TV Review – “Peyton’s Places: In Lombardi’s Footsteps” 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 22ndt episode is titled “In Lombardi’s Footsteps,” and it explores the history and lore of one of the greatest coaches in the history of American sports.

The opening segment of this episode sparked a bit of nostalgia for me, as Peyton visited my native state of New Jersey to stop by the Vince Lombardi Service Area to ask unsuspecting people questions about the legendary coach. This segment is a perfect example of what this show does so well, which is blending history and trivia with comedy and entertainment.

Peyton then meets up with longtime Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher at Yankee Stadium to talk about Lombardi’s first professional coaching job with the New York Giants. They go on to explain how the Giants’ owner would take Polaroid pictures of the filed during games, stuff them in a sock and throw them down to Lombardi on the sideline so he could see the other team’s formations. This was probably the biggest “wow” moment of the episode for me as it was just crazy to see how far technology has come over the years.

Peyton’s next guest is former Green Bay Packers guard Jerry Kramer who discusses Lombardi’s bread and butter play – the Packer sweep. If you’re not interested in the X’s and O’s of football, you might not enjoy this segment but for football fans, it’s a lot of fun seeing a legendary play like that being explained by one of the guys who executed it for so long.

In a brief segment, Peyton chats with former Packers linebacker Dave Robinson about what it was like to meet with Lombardi in his office. The conversation doesn’t carry much weight in the episode, but it’s nice to hear from another one of the players who go to play for the legendary coach. You can also tell that even after all these years there’s still an incredible amount of respect and even a measure of intimidation these players feel when talking about Lombardi.

In the final segment, which runs for about 10 minutes, Peyton once again meets up with longtime Packers quarterback Brett Favre to visit Lombardi’s old house. Favre picks Peyton up in the Corvette Sting Ray that was awarded to quarterback Bart Starr for winning the MVP of the first ever Super Bowl. Talk about a whole lot of NFL history in one car ride.

You may be wondering why this one segment runs for the final 10 minutes of an episode with only about a 27-minute runtime. Well, on top of the history that comes with visiting Lombardi’s house, Peyton and Favre just have great chemistry. This is the second time Favre has been featured heavily on the show and I would happily sign up to see it again. In fact, I think a show with both Peyton and Favre talking football on a weekly basis would be a lot of fun.

This is yet another very strong episode of Peyton’s Places. It’s packed with even more history than most other episodes, as you probably could have guessed given the topic of conversation. It’s also very entertaining, with Favre being the highlight once again.

The first 22 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."