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Bring on the Competition: The Best Sports Docuseries on Netflix

High stakes, big wins, and devastating losses. The most impactful, riveting, and inspirational sports docuseries on Netflix.

Image: Tomas Mazowski
Updated: January 10, 2022

There's nothing that can evoke more emotions than a good sports documentary. It's hard to stay stoic as you watch athletes put everything on the line and push themselves to their limits for the opportunity to make it to the next level. The best sports docuseries have it all - high stakes, big wins, and devastating losses. They encompass everything we love about competitions. Netflix boasts some of the best sports docuseries ever made. Covering everything from gritty rodeos to shamed elite football players, any sports lover will find their match in one of Netflix's offerings.

The best sports documentary series on Netflix

We've gathered up the most impactful, the most riveting, and the most inspirational sports docuseries in Netflix's catalog. Prepare yourself for an emotional roller coaster.

Last Chance U

With each season focusing on a different junior college, Last Chance U follows high school football stars who, for whatever reason, haven't made the transition to the big football university programs they strive to join. Many of the players come from significant economic disadvantages and struggle to maintain their academics enough to remain on the team. Showing that the path to the NFL takes more than just talent, Last Chance U is an insightful look at what it takes to make it in the big leagues.

Last Chance U (2016)

The Playbook: A Coach's Rules For Life

Each episode of The Playbook turns its focus onto a different championship-level coach, allowing them to share the tips and lessons they impart upon their players with the rest of the world. Featured coaches range from Los Angeles Clippers' Doc Rivers; to two-time FIFA World Cup-winning coach Jill Ellis, the winningest coach in US soccer history; to Serena Williams' famed tennis coach, Patrick Mouratoglou. The Playbook offers a fascinating look at how the best coaches in the world extract greatness from their players.

The Playbook (2020)

The Last Dance

This 10-part docuseries provides a never seen before look at Michael Jordan's last season with the Chicago Bulls. Combining footage from the NBA entertainment crew that followed the team all year with over 100 interviews from those on and close to the team, The Last Dance provides a unique look at the team's inner workings and the circumstances that led to Michael Jordan's retirement. A must-see for any basketball fan, this in-depth look at one of the best teams of all time is riveting throughout.

The Last Dance (2020)
Cast: Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman


Revealing there's more loss than triumph in the typical athlete's career,  Losers ignores the Michael Phelps and Kobe Bryants of the world to focus on those who miss the mark. Covering a wide range of sports, athletes, and losses, Losers brings perspective to how one looks at defeat and how failing can change a person's life way more than success can. Providing an ongoing theme of the worst losses providing the best overall outcomes, Losers offers everyone who has felt like a disappointment the chance to re-evaluate their mindset and try again.

Losers (2019)


This six-part docuseries follows the best competitive junior college cheer squad in the nation, Navarro College. Showcasing the hard work and dedication that goes into their performances, as well as the tumultuous backstories of the athletes, Cheer became a surprisingly huge success for Netflix. This up-close look at the high stakes of competitive cheerleading, where anything less than perfect doesn't just mean defeat; it can also mean serious injury, may finally earn these athletes the respect they deserve.

Cheer (2020)

Formula 1: Drive to Survive

Those who have never thought about the work that goes into becoming a driver for an elite Formula 1 racing team can expect to have their minds blown by watching Formula 1: Drive to Survive. These drivers have to be in the top physical condition. With lightning-fast reflex and decision-making skills, Formula 1 racers also navigate the complex politics of being on a racing team with plenty of competition over the same spots. Though Formula 1 is an obvious win for any motorsport fan, it's surprisingly captivating and dramatic for those who love the dynamics of high-level competition.

Formula 1: Drive to Survive (2019)

The Least Expected Day

The Grand Tours in cycling encompass three weeks of racing with daily stages, where the cyclists face challenges both physical and environmental. The Least Expected Day offers audiences a first-hand look at the Spanish Movistar team as they face the highs and lows of multi-day competition. This groundbreakingly forthcoming film explores the relationships, personalities, and preparation that goes into this grueling competition.

The Least Expected Day: Inside the Movistar Team 2019 (2020)

Sunderland 'Til I Die

England's northeast football team, the Sunderland Association Football Club, holds the hopes of its working-class fans as it pursues excellence in the English Premier League. With everything riding on their 2018-2019 season, the team feels like it's poised to be the ultimate redemption story. Instead, Sunderland 'Til I Die ends up being the opposite, a story of cataclysmic failure, which is just as, if not more riveting. With spectacular losses, financial stress, arrests, and firings, this docuseries offers way more intrigue than a success story. It provides an authentic look at what happens behind the scenes during an implosion.

Sunderland 'Til I Die (2018)

QB1: Beyond the Lights

Each season of QB1: Beyond the Lights follows three quarterbacks who seem destined for greatness in their final high school season. Directed by Peter Berg of Friday Night Lights, it should come as no surprise that the series seamlessly juggles the teens' all-star goals with their regular lives full of school work, relationships, and expectations. Taking a look at the commitment and sacrifices that young athletes with big dreams make, QB1 is a must-watch for football lovers.

QB1: Beyond the Lights (2017)
Cast: Jake Fromm, Tayvon Bowers, Tate Martell, Justin Fields, Sam Hartman, Re-al Mitchell, Spencer Rattler, Lance LeGendre

Maradona in Mexico

Argentina's Diego Maradona holds a legacy as one of the best football players of all time, but his story is fraught with controversy. Maradona's struggles with substance abuse and organized crime are just as headline-worthy as his footwork. When Maradona took a job managing the Mexican football team Dorados de Sinaloa in Culiacán (which is known to some as the world capital of cocaine), director Angus MacQueen knew it was a story worth following.

Maradona in Mexico (2019)
Cast: Diego Armando Maradona

Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez was on his way to becoming yet another one of the New England Patriots' superstars when he effectively cut his career short by murdering his former friend Odin Lloyd. That murder led police to link Hernandez to two other deaths, and the former tight end was destined to spend his life behind bars before he cut it short through suicide. Killer Inside interviews those close to Hernandez and plays his jailhouse phone conversations in an examination of what could lead someone who had it all to sabotage their success in such a drastic way.

Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez (2020)
Cast: Aaron Hernandez

Boca Juniors Confidential

Following the Argentinian football team, Boca Juniors, as they seek to win the Superliga again, Boca Juniors Confidential takes audiences through the team's entire season, from pre-season training to the quest for the championship title. This four-part docuseries intersperses the action on the field with interviews from the players and staff, providing a more intimate look at the team and what it takes to be the best.

Boca Juniors Confidential (2018)

Home Game

If football and hockey have become too mundane for your taste, Home Game is bound to offer you a new obsession. This eight-part docuseries showcases some of the wildest and most dangerous sports globally and the communities who love them. Giving audiences a taste of everything from Roller Derby and Scottish Highland games to Calcio Storico and Kok Boru, this look at the most unconventional sports is nothing short of captivating.

Home Game (2020)


Fearless covers the dangerous and wildly complex world of Professional Bull Riding (PBR). While PBR boasts enough of a following to sell out arenas nationwide but still manages to not be mainstream. In pursuit of the sports crowning achievement, the silver buckle, riders in the grueling and gritty world of bull riding, are willing to risk life and limb (literally) to come out on top. Fearless not only delivers a behind the scenes look at the terrifying sport, but it also highlights the sports new up and comers. This combination of a human interest story with heart-pumping action-filled competitions makes for a wild ride.

Fearless (2016)
Cast: Adriano Moraes, J.B. Mauney, Silvano Alves, Kaique Pacheco, Guilherme Marchi, Robson Palermo
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