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 28th episode is titled “The Art of the Quarterback” and it takes an in-depth look at the position Peyton dominated in the NFL for a long time.
Before I get into each individual segment of this episode, I will say if you’re a football nerd like me, this is a really fun one. There have been previous installments, like last week’s which looked at the football fandom of Elvis Presley, that have not really gotten too much into the details of the game. This episode on the other hand, really digs into the those details.
We start off with Peyton talking to Joe Namath and asking him what his favorite thing was about playing quarterback. It thine jumps around to Peyton asking the same question to various other quarterbacks like Brett Favre, Doug Williams, Dan Marino and even his brother Eli Manning. It’s a great opener because it really gives you a sense of how this episode is going to work. Peyton Manning, one the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game, is going to discuss the position with some of the other bests to ever do it. Sounds like a great concept for a football fan to enjoy.
After another brief introduction and piece about how to grip a football, Peyton breaks down the throwing motion of Namath. This very brief segment actually points out the only issue I have with this episode. I want it to be longer. Peyton and Namath only talk for about a minute before Peyton moves on to talking about the drills that make quarterbacks, another topic I would have loved to learn more about.
Next is another quick segment, this time about coaches and their attention to detail when it comes to the quarterback position. Peyton sits down with Joe Montana, one of the greatest players of all-time, to watch film of Bill Walsh, one of the greatest coaches of all-time, breaking down a play-action pass and going into far more detail than most football fans would ever think possible. It’s these sort of peeks behind the curtain that make this show so fun for football fans.
Peyton then moves on to discuss cadence and pre-snap signals and calls. If you’ve ever watched Peyton Manning play football, you know this was a huge part of his game. The coolest thing about this segment is knowing that my curiosity regarding everything he would do before the ball was snapped was matched by the players lining up against him, including legendary defensive back Deion Sanders.
In another couple of fun segments, Peyton asks some more great quarterbacks what was their favorite route to throw to before talking with his brother about gifts they’ve gotten for their offensive linemen. Hearing quarterbacks describe various routes and how they would utilize them against opposing defenses was fascinating and then hearing Eli talk about how difficult it was to get jeans for a 6’5”, 320-pound man was pretty comical. These back-to-back segments were perfect examples of what this show is all about.
Peyton then talks about quarterbacks with the ability to escape pressure and make plays with theirs legs, a skill he himself never quite mastered. It leads to fun bunch of highlights that includes an unbelievable touchdown run by Steve Young and culminates in a pitifully awkward slide attempt by Peyton at the end of a 4-yard run.
Peyton then flies through a few more quick segments – looking at the storied career of Bob Griese, Young’s ability to throw blind and where Williams got his incredible arm strength – before sitting down with Dan Fouts to talk about one of the highest-scoring games in playoff history. It’s another one of those historical segments that is a lot of fun for football fans to look back at.
The episode ends with another montage of quarterbacks just discussing what the position means and what it demands from a person. It’s amazing listening to all of these Hall of Fame athletes talk about what it arguably the most important position in sports. It’s definitely a fun episode, especially if you’re a big football fan.
The first 28 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.