4th and Long

TV review by
Scout Davidson, Common Sense Media
4th and Long TV Poster Image
Players' competition for NFL is too rough for young kids.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show doesn't pull any punches when it comes to showing the "true" nature of football. Viewers will walk away with an unvarnished look at the gridiron, from the dangers of pushing players too hard to the nature of fierce competition on the field.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The competitors do their best to intimidate their opponents with insults, rudeness, and threats (though it's probably not anything that any seasoned athletes in the family would flinch at).


Plenty of confrontations between players, as well as on-the-field action, from players crashing into each other to painful injuries. Some players push themselves so hard physically that they throw up.


The strongest words are bleeped, but this is professional football, and coaches use whatever language they can to inspire their players, including calling them names like "slapdick."


Corporate sponsorship abounds, with logos plastered in every available space.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

While there's no room for that kind of thing during football camp, some players allude to having had problems in the past.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this reality show about aspiring professional football players doesn't pull any punches. The competitors insult, threaten, and otherwise indimidate each other, and there's plenty of action on and off the field. Strong language, while often bleeped, is frequent and "creative," and players allude to substance use in the past. Bottom line? The grueling, brutal truth about football is displayed here in all its glory.

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What's the story?

In 4TH AND LONG, 12 former football players -- all of whom were "on the path to the NFL" but got sidetracked for different reasons -- get the chance to compete for one spot on the Dallas Cowboys team. Guided by ex-Cowboy/Hall of Famer Michael Irvin, they're put through an extraordinary set of paces by coaches Bill Bates and Joe Avezzano. Each week the player who shows the least amount of promise is cut from the team.

Is it any good?

In borrowing the formula of more family- and female-oriented reality shows like So You Think You Can Dance and Top Chef and applying it to professional football, any network would naturally try to ramp up the testosterone levels until they're off the chart. Spike, of course, does its levelheaded best to obliterate the chart.

Players are pushed until they literally throw up on the field (repeatedly and in full frame), bone crunching tackles and gruesome injuries are displayed in stomach-churning slow motion, and every jump cut is accompanied by pounding drums and screaming guitars. Still, anyone who ever lived through the visceral experience of high school or college football will immediately connect with the incredible difficulty that these players face in trying not just to emerge victorious, but to simply survive.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether the show glorifies professional football or makes it seem glamorous in any way. Did watching change your impression of the NFL or its players?

  • What does it mean to give every ounce of energy to reaching a goal? How far would you push yourself to achieve your dreams?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sports

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