Eli, of course, was the most valuable player when the Giants defeated New England in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI. But the Giants are in a four-year postseason drought. And after they finished 6-10 in 2015, Tom Coughlin, the only NFL head coach Eli Manning has played for, stepped down and was replaced by offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.
“I do admire Tom,” Archie Manning said. “I wrote Tom a letter; I can’t tell you what Tom has done for Eli as a man and as a football player. But I’m impressed with Ben, I’m impressed with what he’s done the last couple of years (with) their offense, with Eli. His press conference, I was impressed. Some people around the league told me some other interviews he had, he was very impressive. I’m excited for the Giants - try to get better and for Ben to take over.”
Archie joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Montana and Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt at promotional event for Papa John’s pizza in the Super Bowl 50 media center. The three football legends joined CEO John Schnatter in flipping pizza dough and starting the process of making a few pies.
Afterward, Manning spent a few minutes reflecting on the achievements of his sons. This is the sixth time in the last 10 Super Bowls that one of the participating teams was quarterbacked by Peyton or Eli.
“I don’t know how to explain that,” Archie Manning said. “I was kind of thinking, two weeks ago we had the (AFC) championship game, I was thinking six out of 50. Although I did tell a group this morning, between my career, and Peyton’s career, and Eli’s career, we’ve been to six Super Bowls. It’s been fun as a parent. Almost in some regards, I feel a little greedy. You don’t get here without a lot of laying it out there, and a lot of hard work.
“The Broncos, this year, defensively - as Peyton’s pointed out all week - the defense carried them. Offensively, they’ve improved, they’ve worked hard trying to run the ball, and people have sacrificed a lot. Can’t say enough about what (backup quarterback) Brock (Osweiler) did during that time (when Peyton missed six games with a foot injury). I really feel great for the Broncos, the whole football program, the city of Denver, and Colorado, and all of the fans - they've got great fans.”
His father was asked if he could envision a better scenario than his 39-year-old son winning his second Super Bowl and riding off into the sunset.
“It’d make me happy, but I want him to do what he wants to do,” Archie said. “Winning this game would be fun. We’ve been on the other side of that, and I’m not sure people have enough sympathy for the losing team in a Super Bowl. I’ve been there a couple of times, it’s not a fun time. It shouldn’t be that bad, because that losing team accomplishes a lot too during the course of a National Football League season.”
Eli Manning is 35, and though he said yesterday he thinks he has five good years left – a projection he will keep pushing forward – he’s not going to play forever. Will Archie Manning miss watching his sons play football?
“It never was my goal or my ambition for them to play college football,” said Archie, 66. “I was glad they were playing junior high and high school. To play college or pro, that’s all kind of been gravy, the fact they played. We’ve enjoyed the trip. They’ve given us a lot of joy. The benefits out there of them playing - and I’m talking about the things you learn - like this year for Peyton facing adversity and dealing with it, handling it. I think there’s so many things that prepare you. But more than anything, it’s the people that you play with and play for, and play against. Those relationships are something pretty doggone special. I feel blessed they’ve had that ride.”