You know how important high school football is in Texas thanks to the documentation and dramatization provided by books/shows/movies like Friday Night Lights and Varsity Blues. But that passion doesn’t just magically spring up at the high school level — some intense groundwork is laid earlier. Like, way earlier.
Esquire Network’s new 10-part docuseries, Friday Night Tykes, takes you inside the “grown-up world of youth football” in Texas, tracking the 8- and 9-year-olds in the rookies division of the Texas Youth Football Association’s San Antonio region, which has produced more state champions in recent years than any other area.
Esquire has exclusively provided us with the entire first episode of the series, which showcases a gridiron atmosphere typical of the college and professional levels. That comes with plenty of fun stuff (cheerleaders, tailgating, roaring crowds) and some not-so-fun stuff (clashing parents, intense pressure, extreme training conditions and drills that raise safety concerns, and even vicious heckling). Here it is:
Friday Night Tykes airs Tuesdays at 9 PM, and debuts January 14 with two back-to-back episodes at 9 PM and 10 PM on Esquire Network.