Manning: A Father, His Sons and a Football Legacy

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In Manning, Archie and Payten Manning, with writer John Underwood, provide a compelling look at football from the perspectives of two generations of players. One, an experienced and battle-scarred father, and the other, a son who has exploded on to the national scene as one of the best young quarterbacks in the history of the NFL.

Together they take a hard look at their careers and all of American football, dissecting the big-money madness, race relations within the NFL (and in ...

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Manning: A Father, His Sons and a Football Legacy

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Overview

In Manning, Archie and Payten Manning, with writer John Underwood, provide a compelling look at football from the perspectives of two generations of players. One, an experienced and battle-scarred father, and the other, a son who has exploded on to the national scene as one of the best young quarterbacks in the history of the NFL.

Together they take a hard look at their careers and all of American football, dissecting the big-money madness, race relations within the NFL (and in sports in general), the rituals of bribery that mark college recruiting, and fans who can no longer identify with the insatiable cash fever in pro sports. They discuss organizational sports and why white youngsters aren't out there playing the game like they used to; the college game as compared to the pros; coaches, good and bad; and why the quarterback position is the most difficult one in all of sports.

It all began in a town called Drew in the heart of the Mississippi Delta — farm country, where you'd find crops of cotton, soybeans, and rice. As a boy, Archie didn't have much to do outside of school except play sports. Lots of sports. He played them all and he played them well. But football was his passion, and if you lived in Mississippi in the 1960s, there was only one college for you: Ole Miss.

While there, Archie made All-America twice and was so impressive at quarterback, could do so many things to win games, that Bear Bryant, the great Alabama coach, said that he was "the most athletic quarterback I've ever seen." He became, John Grisham wrote, "a legend larger than life." Archie's exploits led him to be selected second in the NFL player draft, where he embarked on afourteen-year career in the NFL, winning All-Pro and MVP honors. But he labored with the Saints, taking a fearful beating and never winning a championship. The Saints became known as the "Ain'ts."

Meanwhile, he married and had three boys. All three would grow up to be carbon copies of their father: none under 6'4" or 200 pounds. First was Cooper, loose and lightheartened, only wide receiver of the bunch whose football aspirations were cut short by a spinal disorder while a freshman at Ole Miss. Second was Peyton, more serious, studious, and driven, though quite capable of pranks. Third was Eli, who followed in Peyton's footsteps and became an All-State quarterback for three years. Today he is a quarterback at his father's alma mater, Ole Miss.

For Peyton, playing college ball was the fulfillment of a dream and he chose Tennessee. As a teenager he memorized audiotapes of Archie's games at Ole Miss, repeated the play-by-play under his breath as he practiced ("Manning from Drew rolls right...He throws down field to Franks of Biloxi...Touchdown!") and imagined himself performing the same heroics as his father. "I would love to played in the '60s," Peyton says. But he himself did okay in the '90s. Peyton's teams won 39 of 44 games, and he became Tennessee's all-time leading passer, set 33 records, and wound up third in NCAA history in career passing yards and fourth in touchdown passes. He won any number of awards, was named NCAA Player of the Year, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa.

Peyton was selected first in the NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts, a struggling franchise. He was the only quarterback to take every snap in 1998, but his team had a dismal 3-13 and made the playoffs. Peyton was voted to be the AFC starting quarterback in the Pro Bowl.

