By James Jones
The Sun Herald (MCT)
The Mannings are considered the first family of football.
Tonight, they’re in the spotlight.
The lives of Archie, Olivia, Cooper, Peyton and Eli Manning will be examined in the documentary “The Book of Manning” today at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
The two-hour documentary chronicles the Manning family as part of the “SEC Storied” series. Rory Karpf directed “The Book of Manning,” which was narrated by actor John Goodman.
All five of the Mannings had their own segment in the show, which was effectively told by Karpf and showcased Archie’s devotion as a husband, father and professional player. The Mannings lived in New Orleans, and the Manning siblings attended Newman High School.
“I feel honored and privileged that Archie Manning has entrusted me to tell his story,” Karpf said. “We expected to make a film about football’s most famous family, but instead made a film simply about family. Making The Book of Manning has been one of the most educational and enriching experiences in my career.”
Archie Manning, who spent most of his NFL career with the New Orleans Saints, always put family first. Peyton and Eli each have won Super Bowl titles and MVP honors. Peyton has four MVP awards, while Eli holds two Super Bowl rings.
No grand plan
“I mean for them to be No. 1 picks in the draft? Win Super Bowls, MVP? Yeah we pinch ourselves,” Archie said. “We (Olivia and Archie) just tried to raise kids. We tried to raise good kids .”
“I don’t like the perception that it was a plan. You know that I was an NFL quarterback for a while and then I’ve got these boys and I’m going to mold them into being NFL quarterbacks. Not so. You might can do that and they might can be an NFL quarterback I’m not sure you’re going to have a great father-son relationship. That’s what I wanted.”
Peyton, a lock for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, dropped a secret in the documentary. He didn’t play football until the seventh grade and eventually signed with Tennessee.
“If Cooper wouldn’t have to quit football due to a spinal condition, I probably would have gone to Ole Miss,” he said.