No surname in NFL history rings out like Manning. It connotes championships and greatness. Gravitas.
At some point in the future, the NFL MVP award may be named in honor of Peyton Manning. As for his brother Eli, no matter what legitimate argument you wish to make, he will be in Canton. And their career accomplishments may eventually be dwarfed by a teenager.
At least, that’s the trajectory Archie Manning set his grandson on this week.
In an interview with the Indianapolis Star, the patriarch of the Manning family said high school freshman quarterback Arch Manning is “probably a little ahead of” where Peyton and Eli were when they were freshmen.
Manning continued by saying his eldest son, Cooper, was the best athlete of the trio of Manning boys before he had to give up the sport at 18 due to a spinal condition. Arch is Cooper’s son.
No pressure, Arch!
Manning said the family isn’t allowing Arch to talk to college coaches or the media. “Let’s let Arch be a freshman” is the family’s guiding principle, and they should be commended for that.
But then what of these supreme expectations lumped onto the teenager? By the blessing of his last name and the reality of this society, young Arch was always going to have his every movement dissected. I shudder to think what social media app will follow him throughout his years at whatever SEC school he restores to glory. And now he’s been put on a path where he’s already a step or two ahead of his four-time Super Bowl-winning uncles.
I go back to the utterly ridiculous discussion we had for several days this summer about the so-called “helicopter parenting” by LeBron James of Bronny. How we were told it was wrong of LeBron to dunk in layup lines before his son’s games or be animated while sitting, or standing, courtside. And then I hear about the impossibly high bar being set for this young quarterback and wonder if folks will have the same energy for Archie Manning as they did for LeBron James.
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