Book Review: Manning: A Father, His Sons, and a Football Legacy

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As a kid growing up in the South, I have always loved sports…pretty much any sport.  It didn’t matter what sport it was…if you could win, I was in!  I grew up playing anything and everything with my siblings and friends and totally love that my kids are now the same way!  As I moved into high school and college, I started to hear a lot about Peyton Manning as he is just a few years older than me.  In fact, I am writing this review just days ahead of what will probably turn out to be his announcement of retirement from the NFL at the ripe old age of 39.  Just a few weeks ago, Peyton won the second Super Bowl of his storied NFL career.  He won his first one with the Indianapolis Colts before undergoing neck surgery that would ultimately end his time with the Colts and send him to the Broncos.  Peyton’s health recovered such that he had a bit of a resurrection in Denver.  The end of his career seemed to be upon us this season as he suffered a severe foot injury that kept him out of 6 1/2 games for him to return at the end and ride the coattails of the NFL’s best defense and channel that into a masterful run through the playoffs to hoist his second Lombardi trophy.  Peyton has broken just about every NFL record…passing yards in a season, passing yards in a career, wins in a career, number of MVP seasons (5) and several other awards that are equally as impressive.  It’s said to see him go, but he has had a remarkable career that has been such a blast to watch my entire adult life.

I’ve had two opportunities to see Peyton play in person.  On my 17th birthday, my mom and I went to Birmingham to see the Tennessee v. Alabama football game at Legion Field.  This was in 1995 and Peyton led the UT Vols to a big win over Alabama to end a several year winning streak by the Crimson Tide.  I saw Peyton in person again in November of 1996 when the Vols came to Memphis to take on my Tigers.  Memphis ended up with the upset in that game as the Tigers came back late in the game to beat the Vols.  Many Ole Miss fans joined us in celebrating that Tiger win as they were still pretty sore about Peyton spurning the Rebels, that his dad had led to glory, in favor of the Tennessee Vols.

I so enjoyed Manning: A Father, His Sons, and a Football Legacy as an opportunity to learn more about the Manning family.  There are several stories in this book about Archie Manning’s childhood, his time playing at Ole Miss, his time with the New Orleans Saints, and then his favorite time…watching Cooper, Peyton, and Eli grow up and become all that God created them to be.  There is a lot in this book about the faith of the Manning family.  They aren’t the type of family to be speaking in churches a lot or selling football devotionals, but it seems clear that their faith is of great importance to them and the foundation of their family long before football.

I would recommend this book to anyone that might be considering a career in college athletics as there is so much to be learned about the recruiting process by reading about both Peyton and Eli Manning’s journeys to college and pro football.  They aren’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but the Manning family is intentional about spending time together as a family and in doing the right thing.  As of right now, there are two major news stories floating around about Peyton Manning…one that he has already admitted to from 20 years ago during his time at UT and another that seems to be manufactured.  Both of these situations seem contrary to Peyton’s character and the goals of the Manning family.  We will let those play out on their own merit.

There wasn’t much highlighting as I read this book as I so thoroughly just enjoyed reading the stories and learning more about this family.  I have posted a couple of items below that I did highlight.  I hope you will consider picking up a copy of this book to learn more about the Manning family!  Go Mannings!

  • Decisions at pivotal moments made even willy-nilly have a way of becoming profound.
  • Counting the mental requirements with the physical, quarterback is by far the most demanding position in all of team sport, and undoubtedly the most glorified.
  • Chuck Noll, the former Steelers coach, is the source of my favorite football quote: “Pressure is something you feel only when you don’t know what the hell you’re doing.” I wanted to know what the hell I was doing.
  • Dad says it can take twenty years to make a reputation, and five minutes to ruin it.
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