The Manning Family

February 26, 2008
by findingDulcinea Staff
The Manning family has football in its blood and perseverance in its heart. Heir to their father’s quarterback legacy at Ole Miss and the New Orleans Saints, sons Peyton of the Indianapolis Colts and Eli of the New York Giants are two star quarterbacks with consecutive Super Bowl victories and MVP designations to their names. Behind the brothers is a family legacy of “quiet discipline,” patience, and ambition without pressure.

Archie Manning


Archie Manning is one of the South’s most celebrated quarterbacks of all time. A two-time All-American for the University of Mississippi, Archie was drafted by the New Orleans Saints with the second overall pick of the 1971 NFL draft. This would be the last time a Manning was selected as low as second in the draft—Peyton and Eli were both chosen first. Archie Manning also played for the Houston Oilers and the Minnesota Vikings, coaching and mentoring his young sons all the while. Today, he is an active public speaker and an oft-interviewed attendee of his sons’ games, along with his wife, Olivia, a former Homecoming Queen at Ole Miss.
Essential Facts on Archie
  • Born Elisha Archibald Manning May 19, 1949 in Drew, Mississippi.
  • As the star quarterback for Ole Miss for three years, Archie came fourth in the vote for the coveted Heisman Trophy in 1969 and third in 1970, and was All-SEC both those years.
  • Archie was the New Orleans Saints’ top pick in 1971. The legacy Archie left the team was unprecedented. He has been called a “superstar” in an era of little substantial accomplishment by the team or individual players, and his perseverance on the team was noble. In his first NFL start, he scored on a one-yard run on the game’s final play to upset the Los Angeles Rams. Later in that season, he rushed for two touchdowns to stun the eventual Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys.
  • Manning was a two-time Pro Bowl selection (1978 and 1979), and was inducted into both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1989. For more awards and a brief bio, read this Archie Manning fan bio.
  • Since his retirement from the NFL in 1984, Archie has played advisor, coach, and mentor to his sons, accompanying them in interviews, on the road, and in the media—including several TV commercials (see the “Fun for the Family” section below for links).
  • Archie and Olivia still reside in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Growing Up Archie Manning
Archie’s level headed analysis is one of the few commentaries that didn’t expire once the Giants turned everything around, beat Green Bay, and took out the Patriots two weeks later. Peyton and the Colts’ loss against the Chargers no doubt led the Mannings to turn all of their attention onto Eli, but both twists of fate were taken in stride. The family is too weathered by the sport to see any small period of time as symbolic, grave, or particularly telling—unless, of course, that period is the final nail-biting minutes of Super Bowl XLII. This cool-headed approach has made each family member calm, largely unaffected by the media, and yet publicly supportive of each other at every turn.
Manning: A Father, His Sons, and a Football Legacy” was written by Archie Manning, Peyton Manning, and writer John Underwood, and reflects on the family powerhouse that created three star quarterbacks. Published in 2000, the book is an essential biography on the whole family, though it was published too soon to include Eli’s remarkable 2007 season or other rungs on his NFL ladder.

Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning revived the Manning legacy created by his father Archie. In his 10 years in the NFL, Peyton has won two NFL MVP awards and been perennially elected to the Pro Bowl. He has been a consistent leader of the Colts, averaging over 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns per season. (Check out all Peyton’s NFL stats on his Colts bio page). In 2007, Manning crushed his “can’t win the big one” stigma as he led the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl victory over the Chicago Bears, 29-17, and was the MVP of the game. An active philanthropist with a children’s charity to his name, Peyton is also a great supporter of his brother Eli.
Essential Facts on Peyton
  • Born March 24, 1976 in New Orleans. The middle of three boys, Peyton became a star quarterback at Newman High School in New Orleans, setting a standard for his brother Eli, four years his junior. Over three years, Peyton led Newman to a record 34-5 and left with 7,207 yards under his belt.
  • His older brother, Cooper, played receiver to Peyton’s passes before being diagnosed with spinal stenosis, a rare disease that took him off the field for good.
  • Peyton was the starting quarterback for the University of Tennessee all four years and left the school with 42 records. His passing yard total Tennessee was 11,201. He was the Gatorade Circle of Champions National Player of the Year his senior year, and was the top quarterback recruit in the country.
Growing Up Peyton Manning

Eli Manning

After an up-and-down season, Eli Manning won the Most Valuable Player award in Super Bowl XLII for leading his New York Giants to a win over the previously unbeaten New England Patriots. After the Patriots took the lead with less than three minutes to go, Manning orchestrated a legendary touchdown drive that included what many are calling the greatest play in Super Bowl history and was capped by a flawless touchdown pass to wide receiver Plaxico Burress. The thrilling win stunned even the most die-hard Giants fans, who had been waiting for a third Giants championship since 1990. After playing four years in the enormous shadow cast by his All-Pro brother Peyton, Eli took the center of the global football stage. How did he do it?
Essential Facts on Eli
  • Born January 3, 1981 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is the youngest of three brothers (Cooper, 33, and Peyton, 31, quarterback for the University of Tennessee and the Indianapolis Colts).
  • His senior year, Eli led the Ole Miss team to a 10-1 record, with 3,600 passing yards and 29 touchdowns. Overall, Manning set 47 school records in college.
  • As a senior at Ole Miss, Eli won the Maxwell Award for the nation’s best all-around player; the SEC Player of the Year award; and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, among others.
  • In 2004, Eli was the first pick in the NFL draft. He famously refused to play for the team that drafted him, the San Diego Chargers, and was traded on draft day to the New York Giants. (See the 2004 NFL Draft transcript on the Chargers’ site for more on that event.)
  • In the 2008 Super Bowl, Eli became the second quarterback in NFL history to throw two touchdowns in the fourth quarter (the first was 49ers legend Joe Montana).
  • Eli lives in Hoboken, New Jersey, with fiancée Abby McGrew, his longtime girlfriend from the University of Mississippi to whom he proposed last March.
Growing Up Eli Manning
The Heir to Ole Miss

Fun for the Family

Whether or not the brothers go on to win more Super Bowls, one thing is for certain: they'll likely never lose their sense of humor. Eli, Peyton, and Archie have made a name for themselves off the field as TV commercial stars for products as diverse as the NFL Shop and Oreo cookies. Below is a selection of video gems, including an amusing segment in which Peyton poses as the media to interview Eli.

In this NFL Shop advertisement, Archie, Peyton, and Eli poke fun at their shared work ethic, huddling up for even the most mundane tasks, such as who’s going to make the popcorn for movie night and who gets the best chair (Dad, naturally).
Watch Eli being interviewed by big brother Peyton during the controversial 2004 NFL draft.
Apparently, nothing’s changed between the football brothers since school days. In this ESPN ad, the family takes a tour of the ESPN studios, but the brothers can’t stop picking on each other.
For kids, the Double Stuf Racing League is a fun online game sponsored by Oreo and created in conjunction with the Manning brothers’ “athlete alter ego” concept, called a Yooble. Join the site to create your own Yooble and compete in “lick-off” races to see who can devour an Oreo’s center in the fastest time. Watch the original Oreo ad here.
Peyton Manning famously hosted Saturday Night Live in 2007. Among other skits, he made a mock ad for United Way that showed him teaching “valuable skills” to children. It’s SNL’s most watched video on the NBC site.

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