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Archie Manning: The Father of the Modern NFL


Archie Manning, far right, shows his sons how to throw.

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First of all, happy belated Father’s Day to all you dads out there. I was away from my machine most of yesterday and not able to post an appreciation thread. So, just to make up for it a little bit, I offer this little tidbit on one of Indiana’s favorite dads: Archie Manning.

Contrary to what jerks like Mike Florio think, many people do enjoy Archie Manning talking about his sons and their success. One tidbit that is often missed by media when they talk about Archie is the fact that Archie Manning himself had a storied NFL career, and had he played for a team that knew what the hell it was doing, he’d have won a few Super Bowls. In 1979, Archie threw 17 TDs, 16 INTs, and completed 61.8% of his passes. This was his best statistical season of his career. He was voted NFC Player of the Year and voted onto the All-NFC team. The Saints that year were 7-9.

When Eli Manning went to his father for advice on how to better himself as a player following the 2006 season, Archie told him he was on the right track. By the then, Eli had taken the Giants to the playoffs two straight years despite playing for a coach nobody liked and having to deal with over-rated, prima donna players (Jeremy Shockey, Plaxico Burress, Tiki Barber, etc.). In his 11 years in the NFL, Archie Manning never played in a playoff game. By his second year, Eli (like Peyton) was in the playoffs.

By the time Archie hung up his cleats, he’d been sacked 396 times. Archie joked that he was the reason Rams great Jack Youngblood made the Pro Football Hall of Fame, padding his sack count by feasting on Archie. Archie’s middle son, Peyton, is now entering his 11th year, the same amount of time Archie played in New Orleans. Peyton has been sacked only 191 times. When Archie left New Orleans for the Houston Oilers, he’d been sacked 338 times. God knows how many times he was hit after throwing the ball. Back then, there was no illegal hit penalty on QBs. Though, because of Archie’s stature as a respected player, defenders were often seen helping him up off the grass after hitting him. They respected Archie that much.

The point of this Archie love fest? Well, in a small way, it shows (somewhat) how we kids are supposed to live better because of what our parents provide for us. Unlike the modern NFL, the league of the 1970s was not full of multi-millionaires. These guys got paid far less than they do now. Their injuries were more severe, more life threatening. You’ve likely read the news many of these vets are making asking the NFL to take care of them as they deal with injuries post-career.

This was the NFL Archie Manning played in, and he made enough to put his sons through college, where two of them would go on to help build the foundation of the modern, multi-trillion dollar NFL while the other son is successful in his business and raising his family.

Today, like Tony Dungy, Archie Manning is very much the NFL’s resident dad. Much of what Archie did, in both in his professional and personal life, fathered this modern NFL we know and love. So, to Archie, post-Father’s Day, we salute you. You’re a good dad, Mr. Manning.


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