TV Review – “Peyton’s Places: A Lot To Be Thankful For” 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 20th episode is titled “A Lot To Be Thankful For” and it essentially boils down to a look at Peyton’s past as he sits with his father and brothers to talk about all their years of playing football.

The episode opens up first talking about football on Thanksgiving and provides a little bit of history on the NFL playing games on turkey day. It’s a fun look at some of the most memorable Thanksgiving day moments in NFL history, including a chat with former Cowboys wide receiver Drew Pearson about playing on the holiday and a talk with hall of fame running back Jerome Bettis regarding a botched coin flip.

Then it quickly turns into a stroll down memory lane for Peyton as he visits his childhood home to sit and talk with his father and brothers about their old football games, home videos and what they’re thankful for.

It quickly becomes a very different episode of Peyton’s Places. That opening segment makes it feel as though it will follow the same formula that had been laid out by at least most of the 19 previous episodes. But once Peyton takes that MTV Cribs-like walk up to his old house, it becomes a completely different show.

And in this case, that’s a good thing. Watching Peyton walk around his old home and sit down with his family, including his two-time Super Bowl-winning brother Eli, is very charming and enjoyable. Somehow, even though these obviously aren’t your memories you’re looking back on, the invoke a sense of nostalgia that just makes this episode a lot of fun to watch.

There’s also an emotional element to it as well. Hearing all of the Manning men discuss what they’re thankful for in regards to football, especially when Eli talks about how it brought him closer to Peyton, really draws you in and attaches you to these guys as you watch them reminisce.

And then, there’s the main event. We get a look back at some of the Mannings’ home movies, including backyard football games with Peyton and his brother and some less-than-stellar dance moves from the legendary quarterback.

If you don’t enjoy watch three-year-old Peyton Manning complain about a horse-collar tackle during a backyard football game with his brother and friends, we’re just not on the same wavelength. The Mannings also provide some hilarious commentary for these old videos that feels very genuine and is definitely entertaining.

As I’ve said, this is a very different episode of Peyton’s Places. If you’re looking for a history lesson on football, this isn’t the episode for you. There are plenty of other episodes that fit that bill however, and this one serves a very different purpose. This episode it just fun to watch. It’s entertaining. So if you go in expecting to smile and laugh at some old Manning home movies, you’re going to enjoy this episode.

The first 20 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."