With a star-studded cast including first-ballot hall of famer Peyton Manning (and another signal caller who seems destined to join that lofty club someday as Patrick Mahomes did), the Netflix docuseries Quarterback received rave reviews in its debut season, garnering 8.2 stars out of 10 on IMDB.
What’s it About?
Per the series’ official synopsis on Netflix—straight from the mouth of The Sheriff himself, “the series gives fans an inside look at the players’ lives on the field and off. It documents intimate moments with their families, friends, and trainers, following them from the field to their homes in a first-of-its-kind, in-depth look at the job. It also reveals the many pressures involved: what it’s like to receive an entire stadium’s cheers or boos or be chased by a 300-pound defensive lineman and the reality of having to ask your loved ones to make sacrifices on your behalf,” Manning said.
Beyond Mahomes, the first season followed Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins and Atlanta Falcons signal-caller Marcus Mariota. When the news dropped that Quarterback is getting renewed for a second season, it immediately raised the question as to which signal-callers will star in the reboot.
While seeing what it takes for players barely holding on to a roster spot (like Mariota) or those who have had solid careers but never managed to take the next step toward an elite level of play (like Cousins) to maintain their place in the brutal meritocracy that is the NFL does give a fascinating look at the bigger picture, the fact remains that the show relies on star power to put butts in the seats, and there are only so many high-level quarterbacks in the NFL at a given time.
Who it Could Be:
Each of the three signal callers from Season 1 is a grizzled veteran. Mahomes, the youngest of the bunch, will turn 28 during the first month of the season and is entering his seventh NFL season. The hallmark of an enduring TV show is adaptability: while Manning and company clearly have figured out a successful formula, they’re going to have to keep on adding wrinkles in order to keep the show relevant.
One potential quarterback for next year is Will Levis, who the Tennessee Titans drafted out of the University of Kentucky in the second round this year. While the jury is still out on whether or not Levis will become a successful quarterback at the next level (and likely will be for some time, as his position is one of the most polarizing in the NFL), Manning has made it clear that he’s a huge fan of the young gunslinger, going so far as to say that “I think this guy might have been genetically engineered to be an NFL quarterback:” high praise from one of the best to ever do it himself.
Peyton Manning seems to speak highly of Will Levis and you can bet Kentucky sportsbook promos will have plenty of odds on when he might get his first start for the Tennessee Titans.
Adding Levis to the show would give fans an idea of what it’s like for a rookie quarterback to find their feet in the league, learn a new playbook, and get up to speed in the professional game… just the type of wrinkle that could keep Quarterback fresh.
Another quarterback interested in the show is Cincinnati Bengals star Joe Burrow (who would draw attention in a way that few others can). Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett is a known friend of the Manning family, taking part in the Manning Passing Academy during his time in college, and he left the door open when asked whether he’d consider appearing on the show. Given that Pittsburgh and Cincinnati are divisional rivals, being a fly on the wall for how the organizations operate could give a fascinating glimpse into what makes some franchises stand out from the rest. Outside of the usual suspects (i.e., superstars and starters), there are firebrands who could round out the trio, like Colts’ backup Gardner Minshew.
Who it Won’t Be:
As we try to narrow down the list of potential candidates for Season 2 of Quarterback, one thing that can help is using the process of elimination.
Many quarterbacks have made it clear that they are not interested in taking part in the show this season, preferring to devote their time to honing their craft rather than stepping in front of the cameras. Lamar Jackson (Baltimore Ravens), Jalen Hurts (Philadelphia Eagles), Matthew Stafford (Los Angeles Rams), Tua Tagovailoa (Miami Dolphins), Sam Howell (Washington Commanders), Justin Fields (Chicago Bears), Geno Smith (Seattle Seahawks) and Dak Prescott (Dallas Cowboys) are among those names: a significant chunk of starters across the league.
With that being said, Burrow initially shot down the idea of appearing on the show as well. There are few personalities like The Sheriff in sports, with Manning perfectly suited to sell another signal caller on the show.