Archie Manning on Arch’s Alabama visit, Manning Megacast, Peyton’s and Eli’s bet, and best commercial
Life for Archie Manning hasn’t slowed down.
The former Ole Miss and NFL quarterback - father to Peyton and Eli Manning, and grandfather to highly recruited Arch - has been on a whirlwind tour of celebrating his sons’ contributions to the game.
“A lot of blessings,” he told me on “The Opening Kickoff” on WNSP-FM 105.5 on Tuesday. “Our cup runneth over this year.”
In June, he and his wife, Olivia, were in attendance as Peyton Manning was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Three weeks ago, he and his wife, Olivia, were on hand for the retirement of Eli Manning’s number by the Giants. On Saturday, he’ll be in Oxford for the Ole Miss-LSU game when the Rebels retire Eli’s college number.
Next week, they are headed to Denver to watch Peyton Manning be inducted to the Broncos’ Ring of Honor.
Such is the life of the patriarch for Football’s First Family.
In between those events, Archie Manning will be the guest speaker at the University of Mobile’s Scholarship Banquet on Oct. 26 at the Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center.
In advance of the event, he spent some time on WNSP talking about ESPN’s Manning Megacast, his favorite Manning commercials over the years, and the latest Manning offering to the football world: grandson and Isidore Newman quarterback Arch Manning.
The five-star 2023 quarterback is more comparable to his grandfather than to his uncles. At 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, his ability to throw is only complimented by his athleticism and running.
“Arch is a sweet kid,” Archie Manning said. “He’s not caught up in it. He’s handling it real well. He’s enjoying the journey.
“Arch is a little bit more athletic than Peyton and Eli,” Archie explained. “He runs a little bit more.”
Like his grandfather?
“Maybe a little bit,” Archie Manning quipped. I used to run around a little bit. I got chased a good bit, too.”
The journey took him to the University of Texas this past weekend, and he’ll be in Oxford to watch the Rebels host LSU this weekend. He also has a scheduled visit to the Clemson-Florida State game.
Make no mistake, he’s the real deal.
“Arch isn’t just as hyped quarterback recruit because of his last name, his game carries a lot of weight, and he has made considerable progress since a breakout freshman season,” John Garcia, Director of Football Recruiting for Sports Illustrated, told AL.com. “Arch has a very quick release and gets the ball out incredibly fluidly, as one may expect, but it’s his combination of arm talent and athleticism that has every program in America after him.
“He fits any modern scheme, more than his NFL uncles did at the same stage, while productive in the pocket as he needs to be as well. The mechanics are elite, his pocket presence and footwork are ahead of the curve relative to his age and he is somehow grounded all in the same light. With a year and a half left in his high school career, Manning projects as an impact college quarterback the moment he sets foot on any campus.”
Earlier this month, Arch Manning was in Tuscaloosa for Alabama’s 42-21 win over Ole Miss. Archie Manning said his grandson enjoyed the experience.
“He’s formed a really good relationship with coach (Nick) Saban,” Archie Manning said on Tuesday. “Coach Saban, obviously, is an excellent recruiter and a good man. I’m proud to call Nick a friend.
He said Arch Manning first met Saban on a Zoom call, then met him in person over the summer.
“Arch really likes the coaching staff over there. He’s familiar with a lot of players. That was fun for him to go. It wasn’t intentional for it be the Ole Miss game to visit Alabama. It was just the weekend his family could get over there.
“They had a good visit. Coach Saban spent some time with him. He really likes coach Saban and likes coach Bill O’Brien, the offensive coordinator.”
No one in Arch Manning’s camp has indicated who might be in the lead for his services, though.
“As for who is technically in the running, it’s everyone,” Garcia said. “The Mannings haven’t created and/or modified any sort of list of top programs, so the visits they take are where the discussion remains when it comes to where a commitment could be made. Ole Miss gets him on campus this weekend and he has already visited Texas, Georgia and Alabama this fall. Clemson is on the schedule and LSU has a longstanding relationship with he and the family, so that could keep the Tigers in the mix as a dark horse. It appears there is no rush for a commitment to be made and all of the coaching carousels will be complete before this recruitment is settled.”
The Manning Megacast
If you haven’t noticed - and judging by the numbers, you have - ESPN’s alternate broadcast to Monday Night Football games has been a huge success. The Manning Megacast - as it is branded - and pumped new life into the traditional way to watch a broadcast of a football game.
The Megacast, featuring Peyton and Eli, originate from remote locations. Fans are treated to a mix of in-the-moment analysis, big picture NFL dialogue, knee-jerk reaction, historical perspective, and more.
Yes, Archie Manning and his wife, Olivia, watch.
“One week she sent a text and wanted me to text the producer to tell Peyton to quit scratching his head,” Archie Manning said while laughing. “They got a big kick out of that.
“They want (Olivia) to send texts every week. I’m not sure she will.”
The Manning Megacast is on a brief hiatus - there are only 10 broadcasts scheduled this season - but it returns on Monday when Seattle plays New Orleans, Archie Manning’s former team.
He did tease the next broadcast, though.
“You may see one of them in a little different attire,” Archie Manning said. “I think they had a bet going on for the Tennessee-Ole Miss game last Saturday night. Tune in to see what one of them might be wearing.”
He also added he wouldn’t be surprised if one of the broadcast’s guests is Cooper Manning, the “clown” of the family.
You can’t talk Mannings these days without talking commercials.
With so many out there, which one is Archie Manning’s favorite?
He just laughs at the question.
“One of the ones I get asked about the most - ESPN keeps running it, it’s been 20 years - is the one with our whole family, and we’re taking a tour of ESPN,” Archie Manning said.
“They told the boys you will be following and frolicking. They asked what does your dad do when you all are frolicking? Well, the first thing he does, they said, is give us a look. I was to just give a look. It was one take.”
He said people still approach him today about relating to giving that look or relating to getting that look.
He added he talked to a college defensive lineman who confessed his coach watches the “Saturday Night Live” parody of Peyton Manning mentoring kids for the United Way.
“His coach plays that clip every day with Peyton busting those kids with footballs,” he laughed. “That was a lot of fun.”
Archie Manning has enjoyed the journey and never seems to have a cross word for anyone or anything along that journey.
He said he’s excited to be back in the stands watching high school football games at Isidore Newman. Arch Manning is taking snaps from his younger brother Heid, the center for the Greenies.
“It’s fun for us to be back watching high school football,” he said. “It’s still so pure and good, and the kids have fun doing it.
“We finally have an offensive lineman in the Manning family,” he quipped.
All jokes aside, after all these years, Archie Manning continues to keep his journey in perspective.
“We didn’t try to raise football players,” Archie Manning said. “We tried to raise kids. They chose to play football.”
For the full Manning interview, check out WNSP.com.
Mark Heim is a sports reporter for The Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Heim.