TV Review – “Peyton’s Places: Two-Way Players” on ESPN+

Peyton Manning is one of the greatest and most famous football players of all-time. He has hosted Saturday Night Live, appeared in countless commercials and, oh yeah, won a couple of Super Bowls. Now, he’s hosting his own series on ESPN+.

Peyton’s Places follows the NFL great around the country as he explores the history of the National Football League, one piece at a time. The 15th episode focuses on two-way players, a near-extinct breed of athletes who play both offense and defense in the NFL.

After last week’s mold-breaking chat with legendary quarterback Brett Favre, the latest episode returns to the show’s typical format. However, this one stays on topic more than previous episodes, focusing on some of the greatest two-way players of all-time, with Peyton either chatting with them or talking us through their storied careers.

The episode open with a tease of Peyton getting a lesson on how to play defensive back from arguably the greatest to ever do it: Deion Sanders. Nicknamed “Primetime,” Sanders is one of the biggest personalities the sport has ever seen, so that tease was more than enough to get me hooked.

We then go into our typical history lesson, with Peyton explaining an ear of the game that most fans today have long forgotten about. Peyton talks about players like Chuck Bednarik and Sammy Baugh and I have to admit, I alway enjoy getting a look at those old highlights and seeing how the game was played so long ago. This history lesson is fun, but Peyton quickly brings it back to present day.

We get back to that lesson with Deion teaching Peyton how to play cornerback. It’s always funny seeing someone who is considered to be one of the greatest athletes in the history of american sports look completely out of his element while trying to do something athletic. That’s the case for Peyton here. The two are eventually joined by Sanders’ son, who is a highly-recruited high school quarterback himself. Sanders then proceeds to repeatedly torch Peyton, catching one touchdown after another. Peyton does catch an interception in the end but it seems like it was just the young quarterback paying his respects to a legend.

We then get to a conversation between Peyton and J.J. Watt, one of the best defensive ends in the game today who was also been known to sneak out on offense form time to time. Watt talks us through an instance where, in a span of three minutes, he made a huge play on defense and went to the bench only to return moments later to catch a touchdown on offense. Watching Watt and Peyton break down that sequence was a lot of fun for football fans.

Overall, this was a very good episode of Peyton’s Places. While it returned to the familiar formula of previous episodes, it didn’t fall back into the pattern of including any segments that were very loosely tied to the theme of the entire episode, as some previous episodes have. Now, I just want to see Peyton put the pads back on and come back and play safety in the NFL.

The first 15 episodes of Peyton’s Places are available now on ESPN+. Fans can subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year) and can cancel at any time.

Mike Mack
Mack is the Editorial Director for Marvel and ESPN content and he 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."