By ARNIE STAPLETON
The ESPN documentary "The Book of Manning" shows a new generation of football fans that Peyton and Eli Manning got their athleticism and acumen from good bloodlines as well as their strong work ethic.
The film, narrated by John Goodman, explores how tragedy shaped one of the most influential families in pro sports history and serves as a reminder of how good Archie Manning was at Ole Miss and during his pro career with the otherwise hapless New Orleans Saints, Houston Oilers and Minnesota Vikings in the 1970s and '80s.
"What intrigued me about telling the story was ... I felt like a lot of people weren't aware of the career that Archie had and how dynamic of a player he was, especially in college," director Rory Karpf said. "You go back and you look at some of the old footage of Archie Manning in college, and to me, it's captivating. He was kind of like Barry Sanders behind center, how athletic he was, and the footage is really breathtaking to watch."
The film explores the personal and professional life of Archie Manning and how his father's suicide impacted his life and the way he and his wife, Olivia, raised their three sons, Cooper â¿¿ whose football career was cut short by a spinal condition â¿¿ Peyton and Eli.
With Peyton and Eli Manning so successful in the NFL, Archie Manning the QB has largely been forgotten, and the patriarch of the first family of football said he's always been fine with that.
"Oh, the years fly by, that's just natural," he said on a conference call in advance of the film's Tuesday night debut. "You know, if it wasn't for Peyton and Eli coming along, nobody would know who I was. Maybe a few people in Mississippi, a few old people.