Elisha Archibald Manning III is the patriarch of one of football’s most famous families.
Better known as Archie, the 66-year-old is the father to Peyton and Eli, the most successful brother duo in NFL history. But while he’s one of the most famous fathers in football, he’s much more than that.
Here’s everything you need to know:
1. He’s a Member of the College Football Hall of Fame
Born in Drew, Mississippi, Manning was a multi-sport star growing up before eventually settling on football and baseball at the University of Mississippi.
In three seasons with the Rebels on the gridiron, he threw for 4,753 yards, ran for 823 yards and tallied 56 total touchdowns (31 passing, 25 rushing). In 1969, he was the SEC Player of the Year, won the Walter Camp Award and finished fourth in Heisman voting. In 1970, he suffered a broken left arm but returned after just two missed games and still finished the year third in Heisman voting.
He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989, and as an honor to his legacy, the campus speed limit at Ole Miss is the same as his number:
2. He Was Selected in the MLB Draft 4 Times
More than just a football standout, Manning was a star shortstop who went to the College World Series with Ole Miss.
“We had a really good team,” he said. “Coach (Tom) Swayze knew baseball. We had some football players and some basketball players. We all got along and just loved to play baseball.”
It was more than just an offseason activity for an athletic football player. Manning could play. He was selected in the MLB draft four times (once out of high school, three times out of college), going as high as the 39th overall pick in 1971.
There was even talk, at the time, about whether he would choose football or baseball.
3. He Played 13 Seasons in the NFL
Drafted No. 2 overall behind Jim Plunkett in 1971, Manning spent 10 seasons with the New Orleans Saints. He made Pro Bowls in 1978 and 1979 but simply never had much help around him, as the Saints went 35-91-3 in games that he started.
He was “a franchise quarterback without a franchise,” as Hank Stram, who coached Manning for two seasons, put it.
Manning had stints with the Houston Oilers and Minnesota Vikings to close his career, finishing with 23,911 career passing yards, 143 total touchdowns (125 passing, 18 rushing) and 173 interceptions.
He ranks second in Saints history in passing yards and third in passing touchdowns, and while his No. 8 isn’t officially retired, no one else in franchise history has worn the number.
4. His Sons Have Won 3 Combined Super Bowls
Archie met his future wife, Olivia, while they were at Ole Miss. Something out of a storybook, he was the star quarterback and she was the homecoming queen. Together, they have three boys, who you may have heard of.
Peyton, the middle child, is the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards touchdowns. While with the Indianapolis Colts, he was named MVP at Super Bowl XLI. Not to be outdone, Eli, the youngest son, hasn’t been as prolific individually as his older brother but has won a pair of Super Bowl MVP awards from the 2007 and 2011 campaigns.
Cooper, the oldest son, had his playing career come to a premature ending after being diagnosed with spinal stenosis.
5. His Father Committed Suicide
Tragedy struck the Manning family in August of 1969 when Archie’s father, Elisha Archibald, Jr., committed suicide.
Archie had plans of staying home and working to support his mother and sister, but his mother urged him to return to school. He did exactly that, and with a heavy heart, he won the Walter Camp Award as a junior.
He has spoke more about his father since the passing of his mother:
He was stubborn. He was tough. He had a stroke! And he didn’t go to the doctor for two weeks! … He smoked, like everybody. Smoked Chesterfields. He wore to work, every day, a pair of khakis and a shirt. And he had to have two front pockets. If you gave him a birthday present, and it had one front pocket, it was never going to come out of the wrapper. One pocket for his pens, and one for his Chesterfields.