Manning is a truly personal and inspiring story of a family, a tradition, and a legacy, providing a stirring — and at times controversial — look at football during the past fifty years.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Bookseller ReviewsWhen University of Tennessee graduate Peyton Manning signed his first N.F.L. contract, he received $11.6 million. Not for his first year of playing; for signing. The entire package earned him an indelible nickname: "The Fifty Million Dollar Quarterback." that only a few decades ago, Joe Namath was called "The $400,000 Quarterback" lends some sense of how times have changed. But unlike the Jets' legendary Broadway Joe, Peyton Manning seems intent on remaining out of tabloid spreads. His seriousness is understandable: He is part of a football-tossing dynasty. His father, Archie Manning, was an All American, an All Pro quarterback, a N.F.L. M.V.P. and the most popular New Orleans Saint in history. This family self-portrait provides up close and personal evidence of the changes and the continuities in football. (P.S. Peyton's younger brother, Eli, is preparing for his final high school gridiron season. Guess what position he plays?)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The Manning family--Archie (All-American star quarterback who played for Ole Miss and later for the New Orleans Saints); his wife, Olivia (Archie's college sweetheart and homecoming queen); their sons Cooper (whose career ended with a diagnosis of spinal stenosis), Peyton (a former star quarterback for Tennessee whose determination has led the Indianapolis Colts to an incredible turnaround) and Eli (the even-tempered starting quarterback at Ole Miss)--has enjoyed a life of success and love based on faith, family and football. Archie and Olivia Manning raised their sons with the philosophy that "it's the right thing to do, so do the right thing." The result, which Archie and Peyton capture so clearly, is a tribute to the values Americans hold in high regard: work hard, stand up for what you believe in, treat each person with respect and be grateful for what you have and for what you have achieved. With the assistance of Underwood (Death of an American Game), the narrative seamlessly flows from Archie's voice to Peyton's as they discuss everything from the meaning of football and Archie's career ups and downs to raising three sons and the game they all play. Besides the celebrations, the Mannings also comment on life in the South ("The stereotyping is repulsive... both ways. All black men aren't noble, all white men aren't swine") and the flip side of fans' fervent partisanship (for example, the slew of hateful letters and calls Archie received when Peyton turned down Ole Miss). Whether or not one is a fan of the gridiron game, the Mannings' book makes for a terrific read about an all-American family. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
This is an honest, insightful autobiography of a father and son who both reached the pinnacle of professional football. Peyton is currently the quarterback of the National Football League's (NFL) Indianapolis Colts, while Archie is a retired NFL pivot. This candid, no-holds-barred book begins in Drew, MI, during the 1950s where football was simply a game boys played to have fun, not a means to an end. The story chronicles two generations of a highly motivated football family through the good times and bad. Written with the assistance of sportswriter Underwood, this book will entertain gridiron fans. Buy where demand warrants.--Larry R. Little, Penticton P.L., BC Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061051364
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.35 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

If you were to ask Archie Manning what there was about football that made it so defining, so important to him early on, he would tell you that it wasn't. Not then. For a boy growing up in Drew, Mississippi, football was one of the games you played, that's all; one of the fun things you did, no goals intended....


From as early as I can remember, I played every sport available to me in school and on the playgrounds, which in Drew meant four: football, basketball, baseball, and track. Sports dominated your thinking if you were the least bit athletic, and more than a few of us went from one to another, season to season, like migrants. We were the embodiment of what used to be called (with great pride) the "Four-Letterman," the high school or college athlete who won letters in all four. You never hear that term anymore, except as it relates to a dubious vocabulary, because even at the lowest levels the seasons intrude or overlap and force you to make choices. If a kid plays two "organized" team sports now it's a lot.

But in Drew, and I daresay in most small towns in America in the '50s and '60s, there wasn't anything else. Only the big four. No soccer, no lacrosse, no field hockey. No swimming. Swimming was something you did in a lake or a pond in the summertime. Wrestling was something you watched on television. Forget about golf. Drew had no golf courses. No tennis either, to speak of. In the whole town there was only one tennis court, snugged in behind the Little League baseball field, mostly just taking up space. The net was always torn or down.

Drew is a farming town, founded in 1898 by officials ofthe Illinois Central Railroad. It squats in the middle of what maps call the "Delta" in northwest Mississippi. The Sunflower River meanders by to the west and the Tallahatchie to the cast, and the in-between is as flat as an ironing board. Cotton country, and soybeans and rice when the growing was good. Memphis qualifies as the nearest city -- 120 miles north into Tennessee. The Drew population stagnated a long time ago at just over 2,000, a figure that still includes my eighty-one-year-old mother, who wouldn't live anywhere else. Asking Sis Manning to live in New Orleans would be like asking her to live on Mars. In Drew, you can count the stoplights on the fingers of one hand and still have a finger left over to point out that one of the lights didn't have a yellow caution in the middle until recently.

Our house was right across the street from the high school, and within walking distance of Main Street. Every house was within walking distance of Main Street. It was a walk-everywhere kind of town, surviving pretty well when I was a kid, but now on the ropes with the farming so bad. They had a fire downtown a couple years ago that took out five stores, and the stores never got rebuilt. But Drew has always been a safe, easy place to grow up, terrific for kids like me who loved the freedom of being outdoors at any and all hours. Its only notoriety, if you can call it that, is that the state penitentiary is eight miles up the road at Parchman. Most of the kids whose parents worked there as guards and administrators went to school in Drew. My sister Pam's husband, Vernon Shelton, an Ole Miss history major, teaches the prisoners there now. (Pam won't live anywhere else but Drew, either. Must be in the genes.)

