The quarterback position is often the most important position on a team and the highest paid in the NFL.
And watching the Netflix documentary it’s clear why. Behind every quarterback there is not only glory or failure. There is also a lot of suffering that fans don’t see and hours and hours of studying.
Patrick Mahomes, Kirk Cousins and Marcus Mariota show the other side of the quarterback, which has nothing to do with the fame, applause, parties or money that some only see. Their work goes far beyond that and, sometimes, it isn’t pleasant.
First of all, not all players are made for this position. A quarterback, in addition to having the physical and technical ability on the field, must also be a leader and a good communicator.
“You need an academic background and a quick mind to retain all the information,” warns Cousins. And he says this because of the number of plays that must be learned each week. In his case, he records them and listens to them even when he’s in the car and get a feel for how they will sound later in games.
Mariota enlists the help of his wife, and she goes over them with him several days a week. “You pass a test every week.”
A quarterback lives with pain
However, the hours of studying are nothing compared to the pain they live with every week. The blows suffered in every game are tremendous. And the aftereffects that remain are much worse.
“After each game, when I get home it’s hard for me to open a door. My hands are swollen. And you think, how will I be able to catch the ball in the next game? But you bounce back and you do it,” Cousins says.
Mahomes has a trick by which he tries to get less hits from defenders: “I give a lot of compliments. If they come up to me I tell them ‘good run,’ ‘well played’ or ‘nice tackle.’ I have respect for those guys. They go out of their way to try to get me at all costs. That’s why I always say I want them to like me. They decide, consciously or unconsciously, those hits. If they like me, they won’t end up hitting me so hard,” he explains with a smile.
To speed up recovery and try to avoid major injuries, Mahomes sees it as key to have a personal trainer with whom he works three days a week on different aspects: tissue resistance with different postures, quick movements….
Cousins also relies on recoverers for the bruises and rib bruises he struggled with a lot last season. “Bumps make you make passes worse. You have to fight through that.”
Long hours of working through pain that eventually pays off for them. “You have to love this sport. You have to give it your all. That’s why I play my ass off every week.” Mahomes’ word. Quarterback’s word.