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Peyton and Archie Manning

Super Bowl Profile: Archie and Peyton Manning

January 25, 2010 01:00 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Archie Manning is one of the greatest and most popular players in New Orleans Saints’ history, but come Super Bowl Sunday he’ll be cheering for his son Peyton and the Indianapolis Colts.

Archie’s Saints Play Archie’s Son in Super Bowl XLIV

Archie Manning was one the Saints’ few stars in the early decades of the franchise, which went 21 years before its first winning season. While fans wore paper bags over their heads and called the team the ‘Aints, Manning became the “pitiful face of a team that couldn't seem to do anything right,” writes Paul Newberry of The Associated Press.

Manning still resides in New Orleans and supports the Saints, but he’ll be rooting against the team when they play in their first Super Bowl against the Indianapolis Colts, quarterbacked by Archie’s son Peyton. “I'm pulling for the Colts 100 percent,” Archie told AP. “It's not even close.”

Here is a look at the lives of Archie and Peyton, who was raised in New Orleans along with his older brother Cooper and younger brother Eli, the quarterback of the New York Giants.

Archie Manning

Archie Manning was one of the greatest college quarterbacks of all-time, starring at the University of Mississippi from 1968 to 1970. The Drew, Miss., native was described by Sports Illustrated’s William F. Reed as “the red-haired, freckle-faced country boy who serves the University of Mississippi both as superstar quarterback and resident folk hero.”

A two-time All-American and All-SEC, Manning came fourth in the vote for the Heisman Trophy in 1969 and third in 1970. He was selected second overall in the 1971 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints.

Playing for a string of terrible teams, Manning became better known for being sacked than winning games. He did, however, reach the Pro Bowl twice and earn admiration for his loyalty to a team that provided little protection or support.

“Manning has remained the one bright spot in the team's dreadful 14-year history, the only deal that hasn't gone sour,” wrote Sports Illustrated’s Paul Zimmerman in 1981, following a 1-15 season for the Saints. “He has never threatened to jump ship, never held the club up for more money, never faked an injury, never given it anything less than his best shot in any game.”

Manning, who would be traded to Houston during the ensuing season, told Zimmerman: “Ever since last season ended, the number one question people ask me is, ‘Why don't you leave? Why don't you get out of here?’ It's kind of hard to explain. I've put in 10 years here, this team, this city. My kids are happy in school here, my wife is happy in New Orleans. Sure I want to win, but I want to win here, in this city.”

Manning retired in 1984 as a member of the Minnesota Vikings, finishing his career with a 35-101-3 record and no winning seasons.

Since his retirement, Archie has played advisor, coach and mentor to his sons. 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.

Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning continued the legacy created by his father. Growing up in New Orleans, Peyton listened to audiotapes of his dad’s college games and dreamed of starring in college. “Peyton embraced his father’s past and formed a picture of his own future,” wrote Sports Illustrated’s Tim Layden.

Peyton became a star quarterback at Isidore Newman School, leading the team to a 34-5 record while throwing for 7,207 yards in three seasons. A prized recruit, Manning eschewed Ole Miss for Tennessee, where he would lead the team to an SEC championship and finish second in the Heisman trophy voting.

Peyton was selected first overall in 1998 by the Indianapolis Colts. In his 12 years in the NFL, Peyton has won four NFL MVP awards and been perennially elected to the Pro Bowl. He has been a consistent leader of the Colts, averaging over 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns per season.

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.

Manning has dedicated himself to charity work, most notably through his Peyback Foundation, which was established in 1999 to benefit children in need and their families. Peyton and Eli were among the first athletes to help New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, sending planes full of supplies for the victims.

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