That was Archie Manning’s basic theory when his boys were playing sports growing up. The approach worked as his sons flourished, and Eli recalled his father’s influence in an NFL Network special that ran over this Father’s Day weekend.
“With all sports, my dad was not overly involved,” Eli said. “He wanted us to do well, he thought sports were a great thing for us, but he wasn’t our coach. He wasn’t forcing us to be a football player. It’s just coincidence that it all worked out this way.
“It was a pretty normal childhood growing up. We played a lot of sports. We had a good front yard where whatever was in season, we were playing. If it was football season, we played a lot of football. If it was basketball, we had a basketball goal or around the neighborhood we’d find pickup games and my dad was always involved. Or he’d be hitting us ground balls during baseball season. There were a lot of sports just because we all enjoyed it – myself and my two brothers.”
The head of one of sports’ most recognized families, Archie paved the way for his sons as they progressed from high school stars to college elites and eventually to the professional ranks. Along the way, Eli says, he took note of how his dad handled the attention and carried himself with the fans.
Now entering his ninth NFL season with two Super Bowl championships, there’s not much Eli hasn’t gone through at this point. But he still turns to his dad to keep him centered.
“Now it’s kind of more media advice sometimes now,” Eli said. “I don’t always read the papers or watch exactly what’s going on. So he’ll keep me straight, keep my head level and just keep my confidence up whether things are going good or bad.”
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