This year, football fans are celebrating the 100th season of the National Football League. NFL history is chock-full of fun and thought-provoking stories which helped shape what the league looks like today. Peyton’s Places, which debuts today exclusively on ESPN+, aims to explore some of these stories through the eyes of Peyton Manning.
In the 30-episode series, Manning will revisit seminal moments in NFL history through conversations with former players, coaches and other key figures.
The star of the very first episode of Peyton’s Places is the Hupmobile, which today visited ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., campus for a “car wash” of sorts.
The Hupmobile – which was parked this morning in the quad next to DC-2 – is a vintage car that was integral to the formation of the NFL a century ago.
“The Hupmobile is significant because it was where the NFL was born a century ago,” said Lindsay Rovegno, senior managing producer for ESPN+ original content. “Having the Hupmobile on campus today gives us the ability to build additional content around the excerpts that have already been released.”
Professional football had existed since 1892, but lacked any real structure until Sept. 17, 1920 when Ralph Hay, a car salesman from Canton, Ohio and owner of the Canton Bulldogs, invited the other 10 owners at the time to a series of meetings at his car showroom. Among those in attendance were football legend George Halas, owner of the Decatur Staleys (which became the Chicago Bears), and star player Jim Thorpe.
According to legend, the men sat on running boards of the Hupmobile drinking prohibition beer while organizing the structure of what would become the NFL.
As a result of the meeting, any team wishing to join this new NFL would have to pony up $100 (or $1,100 in 2019 dollars) for a franchise.
While filming his new ESPN+ show in Chicago, Peyton Manning entered into Bears Super Fandom after Chicago Bears Super Fans Robert Smigel and George Wendt baptized him with “Eye-talian” beef juice.https://t.co/Slka6JOq06
— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) July 28, 2019
In Episode 1 of Peyton’s Places, Manning takes a ride in the Hupmobile with comedian and former late-night talk-show host Jay Leno as they discuss the car’s place in NFL lore.
Coordinating producer Greg Jewell, who has worked on NFL content at ESPN for over 20 years, is helping lead the company’s production efforts on Peyton’s Places.
“My role with Peyton’s Places is to ensure that the ESPN vision and the NFL vision are aligned,” said Jewell, who is in regular communication with the NFL Films production team that shot the series with Peyton. “Through Peyton’s Places, the NFL has presented its rich history in a fun and easy-to-consume way and we are excited for fans to watch the series throughout the season on ESPN+.”