“You have the opportunity today to rip their freakin’ head off and let them bleed!”
That’s a line directly from a new, sneak peek video of Friday Night Tykes, a show about youth football debuting on the Esquire Network this month.
My colleague Gabe Zaldivar recently wrote a rundown on Esquire’s newest series, and now we have the latest and longest sneak peak into what could certainly be one of the most controversial television shows of 2014.
Centered around eight- and nine-year-olds playing in the “ultra-competitive” Texas Youth Football Association, the show will give viewers a look inside the no-mercy, no-excuses world of peewee pigskin.
If this sneak peak is any indication of the project’s larger scope, this show isn’t going to stir the pot in the ongoing discussion of safety in football—it’s going to blow the pot into low orbit.
Kids are crying, coaches are screaming and the youngsters are shown exchanging helmet-to-helmet shots.
It’s not a great look for some of these coaches, with one of them telling a player to “put it in [his opponent’s] helmet.” This is the same man who tells his team to make the other team cry.
Esquire’s website describes the mindsets of the coaches and the parents, saying the adults involved often struggle to balance teaching with good parenting.
Coaches and parents offer insight into why they believe they’re teaching valuable lessons about discipline and dedication, but also grapple with serious questions about parenting, safety and at what price we’re pushing our kids to win.
In other words, all the best and the worst things you could ever hope to foster in a child are on display in Friday Night Tykes, which debuts Jan. 14 on the Esquire Network.
No playtime. No mercy.