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 16th episode investigates who is responsible for the death of the fullback position in today’s game.
Like last week’s episode, which explored the nearly extinct two-way players, this episode dives into the nearly extinct fullback position. Those who watch the game now, know the barely existent position to be used either as a lead blocker for a runningback or an extra pass blocker, but Peyton looks into the history of the position and shows that it used to be so much more.
The episode opens with Peyton interrogating Hall of Fame runningback Jerome Bettis, in a comical take on your typical crime drama. Peyton is looking into the murder of the fullback and a big, powerful runningback like Bettis is a prime suspect. This episode is already hilarious.
As always though, that is just a tease for what will be the final segment. The episode really gets started with a chat with Jim Brown, who is widely considered to be maybe the best player the game has ever seen. Brown was a fullback when the position was reserved for the stars of the game. The segment is brief, but it’s always cool to get perspective on the game from a true legend like Brown.
Peyton that quickly skims through some of the great fullbacks before eventually chatting with Larry Csonka, who played the position for the NFL’s only ever undefeated team. The two talk about the position while showing highlights of Csonka’s hard-hitting style of running. It’s fun for those who are interested in the game’s history.
Then things really start to pickup as Peyton stops to chat with Daryl “Moose” Johnston, who played fullback for the Cowboys in the ‘90s when the position had already transitioned to primarily a blocking one. Peyton treats Johnston like source in a murder investigation and the two trade theories on who is responsible for the death of the fullback. The two list multiple coaches as potential suspects and even sneak an O.J. Simpson joke in there before bringing up Bettis as the prime suspect.
Now, the investigation comes to a head as Peyton sits down with Bettis to accuse him of killing the fullback. Bettis who was a fullback himself before switching to tailback in college, flips the script and points a finger right back at Peyton. The whole thing plays like the best episode of CSI you’ve ever seen, with a great twist at the end and everything.
Overall, this episode was a lot of fun and more proof that Peyton’s Places has really found its groove. As long as every segment stick to the overall theme of the episode, it all comes together to make a very enjoyable show. This episode in particular can be fun even for those who aren’t huge football fans. Like I said, it’s really a crime drama.
The first 16 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.