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Article by Eli Manning from NFL.com



Eli Manning keeping family tradition alive


By Eli Manning

Special to NFL.com


Having a father who played in the NFL was great, and it must be even better for kids who are old enough to enjoy it. For me personally, I was only three years old when my father Archie retired, so I really don't remember him playing at all. What I do remember is that in the years after he retired, he did the radio call on Saints home games.


Every week, he would take my two brothers and me to the games, along with one of my brother's friends. We'd get there around 9 or 10 a.m. and roam around the Superdome before anyone else got there. We'd run around on the field, in the locker room, just about everywhere. Once the game started we'd go sit in the stands. Then after the game, we'd go down to the locker room and talk to the players. I can still remember that Saints locker room and all the Saints I met and was friendly with ... all the guys from the "Dome Patrol" ... Ricky Jackson, Ron Johnson, Sam Mills, Pat Swilling. I was such a big fan of those guys. On offense, I was friendly with quarterbacks Bobby Hebert and Steve Walsh, but back then, defense was the big story on that team.


Still to this day, I've never played a game on any level in the Dome. We almost did last year, but then Katrina moved the game against the Saints up to New York. Peyton has played there four times.


What I remember about my dad back then is how he handled himself around the fans. He was still the hero to a lot of fans and was very well known around the community, so lots of people would always come up and talk to him. He would sign everything they put in front of him and was always polite. As a kid, that left an impression on me. I tried to learn from that and try to carry myself the same way now.


Once I went off to Ole Miss, there was probably more pressure on me than I realized at the time. When I committed to Ole Miss, it had been 30 years since he left.


Nowadays, it's fun playing in the NFL along with Peyton. I talk to both my dad and Peyton after every game. My dad tries to get to as many games as he can, but if he's not there, we'll talk by phone right after it on the ride home or on the bus to the airport.


I do the same thing with Peyton. I try to get home from a 1 p.m. game to see his games if he is playing at 4 p.m., and afterwards I'll always leave him a message and discuss some element of his game. On television, everyone sees the big plays, but more often than not, there is some unbelievable play that was overlooked by the announcers and fans. I'll tell him something like "great read on that deep seam to Marvin," or some other less noticed thing that he did really well.


Sometimes we talk about common opponents. Two years ago, we played in Green Bay a week after Peyton and the Colts had played them. I didn't get to see it live, but when we watched the film of the Packers the following week, we noticed that the Colts had thrown the ball 21 consecutive times to start the game. I had to call him and talk about that, because that is a quarterback's dream to be able to throw the ball that much.


This year, we play the Colts the first week of the year, and that is going to be a big game obviously. For one, it's the season opener, but everyone will surely make a big deal out of Peyton and me facing off. My parents will be at the game, and everyone always asks them who they will root for. The answer is that they will root for offense. They'll probably be hoping for one of those Arena League scores where both teams just move the ball up and down the field and the final score is about 50-49. As long as we both end the game healthy, they won't care who wins.


Having my dad play in the NFL ahead of me and my brother alongside me has been great, and I have learned so much from both of their experiences

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