Now that the NFL season is over, you're going to need a new way to get your football fix. Lucky for you, season two of QB1: Beyond the Lights is now available on Netflix. You may remember my review of season one from November 2018. I discovered the show while clicking around for something to watch, and was immediately sucked in. QB1 is produced by Peter Berg, the creator of Friday Night Lights, the undisputed best football show in the history of television.
In season one, we meet three high school quarterbacks, all preparing to begin their final seasons. Jake Fromm, the sweet, family-oriented guy committed to play at Georgia. Tayvon Bowers, the young man honoring his father's legacy, who suffers a serious injury at the end of his season, threatening his ability to play at Wake Forest. And Tate Marshall, the self-absorbed wunderkind who gets recruited by Ohio State, one of the best football programs in the country.
I had no idea who would be featured in season two, but I couldn't wait to get to know them. The first QB we meet is Justin Fields out of Kennesaw, GA.
I don't follow high school football (no surprise there), but my cousin, who played football all the way through college, told me Fields was the number one recruit in the entire country. It's no coincidence that his jersey number is one.
Justin is measured, but fierce. His teammates look up to him, and when bad things happen, he repeats over and over, "God has a plan for you. God has a plan for you." He'll wind up needing to take his own advice when in episode nine he breaks a finger, colliding with a helmet during a tackle, which results in the need for surgery.
Though local and national press are regularly hounding Justin for a decision on which college he'll choose, he waits until the last possible minute to share his choice. After careful consideration, he chooses Georgia (same as my crush from season one, Jake Fromm).
Next we head to Charleston, SC, where QB Sam Hartman is settling in.
Hartman and his family relocated from Charlotte, NC, following his coach, Chad Grier. He had lived in Charlotte his whole life, but decided to stick with his coach for his final year, even if it meant moving. His new team was 0-8 the previous season, so he's inheriting a losing team. Since he'd already committed to Wake Forest (same school as Tayvon Bowers in season one), this senior season was less about being scouted, and more about teaching his younger teammates everything he has learned.
There are a few things about Sam's story that really stick out. First, one year before, he lost a ton of weight and wound up in the hospital with a serious thyroid issue. He had to have surgery (and still has a big scar across his throat), an experience that has made him incredibly humble and grateful. We also learn in episode five, that Sam's very close family friend took his own life, leaving Sam and his brother completely devastated.
The constant support in Sam's life is his mom, Lisa. She watches game film with him, attends every game, and stands on the sidelines with her giant camera and tripod, capturing every moment of glory.
The third QB is Re-al Mitchell of Eastvale, CA. Before I go on, I could not get over the spelling of his name. Re-al. That would be like my parents naming me Mol-ly. It just doesn't make any sense!
Re-al plays for St. John Bosco, which has to be the wealthiest high school football program in America. I could not get over their facilities, equipment, technology, uniforms, travel style - everything. As if the unlimited resources weren't enough, their games are televised on ESPN.
Re-al's situation is an interesting one. He's 5'11, which is short for a quarterback. Despite his killer performance, people are always asking him (and his dad!) if he can really be successful at that height. Re-al likes to remind people, he's the same height as Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
In episode seven, Re-al gets pulled from the game after a few failed plays. His coach puts in the second string quarterback, a sophomore. In episodes eight and nine, the decision to yank Re-al makes its way to the media, intensifying the situation and creating a frenzy before the next two games. Everyone wants to know, "Will Re-al start again or ride the bench?"
Despite his issues at the end of the season, when the final game has been played, Re-al packs up and moves to his new dorm room at Iowa State. The snow and freezing temperatures are a far cry from what he's used to in Southern California. When he hugged his parents as they got ready to drive back to Eastvale, I have to admit, I got a little misty!
I really, really love this show. It's given me a new appreciation for the journey from prospect, to college player, to NFL draft. The next Tom Brady could be one of these guys, and we're getting to be part of it.
Now, if you really want to nerd out about QB1, there have been some real-time developments! Remember how Jake Fromm from season one and Justin Fields from season two both committed to Georgia? Well, Justin was unhappy with his lack of playing time and decided he wanted to transfer. One of the schools he was considering was Ohio State, where Tate Martell from season one, is the QB. Tate published some tweets discouraging Justin from coming to Ohio (you can read all about that here). The tweets couldn't keep Justin away, and he arrived at Ohio State, ready to compete for Tate's spot. Ever the diva, Tate picked up and left! He transferred to University of Miami. You better believe I am going to keep my eyes peeled for him when I visit in April!
Tell me, are you a QB1 fan? Have you watched season two?