Quarterback is the new No. 1 show on Netflix — stream it or skip it?

Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes steps off an airplane
(Image credit: Netflix)

If you love a good sports documentary — I’m looking at you, my fellow Drive to Survive fans — then Netflix’s latest hit could be well worth your time. The new series just dropped on the streaming service last week and follows the journey of three different NFL quarterbacks: Patrick Mahomes, Kirk Cousins and Marcus Mariota. 

Quarterback may be a documentary but it's packed with plenty of drama and action and has already vaulted to the top spot as of this morning. Critics and viewers alike are largely positive about the show as well, each giving the show’s first season an 83% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

So is Quarterback just for NFL fans? Or could this new show contend for a spot on our list of the best Netflix shows right now? Let’s get into whether you need to stream or skip Netflix’s Quarterback. 

What is Netflix's Quarterback about? 

Quarterback follows the 2022 NFL season of three quarterbacks at three different points in their NFL journeys. Headlining the show is Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who at this point has already won a Super Bowl, a Super Bowl MVP and an NFL MVP — all before turning 27. He’s the best in the league at the position.

But Mahomes isn’t the only quarterback starring in Netflix’s documentary produced by Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning. There’s also Kirk Cousins, starting quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings and about as good a quarterback as you can be without being great. But good isn’t good enough for Cousins, or the NFL.

And rounding out the trio of passers is Marcus Mariota, starting quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons. Mariota came out of college an elite quarterback and Heisman winner, but since then has become a backup and a journeyman. This season could be his last shot to become an NFL starter again.

Quarterback follows these three on and off the field, giving viewers insight and access into personal lives, practices and of course, games. Can Mahomes win another Super Bowl? Will Cousins take the leap into greatness? Will Mariota finally keep a starting job after a rocky NFL career? After Quarterback’s eight episodes, you’ll know the answers to all three questions.

Quarterback reviews: What critics and audiences say 

Thankfully, critics and audiences have already chimed in about Netflix’s new documentary, and the feedback has been largely positive. Six critics have given the show an aggregate Rotten Tomatoes score of 83% for season one, and 12 viewers have combined to give Quarterback and 83% as well.

Austen Goslin of Polygon was positive in their review. While they think that the show doesn’t quite hit the depths of Netflix’s other hit sports documentary, Formula 1: Drive to Survive, it’s still well worth watching. “For all its issues, it’s still a pretty entertaining show that has moments of big payoff for fans who only understand the 2022 season on a surface level.” 

For all its issues, it’s still a pretty entertaining show that has moments of big payoff for fans who only understand the 2022 season on a surface level.

Austen Goslin (Polygon)

The lone negative critic review comes from Scott Hines of Decider. “Quarterback is a tightly-produced piece of sports television, but it doesn’t offer much insight beyond what you’d get in a Sunday pregame show.” So like Goslin, Hines also criticizes the show's depth, or lack thereof, which admittedly seems to be a common theme in the reviews.

And the audience shares this view as well, or at least one particular viewer does. Todd H. says that “After the first few episodes (and the season starts) it is fairly obvious that their access was significantly reduced.” But for the most part, the audience reviewers were largely excited, especially about Patrick Mahomes, who clearly stole the show.

Outlook: Should you watch Quarterback? 

Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes

(Image credit: Netflix)

Don’t expect Quarterback to quite hit the depths of fellow sports documentaries Formula 1: Drive to Survive season five or even ESPN’s The Last Dance documentary series about NBA legend Michael Jordan. Quarterback, for all its promises of deep insight and access, seems to largely fail on doing much more than scratching the surface.

But it appears to still be incredibly entertaining despite that — particularly anytime Chiefs superstar Patrick Mahomes comes on the screen. So stream Quarterback if you’re looking for entertainment and maybe a refresher on the past NFL season. But NFL nerds looking for groundbreaking reveals can probably skip it and watch something else instead. If you already have Netflix, Drive to Survive is the obvious choice for an alternative.

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Malcolm McMillan
Senior Streaming Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.

Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.