After Peyton Manning retired, there was a lot of speculation about what he would do. Many people thought he would be good as a game or studio analyst if he decided to go the media route. However, he hasn’t gone that direction in his post-playing career.
Manning is staying in the public spotlight, though. Part of that is through the commercials he continues to do, but he has also been doing some work for ESPN’s subscription streaming service, ESPN+. Last season, he hosted a show called Detail on which he analyzed game film and this offseason he added another show to his repertoire, Peyton’s Places.
What is ‘Peyton’s Places’?
Produced by NFL Films, Peyton’s Places celebrates the NFL’s 100th season by exploring the league’s storied history to take viewers down memory lane. The 30-episode series premiered in July with the first of five chapters, each consisting of six episodes.
In the series, Manning travels to cities rich in NFL history and talks to people associated with the league’s history. For the two-time Super Bowl champion, hosting the show was a labor of love. Manning is a student of the game who enjoys learning about the NFL, and he says he ” learned a lot during this journey, and spent some time with some of [his] favorite players and contemporaries of [his] dad [Archie] and guys he looked up to.”
‘Peyton’s Places’ highlights
NFL Films always produces quality content, and there’s a lot of it in this 30-episode series. One of the highlights to watch out for is Manning going for a vintage car ride in Green Bay with fellow legendary quarterback Brett Favre.
He also rewatches Super Bowl III with Joe Namath, throws footballs off a New York skyscraper with Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter, and debates the Immaculate Reception with members of the Steelers and Raiders who played in that fateful 1972 game.
Of course, Peyton couldn’t do 30 episodes without little brother Eli appearing. In that episode, the brothers visit the kitchen where the Lombardi Trophy was created from a cereal box. Other football luminaries appearing on the series include Ray Lewis, Joe Montana, Sammy Baugh, and members of the undefeated 1972 Dolphins.
Manning’s adventures are interspersed with clips from the vast NFL Films archive that show NFL legends both on and off the field.
Elvis, the lost Manning?
Among the more unique highlights of the series involves Manning’s trip to Memphis. There, he dresses up as Elvis Presley and plays football. That is part of Manning’s more humorous side, which he has showcased in the past, most notably when he hosted Saturday Night Live back in 2007 and as host of the 2017 ESPYs.
ESPN executive Connor Schell acknowledged Manning’s sense of humor as one of the features that will help “produce wonderful stories” in the press release announcing the series.
Reactions to the show
With multiple episodes now available to stream on ESPN+, and occasional airings on ABC and the ESPN family of networks, reactions to Peyton’s Places are showing up all over the Internet.
Sports Illustrated says the series “presents the league’s history as buddy comedy” and says “it’s surprisingly fun—thanks largely to its star.” Meanwhile, IMDB users seem to be enjoying the series; it has an 8.1 rating out of a possible 10 in a small sample size of eight votes.
You can expect to continue hearing more about the show throughout the season as more people get around to watching the episodes and interest in football picks up as the season goes on. Sadly, while you can’t watch Manning play in the NFL anymore, you can watch him discuss the history of the game on.