Manning

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9780061020247: Manning

From the early career of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, and the early life of Giants quarterback Eli Manning, Manning provides a compelling look at football from the perspectives of two generations of players in the only family to claim four Superbowl victories and 18 Pro Bowl wins.

Manning is an autobiographical history of the football industry written by football legend Peyton Manning and his father, an all-star in his own right, Archie Manning. 

At the time, one was an experienced and battle-scarred father, and the other was a son who has exploded on to the national scene as one of the best young quarterbacks in the history of the NFL.  Together, they take a hard look at their own careers and comb through all of American football: dissecting the big-money madness, race relations within the NFL (and in sports in general), the rituals of bribery that mark college recruiting, and fans who can no longer identify with the insatiable cash fever in pro sports. They discuss organizational sports and why white youngsters aren’t out there playing the game like they used to; the college game as compared to the pros; coaches, good and bad; and why the quarterback position is the most difficult one in all of sports.

This is the story of Peyton's dizzying rise to the elite of the NFL, and the story of his father, himself a #1 draft pick for the New Orleans Saints in 1971, who harkens back to a time when football and gallantry were one and the same. Archie helps guide Peyton through the money, the endorsements, and the everyday life in the NFL. Meanwhile, Archie’s youngest son, Eli, picks up the gauntlet as he begins playing quarterback for Archie's alma mater, Ole Miss.

MANNING is a truly personal and inspiring story of a family, a tradition and a legacy, providing a stirring multigenerational — and at times controversial — look at football over the past 50 years.

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Review:

It seems somehow fitting that the first pass Peyton Manning, the $48 million man, threw as a professional went for a touchdown. His father Archie Manning, in this team effort from two of football's more interesting quarterbacks, stresses that "My only hard rule [with his sons growing up] was that they finish what they start." Peyton, the All-American Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Tennessee, obviously listened to his All-American from Ole Miss father, whose strong right arm almost made the Saints competitive over 12 seasons in New Orleans.

Though both father and son get equal billing, this is really Archie's book, his story, and the story of his family that he wants to tell. He gets the first word and the last in this hybrid joint first-person memoir with chapter intros and structural transitions provided by Sports Illustrated veteran John Underwood. Like most sports biographies, it's rife with inspiration, decisions to be made, challenges to face (Peyton's older brother had to cut short his career when he was diagnosed with a potentially fatal spinal cord disease), tragedy faced (Archie's father killed himself while Archie was in college), and expectations exceeded. But it also has a lot of straight talk from Archie about family and football, and he's not above throwing a few penalty flags on the game. He's loud and clear on college recruiting abuses--as is Peyton. He worries about youth leagues putting pressures to succeed over fun in playing, hates all the taunting and celebrating in the NFL, and thinks there's just too darned much money and too little team loyalty in football's veins these days. The fire still smolders in his belly, and Manning is at its most interesting when he stokes up the flames. --Jeff Silverman

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The inspiring personal story of a family, an athletic tradition, and fifty years of a great all-American game.

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