Manning center of attention -- too bad it's Archie Jan. 22, 2008 By Gregg Doyel CBSSports.com National Columnist
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The legendary quarterback in the New York locker room was surrounded by reporters after the NFC Championship Game, which on most days would be normal enough. But this wasn't normal. This wasn't right. This was, in fact, very wrong.
This was not your moment, Archie Manning.
Neither are the next two weeks. Do everyone else a favor and beat it. If you don't care about everyone else, fine. Then think about it like this: Do your son a favor and beat it.
Archie Manning seems like he was and is a good father. Look at his kids. The kids don't lie about a parent, and Archie's boys appear to be top-notch. Peyton Manning, even with his superstar stats, comes off as a swell guy. Eli Manning, even with the New York media torching him, seems to be a more than decent fellow himself. As a father, Archie did well.
But he's done.
So go away.
Archie didn't go away Sunday. He went front and center. On the biggest day of his son's athletic career, the day Eli Manning led the Giants into Lambeau Field and did what no team in NFL history had ever done -- beat Green Bay at home in a title game -- Archie Manning stole the spotlight. If there was another father in the Giants' locker room, I didn't see him. Then again, how could I? Archie was blinding.
He had accomplices, of course. Only the most brilliant thief does it alone, and Archie Manning, for all his football ability, has never been accused of brilliance. To dominate the room, the winning locker room immediately after the NFC Championship Game, Archie needed help. And he got it from the media, who saw him standing there and couldn't help but seek his opinion.
Most people in the media understand that Archie Manning doesn't belong in this story, certainly not in the story that chronicled how Eli and the Giants rocketed to the Super Bowl, but like flies to feces they couldn't help themselves.
Look, it's a famous guy ... let's talk to him!
This is where you're going to tell me it's not Archie Manning's fault, that in my own article I'm giving him an out: If the media would leave him alone, Archie wouldn't steal the spotlight.
This is where you're wrong. You couldn't be more wrong. Archie Manning isn't an unwitting victim of the media horde. He knows who he is, and he knows what the media does. Archie knows that if he shows up, the media will follow. Not only is he an NFL legend, not only is he future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning's father, but he's the father of the New York Giants' starting quarterback. That, my friends, makes him a media magnet. And Archie knows it.
But Archie doesn't care. Which is why he was standing in the Giants' locker room after New York's 23-20 victory. And not just standing in the locker room, but standing in the most prominent spot.
Please picture this for yourself. There is one main artery to the visitors' locker room in Lambeau Field. It's a narrow hallway, maybe eight feet wide, and it leads from the locker room to the showers, to the trainer's room, to the interview room, to the toilets. It leads everywhere. This hallway separates the outside world from the New York players.
And that's where Archie Manning stood. He stood there for what seemed like a half hour, his media gathering clogging the hallway. Team officials tried without success to roll equipment past the mass of people, finally asking reporters to scoot out of the way so the Giants could actually get out of the locker room and on to the airport.
Archie was oblivious, but the Giants were not. Several players rolled their eyes as they walked past the logjam. One defensive starter walked past and muttered, "At least you're not right in the way."
Receiver Plaxico Burress, wearing only a towel, quietly squeezed past on his way to the shower, but when he came out of the shower and the logjam was still there -- different reporters, but with Archie Manning still the same log -- Burress moaned, "You've got to be kidding me." The media ignored Burress. All he had done was catch 11 passes for 154 yards.
Archie has gotten a lot of media mileage out of his kids. If this comes off as armchair psychology, so be it, but I sense something unfulfilled in Archie. He was one of the most talented quarterbacks of his generation, but he was stuck for most of his career on the horrible New Orleans Saints and never played in the postseason. He's not in the NFL Hall of Fame, and it doesn't look like he ever will be. As good as he was, he had disappeared from the NFL conversation.
Since the arrival of Peyton, though, he has been back. Archie has hovered around Peyton's success for years, including last year in Miami when Peyton was winning his first Super Bowl and Archie was doing the press circuit. Quick question: Anyone know what Tom Brady's dad looks like?
By then Archie had already crossed over from proud papa to something else. He engineered Eli's draft day drama in 2004, when San Diego drafted Eli first overall -- after Archie had told the Chargers not to draft his son -- and San Diego then traded him to the Giants.
Now this. For four years Eli Manning has been browbeaten in New York, compared unfairly to his brother, called a draft bust. On Sunday, he rose above the noise and delivered an NFC championship. But still there was noise. Ugly noise.
The sound of Archie Manning holding court in the winning locker room.
No more, Archie. Please. Your son is about to play in his first Super Bowl. Try acting like all the other fathers:
Enjoy yourself. Without interjecting yourself.
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Kinda harsh. Naturally, I like Archie Manning. I think it is an interesting story that his sons (minus Cooper, who was a good player until he got hurt) became such great (too soon for Eli?) quarterbacks in the NFL. Talk about a pedigree.
Leave Archie alone. He's a proud papa and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Archie's not out to steal anyone's spotlight. Sounds to me like a writer had nothing to talk about and decided to rant on Archie Manning of all people.
Personally I like seeing the boys do well, and I enjoy watching them - BUT, I can't stand their dad! For some reason he REALLY annoys me, and Im getting tired of seeing his face plastered all over the place! Just a personal opinion, but I've had enough...
The sports media in NY hardly ever focuses on Archie. And I think that the most telling thing would be the Giants and Colts beat reporters. I don't follow the Colts close enough to say. However, on the beat blogs for NY the reporters have never had anything but good things to say about him.
I do not think it is Archie's fault they keep showing him on TV. I doubt he asks the TV station to show him X number of times during a game or else. For some reason, the media is enamored with showing Archie as well as players' wives, popular girlfriends (*cough*Romessica*cough*), etc.
mikus wrote:I do not think it is Archie's fault they keep showing him on TV. I doubt he asks the TV station to show him X number of times during a game or else. For some reason, the media is enamored with showing Archie as well as players' wives, popular girlfriends (*cough*Romessica*cough*), etc.
That is a good point, I never thought of that. Thanks for a fresh perspective