ESPN has been showing us live sporting events for years. Whether it’s baseball, basketball, football or pretty much anything else that gets played with a ball, ESPN will televise it. Sometimes we want just a little bit more though. And that’s where ESPN+ comes in.
Miles to Go, a new 18-part series based on the recent Kansas Football hiring of Head Coach Les Miles, premiered on ESPN+ yesterday. The early episodes of the new series provides a behind-the-scenes look at the process Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long went through before hiring Miles and the potential impact the hiring could have on a program that has been a perennial loser.
Shows like this, especially HBO’s Hard Knocks which is considered by many to be the pinnacle of this genre, succeed because people who watch football will always say “I wonder what it’s like to be a professional football player.” I would venture to guess that there is a much, much smaller number of people who say “I wonder what it’s like to be the Athletic Director at a big university.”
That’s what at least the first couple of episodes give you; a glimpse into the world of an Athletic Director of a Power 5 college program. Exactly what you’ve always wanted to see right?
With that being said though, it does turn out to be pretty interesting. Despite the fact that this essentially a job that puts someone in charge of games being played by students, there’s a lot of pressure on every little decision, and Miles to Go emphasizes that right from the beginning.
I’m not saying I was caught off-guard by the importance of Long’s position or how much weight everyone puts on college sports. I understand it’s a huge industry and I’m a fan myself. But to see a seasoned AD nervously asking if he was going to be sitting or standing during an upcoming press conference, really provides a different perspective.
Somewhat surprisingly, I found myself really enjoying the content of this new series. If I was to nitpick just a bit, my issues mostly lie in the editing. Some of the shots seem to jump back and forth in time a bit. One shot has the crew in a hotel picking out a meeting space and the next shot has them on a plane, and then it’s right back to the hotel. A certain level of confidentiality has to be kept during the interview process with coaching candidates, which is understandable but makes following along with the process just a bit difficult.
I also found it a bit odd that, for a show named after Les Miles, the coach isn’t really brought up until about 15 minutes into the first 21-minute episode. Understandably, the series focuses equally on Long, but without knowing that going in, the absence of Miles is a bit distracting.
Again though, that’s just me nitpicking at this new series. I really did enjoy it more than I thought I would. It’s far from being the new Hard Knocks and certainly appeals to a much smaller demographic, but for what it is, Miles to Go is fairly well done.
The first four episodes of Miles to Go are available now on ESPN+.
Mike is a writer that has covered comic cons, theme park events, video game showcases and other fun events. He is a fan of theme parks, sports, movies, Marvel Comics and is a self-proclaimed “nerd.”