One-on-One With Archie Manning

There really is no question as to the first family of football in America, it's the Mannings. Peyton is still considered the most productive quarterback in the NFL, while brother Eli has two Super Bowl championships as the quarterback of the New York Giants. Meanwhile, Archie, who played at Ole Miss before being named NFL Most Valuable Player for a much less than loaded New Orleans Saints team.

Archie is currently an advocate for the sport as the President of the National Football Foundation. He is also one of the 13 members of the inaugural College Football Playoff committee that will rank college football teams this season and will select the four participants in the four-team playoff to decided the national champion.

On Wednesday, Archie appeared on Sportstalk with Robert Allen and Friends on Triple Play Sports Radio. Here is some of that conversation.

It is funny that both of your sons played against Oklahoma State during their college career. It wasn't a big game in Knoxville, but Peyton played against the Cowboys in a homecoming game his sophomore season at Tennessee.

Manning: I remember that game. I went to all the home games at Tennessee when Peyton was there and it was a non-conference game. That was probably the first time that I had ever seen an Oklahoma State team in person and gosh, those uniforms were orange, really orange. You know Tennessee kind of has a different shade of orange and those OSU uniforms were really orange. (Note: Tennessee won that game 31-0.)

Eli played his final game at Ole Miss in the Cotton Bowl in an exciting game won by the Rebels 31-28.
Manning: The Cotton Bowl was special and it had been 40 years since Ole Miss had been to a Cotton Bowl. It capped off a 10-win season and it had been 40 years since they had done that. They played a really good Oklahoma State team, coached by my buddy Les Miles.

I remember a lot about that game and I enjoy the Cotton Bowl, loved going over and seeing all my friends I have on Cotton Bowl committee. The festivities and the stadium was beautiful, half orange and half red. There was great support for both teams and a good football game.

Also, this is not a braggadocios thing, but that was a special morning for the Mannings. It was the news release where Peyton was named the (NFL) MVP. I think it was co-MVP with Peyton and Steve McNair and it was the first one that Peyton won. That was a special day also, and Ole Miss was fortunate enough to win and Eli was able to close out his college career on a good note. I will always remember that game.

You know former OSU receivers coach Gunter Brewer, correct?
Manning: You know, we missed Gunter at the Manning Passing Academy. ACC and SEC coaches aren't allowed to do camps. I had the good fortune before Gunter left Oklahoma State to have a speaking engagement over in Stillwater and I told the people that I wanted to stay over a little longer and visit. I had a chance to visit with Gunter, Coach Gundy, the entire coaching staff and see the facilities. That was really fun for me.

I've never seen a game there at Oklahoma State but it was great to meet the coaching staff and see the facilities. We've had Oklahoma State quarterbacks at our camp over the years and enjoyed the relationships.

This college football season will be different for you as you are part of the first ever committee to select the participants in the first College Football Playoff. Bill Hancock, the executive director, really brags about that group and having you on that committee.
Manning: Number one, I was honored to be asked. Some people had mentioned to me in months prior to that they had kind of thrown my name out there, and when Bill Hancock made the call and asked me I told him I was really honored and quickly accepted. We've had some meetings and I am proud to be on there with this group.

You mentioned Coach (Tom) Osborne and I kind of look at Coach Osborne as our leader. He's been around a little longer than most of us. He is a really fine man. You talked about Eli's last game (in college), I was at Coach Osborne's last game, Nebraska knocked off Tennessee in the Orange Bowl. That was Peyton's last game and Peyton and I went by and had a great visit with Coach Osborne that night.

People like that, the other people that make up this committee we all share one thing and that is we are passionate about football. We want this thing to work and all we are going to do is work hard at it. In this first year there are probably going to be some things we don't expect and we are trying to plan, and be ready to do the best job we can do.

I know you are a college football fan and you also have some interests on Sundays with Peyton at Denver and Eli with the Giants. Have you thought of how heightened your interest will be in college football as a member of the committee?
Manning: It will be a job for all of us. We all have other duties in the fall. It will be up to us that we see enough college football, see all the teams we need to see. Follow all the teams we are supposed to.

Oliver Luck sits right by me at the meetings (father of current Colts quarterback Andrew Luck) and he has the same thing with an interest on Sunday afternoon too. We will make it work and we understand what our job is, what the challenge is. We've done some good planning and looking forward to putting everything into place as the season plays out.

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