A new film from ESPN and directed by Rory Karpf, called “The Book of Manning”, hightlights the life and career of Archie Manning, the patriarch of the first family of football. John Goodman narrates the film, which tells the story of how Archie and Olivia Manning, the football hero and the homecoming queen, formed their family from the ashes of tragedy after his dad’s suicide and went on to raise 3 athletes.
I’m hoping to get a lot more intimate and hilarious look inside the Manning family with home movies like these:
According to AP, Karpf said that telling the story of how Archie raised his 3 sons was just as satisfying as telling about what a phenomenal athlete he was himself. Archie Manning is not a very well-known name today, but in the 70s and 80s, it was, when Manning was a big deal at Ole Miss and during his pro career with the New Orleans Saints, Houston Oilers, and Minnesota Vikings.
He went on to cheer all three of his boys on the field, and two of them in the professional realm. His oldest boy, Cooper, suffered a spinal injury in college and was unable to move on to the pros. Archie Manning said he was glad that “The Book of Manning” didn’t leave out his eldest son whose football dreams were cut short.
“I think one thing I like so much about the documentary is that Cooper’s role in there is equal to Peyton and Eli’s and that’s the way it should be,” Archie said. “His story of his athletic career being cut short, and then what he went through with the laminectomy and so forth, I can’t tell you how uplifting it was for our family to see how he handled that.
“He’s always had a great spirit, but the spirit he had to get through that and the way he dealt with it, his attitude, certainly helped all us get through a tough time.”
Karpf remarked about the great relationship he has with his kids,”You realize that Archie didn’t put pressure on his kids. I think as parents sometimes, whether we mean to or not, we do put pressure. He just gave his kids unconditional support and love.”
Archie seems to want to make it clear that this “first family of football” thing they have going was not planned. He even admits that at one point they didn’t even know if star player, Eli, would even be an athlete. And they were both fine with that.
The film paints the family as very sweet and accepting of whatever their sons may have become, even if it wasn’t a professional athlete. The family is truly an inspiration, not only for what they are to the sport, but what they were as a family.
“I think the first thing that my sons will tell you, that I never tried to be their coach,” he said. “And I didn’t give them as much advice as some people might think, being a former player myself and a former quarterback. If they asked, I gave them my opinion.”
Be sure to catch “The Book of Manning on Tuesday at 8 PM Eastern on ESPN.
Image via youtube