When Archie Manning retired from football in 1984, he left the game a seemingly beaten man. He was a legendary college QB at Ole Miss and was selected by the sorry New Orleans Saints with the second choice in the 1971 NFL Draft.
His career was filled with dismal seasons and disappointments. His record as a starting QB over his 14-year career is the worst of any QB with 100 NFL starts.
When he left the game, his story appeared to be over—relegated to calling Saints' games from the broadcast booth. More losing and more disappointment.
But little did anyone know that Archie Manning's story would take such a dramatic upturn.
In 1984, his son Peyton was eight, and his youngest, Eli, was three. They would take the Manning name to the heights that Archie tried to—but could not do. Not that Archie was a bad QB. Quite the contrary. He was terrifically talented QB, but the teams he played for were hapless to say the least.
In 1998, Peyton was drafted first overall by the Indianapolis Colts. Since then, the Colts have been an elite team, winning more games than any other NFL club over that period, including Super Bowl XLI.
Peyton was the MVP of that game, has won the league MVP twice, and is on pace to set NFL all-time records for TD's and total passing yards.
In 2004, Eli was drafted first overall by the San Diego Chargers. They traded him to the New York Giants on draft day in what appeared at the time to be a lopsided deal in favor of San Diego.
After several years of mediocrity and first-round playoff exits, the youngest son of Archie Manning led his Giants to the most improbable championship run in the 83-year history of the NFL. The Giants won eleven-straight road games, including Super Bowl XLII over the undefeated New England Patriots.
Eli was involved in the play which many are claiming to be the best in SB history. After slipping away from an almost certain sack, Eli fired a pass over the middle to WR David Tyree, who made a circus grab, keeping the Giants' winning TD-drive alive.
Several plays later, Eli found Plaxico Burress in the end zone of for the winning score and was named MVP.
So now, proud papa Archie's legacy is being fulfilled—albeit vicariously through his boys. The three legends travel around the country in the offseason promoting charities and spreading their good fortune.
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