They’ve been referred to as “Football’s Royal Family” and the “First Family of the Southeastern Conference.”
And while that might be excessive, there’s no doubt that the Mannings are the most famous family in football.
Archie Manning, taken second overall in the 1971 NFL Draft, had a productive 14-year career in the NFL after becoming a household name as a Heisman candidate at Ole Miss.
His two younger sons, Peyton and Eli Manning, both outdid their dad by getting drafted first overall in 1998 and 2004 respectively. Either Peyton or Eli have appeared in six of the last ten Super Bowls, and after Peyton/the Broncos defense beat Carolina Sunday, they each have two rings.
The Manning brothers are two of just four NFL quarterbacks (Elway, Brady) with at least 44,000 passing yards, 290 passing touchdowns, four Pro Bowl nods, and two Super Bowl wins.
The interesting stats and impressive numbers go on forever, but the fact is we’ve always been attracted to the multiplicity of the Mannings. Because it’s relatable.
Assuming Peyton Manning does retire after he’s done drinking Budweiser, it won’t be long before there are two retired NFL quarterbacks in the Manning family instead of two active ones.
And assuming Eli doesn’t hang around as long as his brother has, we’re not very far from the media having no active NFL Mannings to talk about.
What in the hell are we going to do?
Of course, Eli still has a couple seasons to retake his ring lead on Peyton (and thus spurning Peyton to consider coming back at 42), but I don’t think it’s too early to start looking towards the future.
I mean, if you’re Football’s Royal Family, this thing definitely has to go at least three generations. The narrative would go something like this:
“And of course, Bob, (future All-Pro quarterback) _______ Manning is the son of Hall-of-Famer ________ Manning and the nephew of Hall-of-Famer _______ Manning. His grandpa is Saints and Ole Miss legend, Archie Manning.”
“And of course, Bob, (future All-Pro quarterback) ________ Manning is the nephew of Hall-of-Famer’s Eli and Peyton Manning. His grandpa is Saints and Ole Miss legend, Archie Manning.”
So, two things: 1) Yes, Eli will be in the Hall of Fame, and 2) The second hypothetical scenario above would refer to Cooper Manning – Archie’s oldest son – being the father of the next great Manning.
Either way, acting like there won’t be a third-generation Manning star isn’t really realistic. At this point, the only thing to figure out is if there will be more than one.
After a lot of Googling, here are the candidates to represent the next generation of Manning NFL greatness.
Arch(ie) Manning, ~12 years old (son of Cooper)
The early favorite. Not only is he named after his grandpa who started the whole thing, I have a feeling destiny is on the side of Cooper’s kids – simply because Cooper was forced to call his football career quits in college due to a spinal condition.
Young Archie is apparently a big LSU fan, (the family is from New Orleans), so it would make a lot of sense if he expanded the Manning family’s royal reach into the SEC.
He becomes one of the greatest players in Tigers history and revives a once proud program who fell on hard times after the Les Miles era. He’s the first Manning to win the Heisman, and the third to be taken with the top pick in the NFL Draft.
Heid Manning, ~10 years old (son of Cooper)
Yep, Cooper is going to be double blessed. Heid and his older brother Arch will engage in a rivalry similar to Peyton and Eli’s throughout their career, and it’ll start in college.
While young Archie wants to do his own thing, Heid Manning is enthralled with the legacy of grandpa Archie and uncle Eli at Ole Miss. After his father Cooper never played a down for the Rebels, Heid goes on to break all of Eli and Archie’s records.
Heid is known to have as good of an arm as his more famous older brother, but thanks to his “gunslinger” label he falls to 6th overall in the NFL Draft.
Marshall Manning, ~5 years old (son of Peyton)
Growing up, young Marshall hears all about his famous older cousins. And by 13 years old, he’s watched every single play of his dad’s career at Tennessee and has already mastered the differences between Cover 2 and Cover 3 defenses.
Marshall thrills Tennessee boosters when he chooses to play for the Vols over every other SEC school. Peyton is regularly shown during Tennesee’s multiple national broadcasts, and Marshall goes on to tie or break almost all of his dad’s records before being the fourth Manning taken first overall in the NFL Draft.
Marshall Manning’s cousins are already well-established NFL names, and father Peyton – looking to replicate the friendly feud he enjoyed with Eli – starts an unofficial competition with Cooper through their kids.
Meanwhile, at ease knowing that nobody will ever catch his family record of three Super Bowl rings, Uncle Eli sits back and enjoys life as a father of three daughters.