TV Review – “Peyton’s Places: Peyton’s Favorite 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 25th episode is titled “Peyton’s Favorite Players,” and it takes a look at, you guessed it, some of Peyton’s all-time favorite players, including his father Archie and brother Eli.

The episode opens with Peyton driving around New Orleans, the city in which his dad played the majority of his career, while listening to a song that was written about his dad. The song is titled “The Ballad of Archie Who,” and it’s a tribute to the incredible football talents of Archie Manning. The segment serves as an introduction to Peyton’s first favorite player.

Peyton then meets up with his father, who took the long trip to his own kitchen to meet up with his son. The two discuss Archie’s famed career and show some great old highlights, including his amazing underhand pass that not even Peyton has been able to replicate. It’s a fun look back at some old football with some interesting insight from Peyton, who was just a kid on the sidelines back then.

After Archie retired, Peyton needed a new player to look up to. That’s why Peyton headed to Miami next to talk to one of the all-time great Miami Dolphins: Dan Marino. It was cool to see Peyton catch up with Dan, but I also realized at this point that he was just going to be talking to a few quarterbacks and not acknowledging any other positions in this episode, which was a little disappointing.

Still, Peyton talks about Dan’s amazing, record-breaking career and shows off some more very entertaining highlights. It’s not just his football career they discuss though. They do get around to talking about one of my all-time favorite movies – Ace Ventura: Pet Detective – Which Marino played a large role in. By default, that made this one of my favorite segments. It also concludes with Peyton leaving Dan’s Miami home in a pair of Dolphins-colored Zubaz, so that was great too.

Finally, Peyton heads to New York to catch up with his brother and long-time New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning. As we’ve seen in some previous episodes, Peyton has great chemistry with his brother and their conversation comes across as very natural.

While I enjoy hearing from Eli and watching his chat with Peyton, this is probably the least interesting segment to me, simply because I’ve already seen all of Eli’s highlights. While Archie and Dan are two players I never got to see play, I am very familiar with Eli’s career. Of course, that completely depends on the viewer, but I’d be willing to bet that most of this show’s viewers are more familiar with Eli’s career than Archie’s.

This was another entertaining episode of Peyton’s Places. It says a lot that the show can be so enjoyable while doing so little. This episode was simply Peyton in three different locations talking to three different people. There were no funny sketches or elaborate reenactments, just a few football legends talking. And it was great.

As I said before though, I would have liked to see Peyton look at other positions. When I saw the title of the episode I thought he might be building a team with his favorite player at each position. As a football fan (football nerd might be more accurate), that would have been fun to see. Still, the episode was once again informative and entertaining.

The first 25 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."