Football runs in the bloodlines of the Manning Family. At the Harrah’s Theatre in Atlantic City, the Maxwell Football Club announced that Archie Manning is this year’s recipient of the Francis “Reds” Bagnell Award for his ongoing contributions to football.
Archie Manning joined the NFF Board of Directors in 1993 and became chairman in 2008. He spoke about his family’s ties to the Maxwell Club, the oldest football club in America.
"Peyton came here when it [Maxwell Awards] was in Philadelphia,” recalled Archie Manning . “I remember it well. It was a very special time for my family. The first year they moved it here Eli won the Maxwell and Peyton won the Bert Bell."
In 2003, Eli and Peyton won Maxwell Awards marking the first time that two brothers won the prestigious awards. For Archie, he was beaming with pride as his sons were given tribute.
"It was a wonderful time and a great honor for both of them,” said Archie Manning. “I always loved the little green men, the trophies, and they have a prominent place in our home."
Much has been made of Peyton’s progress, (or lack thereof) with regards to his velocity during recent throwing sessions. Father Archie seemed pleased with his son’s recovery and applauded the way he’s handled himself throughout the difficult process.
"He’s been in Florida some. He’s been moving around. He’s been working. He was in New Orleans and I saw him throw."
"What I’ve seen he certainly looks like fine as far as throwing and velocity on the ball," noted Archie Manning. “He hasn’t had any setbacks throwing. He’s been throwing for two months and has four or five to go before the season starts."
"The good news as a parent is when the doctors cleared him," noted Archie Manning. "The fusion was successful and they cleared him to play. He hasn’t had any setbacks and is throwing the football."
Archie Manning spoke about candidly about Peyton’s desire to stay out of the limelight and to focus on working to improve day-by-day.
"He’s almost 36 years old,” exclaimed Archie Manning. "He’s a big boy. He’s handled everything well. Going back to the season, missing the season was tough on him. I’ve been so proud of his attitude through the whole thing."
"Now the last couple of months he doesn’t want a whole lot of attention every day," said Archie Manning. "He doesn’t have a whole lot to say. He has strong ties to everything involved in Indianapolis. Peyton gets it. He understands football is a business."
I don’t know what’s going to happen but I keep telling him it’s all going to work out."
Archie admitted that he shocked at how mightily the Colts struggled in 2011.
“It you followed the Colts over the last decade or so they usually won about 12 games a year," said Archie Manning. “All of a sudden last year they won two and got the first pick in the draft. I’m not sure anyone predicted that. But that’s football. It’s oblong and bounces funny."
Despite the franchise’s recent struggles, Archie Manning talked about Peyton’s rapport with Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay.
"It’s been great," said Archie Manning . "It’s been great for 14 years. Jim’s been a wonderful owner. He’s been very good to Peyton and our family. “
“It’s been a crazy turn of events," admitted Archie Manning. “All of sudden a big part of all their success Bill Polian is gone, a big part of it a lot of coaches gone, jim caldwell. So things are different. I think Jim and Peyton have always had a special relationship. They still do and I feel they always will."
Archie Manning talked about Peyton rebounding from ‘multiple’ neck surgeries and the potential dangers of returning to the NFL.
“I have faith in god,” said Archie Manning. “I know Peyton has probably over the last couple of years seen four of the top neurosurgeons in America. As a father that’s what I feel good about. He’s been involved with the right people. One of them did the surgery. Now they cleared him to play. His neck is no different than any player out there. It’s a danger to anyone. That’s football. As a parent we feel good where he’s at."
With one Manning brother battling to get healthy and back on the gridiron, little brother Eli has reached the pinnacle of the football world.
"Eli is pretty happy,” declared Archie Manning. “I never speculated as to how many super bowls anyone is going to win. They’ve both been fortunate to play in good organizations and form good teams and be in the hunt to get there several times."
Archie Manning indicated that there is no sibling rivalry between Peyton and Eli.
"Peyton’s proud just like the rest of us, noted Archie Manning. “Peyton’s never had much problem with motivation. I think Peyton’s like 31 other quarterbacks. They start off and want to win a Super Bowl and he’s been fortunate to do it. I think probably Eli will tell you when you win one, you want to win another. I don’t think Eli’s situation has anything to do with motivating Peyton. He’s very proud of Eli."
Asked how it felt to watch his younger son win a second Super Bowl Archie Manning replied:
"It felt pretty good as a parent." "I’m proud of Eli. I’m proud of the Giants. It was a lot of fun."
Rick Laughland covers the New York Jets for Greenandwhitereport.com
You can follow him on Twitter @rlaughland
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