Occasionally as a boy I'd go up to Parchman myself to spend the night with a friend, and it always gave me an eerie feeling. They put hardened criminals in the penitentiary there, and every two or three weeks somebody would escape (the security was less than maximum), and when that happened, they'd make scary announcements on the radio: "A convict's out! Lock your doors!" But my daddy always said it wasn't something to lose sleep over because "if they break out of Parchman, they sure as heck aren't gonna stop in Drew." Most Drew people practiced what Daddy preached by never locking their doors. I'm not sure many of them even had locks.

Baseball, not football, was my first love, as it was with most kids I ran with in those days. It's the all-American game, where you don't have to weigh 250 pounds or be seven feet tall or run a ten-flat hundred to compete. An advantage baseball has over football when it comes to full-fledged team involvement (as opposed to backyard pickup games) is that no matter what position you play, you still get to do all the fun things: you get to hit, you get to field, you get to throw, you get to run the bases. And if you're a pitcher-the closest thing to quarterback-you get to pitch, too. But in football, if you're a guard or a tackle on either side of the line of scrimmage, you could go through life without ever touching the ball. In all but a handful of positions in football, you never do what most people (me included) would think of as the fun things: run the ball, pass it, catch it. Blocking and tackling are every bit as crucial, but you shouldn't have to do those things exclusively until you've at least had a taste of the others.

I mean, we played and played and played baseball, not just in its time slot on the school calendar, but all summer, too. At one point growing up, we actually made our own field, laid it out, and grassed it in, just like Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams...

Manning. Copyright © by Peyton Manning. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 29 )
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(24)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2001

    A MUST Read!

    This book captures the whole story of a true american hero. Archie was one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. A quarterback of his talent in todays market of free agency, would be running to the highest bidder. There is one exception, Peyton is an exact mold of his dad. Peyton is a throwback to the old school way of things. He is loyal and will not allow today's money hungry tactics to steer him away from what he knows is right. This family is the example of what all great athletes should be judged upon! This book is a breath of fresh air in a sport becoming more corrupt and money driven each year. Hats off to The Manning's!!!!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2000

    It's Not Just About Football

    This book is not just about football. Its about life, making coices, understanding people, setting goals and priorities and living up to them. It's about faith, family, education, and football.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2014

    Go Broncos

    They are in the superbowl!!! Yeah! Manning beat Brady pats stink

    2 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 4, 2011

    manning

    it is good but could be more interesting otherwise great.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2001

    strong family values ==character a gift from god, period

    This book is the epitome of: you reap what you sew. Great family values that connect to all the succeses that are important in life, great wife and mother, good children, good friends, and all the charisma related to just being a good person. This book is very insperational. I'am a New Orleanian and have been inspired by Archie for years and would not have expected a story any less inspiring from a man that reaps character. I always knew the backbone of his success was driven by a very strong woman such as his wife, and the book just proves my thoughts. Thanks for the book Archie.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2013

    Hi

    Tebow was better

    1 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    Go manning!

    Even though i like the pats peyton manning is one of the best quarterbacks ever

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2006

    WOW

    If u are a football freek it is the book for u.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2000

    Amazing Story!

    Definitely a page turner!!!! What a family. Words can't describe how great this book is. I've always been Peyton fan (will probably name my son after him!), but now I am just a Manning fan. Peyton is the model son. The kid did everything right in college, and still wasn't awarded the Heisman Trophy!!! What a tragedy!!! Tell me how he can be selected FIRST in the NFL draft, and NOT win the Heisman!!!!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2014

    Go seahawks

    Russal welson smashed the broncos in the super bowl 48 ps payton manning is crazy

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  • Posted February 21, 2014

    Highly Recommended you must check it out!

    The book is very well written. You want to continue reading to find out what is going to happen next. What a great family .

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    This is a phenomenal book. Very inspiring. Well written. Very in

    This is a phenomenal book. Very inspiring. Well written. Very interesting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2014

    Awesome

    Cool

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    Cool

    Payton is awesome but im a cowboys fan sssssssssshhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2013

    JUSTBUSCUS

    Best Book ever

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2012

    Yyivhfg

    How about a Broncos fan he's the only reason they're good and the giants are awsome

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2012

    GO MANNINGS!

    Best of luck for the 2012-2013 season! The book is very inspirational on how the legacy stills continues today with 2 of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. GO MANNINGS!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2012

    Go broncos

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2012

    Very Informative about all 3 boys and Archie

    I'm a huge Manning fan in general, but this book really shows how amazing the whole family is. I've read it 3 times. It's great!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2012

    recommended

    It is a very good book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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