In the debut of “Peyton’s Places,” Peyton Manning captures the essence of Joe Namath, then and now.
His bravado. His cool. His coat.
Ah, yes, the fur coat. It’s a scene-stealer, the highlight of the conversation between the two famous quarterbacks.
Manning’s mission in the series is to track the 100-year history of the NFL, and his journey takes him to a swanky home where he finds the former New York Jets star shooting pool. (It was filmed in a rented mansion in Atlanta before the most recent Super Bowl.) Manning leads Namath on a nostalgic trip that covers his famous Super Bowl III guarantee and his affinity for … ahem, extracurricular activities.
“In the 100-year history of the NFL,” Manning says, “there’s never been a cooler cat than Broadway Joe.”
Namath was a celebrated playboy who in a famous pool table interview from back in the day said it’s “un-American” for a bachelor “not to have a drink with a lady now and then.” Namath and Manning re-create that scene, and it’s wonderful.
As a player, Namath was a fashion trendsetter, occasionally wearing a fur coat on the sideline when he wasn’t playing. He will break out a fur for special events, as he did in 2013 for the Super Bowl XLVIII coin toss — images of which that went viral on social media.
Manning witnessed that scene in person at MetLife Stadium, where his Denver Broncos were trounced by the Seattle Seahawks, and he mentioned Namath’s fur coat to his teammates in the huddle — a miked-up clip that finds its way into “Peyton’s Places.”
Back in the present day, Manning prompts Namath in their farewell scene.
“Joe, it looks cold out there,” Manning says to Namath at the end of his visit, standing at the front door of the rented home. On cue, Namath emerges with a fur coat for Manning to wear.
“That’ll keep you warm, I promise you that,” Namath says.
“Do you guarantee it?” Manning replies, with a twinkle in his eye.
Namath has a deep respect for the Manning family, in part because he played at the same time as Peyton’s father, Archie. Namath is a big Peyton fan, and their chemistry is evident on screen.
The Jets legend regales Peyton Manning with the story behind the “guarantee” before Super Bowl III in January 1969. Namath has repeated it thousands of times — interviews, banquets, autograph shows and elsewhere — but he has the ability to always make it sound like the first time. Namath explains the Jets’ underdog mentality, how they felt the heavily favored Baltimore Colts were overconfident and how the AFL was tired of being looked upon as second-class citizens.
“Players on other NFL teams were running their mouths about our league and whether we were championship caliber,” Namath once told ESPN.
Manning looks captivated as a fired-up Namath recalls how he blurted out his guarantee in response to a heckler at a Miami football banquet a few days before the Super Bowl.
The rest is history, captured nicely — and with a touch of humor — in “Peyton’s Places.”