lucky stars, it just so happens that Mariota’s wife has their first child around the same time that Mariota gets benched for rookie Desmond Ridder. Hmmm, a likely story. Oh, then what’s this?! Mariota opted to undergo knee surgery even though he’d never appeared on a team injury report? This all morphed together to create interesting drama during the final stretch of the season, you say? All while the Falcons were still in the playoff hunt in the miserable NFC South? Wow! What a solid string of luck for Netflix. Their execs must have been through the roof that they landed such incredible storylines and caught it all on tape.
A coincidence? Hmm...
As I said, I don’t think the NFL is rigged. Having spent lots of money legally betting on NFL games in my life, my subconscious isn’t able to comprehend the idea of the NFL being rigged. That said, my first thought when I read that Netflix was coming out with this docuseries was “Why these three?” That was followed with, “Well actually, each of them had pretty interesting seasons.” Then came the realization, “There’s no way this was a coincidence.”
For anyone questioning whether or not the NFL does in fact fix its games, this could be the tipping point. Even the most rational mind would have trouble interpreting how Netflix made these decisions. The most obvious answer, though, is that they and the NFL knew what each one of these men was going to do and they knew it’d make for damn good television. That’s all I’ll say.