Omaha Productions returns with Season 2 of "Eli's Places"
Eli Manning's most famous moments came in Super Bowls. But some of his fondest memories were made at Ole Miss, and he's turned his passion for college football into a show.
Driving the news: Season 2 of "Eli's Places," a college football-centric version of his brother Peyton's NFL show, "Peyton's Places," debuted Wednesday on ESPN+.
- Season 1 showcased Eli's ability to lead a show and entertain through humor (here's Nick Saban throwing him off an inner tube). Season 2 begins with an episode about Tim Tebow's magical run at Florida.
- The "Places" franchise, produced by Omaha Productions, covers multiple sports now, with "Vince's Places" (Vince Carter), "Abby's Places" (Abby Wambach), "Rowdy's Places" (Ronda Rousey) and "Big Papi's Places" (David Ortiz) all on ESPN+.
What he's saying: Between Monday Night Football's "ManningCast" and "Eli's Places," the youngest Manning brother is suddenly a media star. Is that something he anticipated happening? "Definitely not," he tells me.
When I was playing and even after I retired, I had no interest in getting into broadcasting. And I never really thought about having my own show.
But then with the pandemic and people getting used to Zoom, Peyton and I had the idea to call games from our couch. I didn't know that was an opportunity … That job didn't really exist while I was playing.
And then I saw what Peyton was doing with "Places" and I thought that would be fun. I've learned so much about the history of college football.
Between the lines: Part of what makes "Eli's Places" work is that Manning genuinely loves college football. That was evident in our conversation.
- "I love the friendships you make," says Manning. "You're all 18 to 21, living together ... so many new things are happening and it's exciting to share that time and play a game you love with your best friends."
- That's his only concern about the rise of NIL: that it will change that dynamic. "The great thing about college football is that everybody's in the same boat. And that's not the case anymore ... I just hope there's not resentment amongst the team, and that's what scares me."
More from our chat:
- How he describes "Eli's Places": "A third history lesson, a third sit-down interview, a third SNL skit. We have a lot of schools calling hoping to get on the show. I think that's a true testament to what we're doing ... just having a lot of fun."
- "Manningcast" success: "We don't take ourselves too seriously and kind of enjoy putting ourselves out there and setting up the other person to make fun of us. I think that's the dynamic that makes it interesting. We'll talk football X's and O's, but there's also that brotherly rivalry that anyone with siblings can appreciate."
- Most memorable Ole Miss moments: "Unfortunately I was on the losing end of a seven overtime game against Arkansas my sophomore year, but that's still one of those games that people remember. ... And capping off my career with a 10-win season and a Cotton Bowl victory was pretty special for me."