The Manning’s have been in pro football for over four decades. Taking their places exclusively under centre, they’ve become one of pro football’s most well known families. They’re basically football royalty. While Archie was the one who started off in the league, his son’s have pretty much surpassed him in terms of career achievements and popularity. Peyton is one of the best to have ever played the game, and Eli is a two-time Super Bowl MVP who’s battled his fair share of criticism throughout his career. Both are headed to the Hall of Fame and their father is still looked at as having been a bright light during some of New Orleans’ darkest football days. But like any family, the Manning’s have their fair share of things they’d rather you forgot.
Be it off the field controversies, bad numbers or dark stains on their respected careers, there’s plenty to look at that doesn’t bode well for this football family. With so much history here there’s plenty to choose from and while most of it is football related, there’s a good chunk that isn’t as well. The Manning family may be remembered fondly by most, but their legacy definitely took a few kicks, especially in the later years! So sit back and enjoy these 15 things the Manning family wants you to forget.
15 Eli’s Memorabilia Scandal
To many, Eli Manning is the quiet, often criticized brother in the Manning family that doesn’t always get the best shake from football fans. Others might say that he’s a boring guy. While that may be, it doesn’t mean he hasn’t been involved in his fair share of controversies. But in 2014, the usually white bread Eli was caught in a pretty big scandal involving fake memorabilia. It implemented Eli in a fake game worn memorabilia scheme and things resurfaced this past summer once new evidence popped up. This is all due to the ongoing lawsuit filed by memorabilia collectors Steiner Sports, who first accused Eli of passing off the memorabilia as game worn. Whether or not it’s true, it’s definitely something the family would rather see put to bed.
14 Eli’s Beach Bod
This one’s just silly but is still something people bring up if you can believe it. Despite being an NFL quarterback, Eli Manning isn’t the most athletic guy out there. He doesn’t look like a receiver or linebacker is what we’re saying. It makes sense if you think about it. The guy’s job requires him to stay in place for a majority of plays. A few years back, pictures surfaced of Eli on the beach with his family rocking a full on dad bod. He looked like a regular guy, with just a bit of a gut and some flab. It certainly made taking jabs at the mild-mannered passer all the easier.
13 Archie’s Career Stats
Though most of the younger generation of football fans will know him as the Manning patriarch, Archie Manning was once a qb in the league himself, though his sons have pretty much surpassed their father in terms of career achievements. While he was a Pro Bowl passer in his day, Archie Manning really had a pedestrian career at the very best. Now, most numbers from Archie’s era aren’t that great by today’s standards – but a 125-172 TD:INT ratio is bad no matter what era you’re looking at. Archie had the misfortune of playing for the abysmal Saints during the 70s, and while he was a bright spot on that team he still wasn’t all that great of a passer.
12 Cooper’s Injury
While both Peyton and Eli have had great careers, there’s one Manning brother people often forget about. Most consider Peyton Manning to be the older brother in the Manning household, but that’s not true. Cooper Manning is actually the oldest Manning son, and though his two younger brothers are both future Hall of Famers – their older brother never got the chance to go pro. A highly ranked receiving prospect out of high school, Cooper signed on with the University of Mississippi. But he was soon diagnosed with spinal stenosis. Cooper chose to hang up his cleats and focus on his health rather than risk anything. It was a smart choice on his end, but still a pretty sad story for such a talented young athlete.
11 Tracy Porter’s Pick Six
The moment that took the breath out of every Colts fan and brought New Orleans their first ever Super Bowl title was also one that would be one of the most infamous passes in Peyton manning’s storied career. Sadly, it would be for all the wrong reasons. The Colts looked to be in control during Super Bowl XLIV, but the Saints put up a good game following halftime and made it a nail biter. Trying to get his team the win, Peyton made a pretty aggressive throw on what should’ve been Indy’s game winning drive and it flew right into the hands of Tracy Porter, who made the most of the opportunity and brought it home – sealing the win for New Orleans. It wouldn’t be the first Super Bowl disaster for the future hall of famer.
10 Peyton’s Last Year in the League
It’d be hard to find a football fan out there who doesn’t know the name Peyton Manning. Even the most casual fan has to have at least heard of the great passer at least once. He’s one of the biggest names in football, despite having left the game for good. While he left on a high note, Peyton’s last year in the league was a poor one. His stats were bad yes, but it was fairly clear throughout 2015 that Peyton was no longer the player he used to be – and couldn’t carry a team on his shoulders the way he once could. He started only nine games, and threw a woeful nine touchdowns to seventeen interceptions. He ended his career a winner, but it wasn’t very pretty.
9 Eli’s Turnover Problem
No one’s saying that Eli is as great as his brother. Peyton is historically a top five quarterback while his little brother has struggled to maintain the same level of consistency. Not to say that Peyton hasn’t struggled with turnovers himself – but Eli’s bad luck has just persisted more frequently than his older brother's. Eli has led the league in turnovers a whopping three times – a fact his family, as well as Giants fans would probably rather didn’t come up in conversation all that often. He had 26 in 2007, 29 in 2010 and 32 in 2013. Though it has to be pointed out that Eli was tied for most interceptions in 2007, not total turnovers. That honour went to Jon Kitna.
8 No Love for Plaxico?
Plaxico Burress is a Super Bowl hero in New York, and for most of Eli Manning’s career was one of the most explosive and reliable targets he had in his arsenal. But Burress’ immaturity and carelessness took him out of the 2008 season and soon saw him going to jail for illegal possession of a firearm, effectively ruining the Giants’ hopes of making another Super Bowl run and his career as well. Burress had some pretty harsh words for Eli a while after he got out of jail. According to Burress, his old QB never once visited him in jail, saying "Then I went away, and I thought he would come see me, but nothing, not a letter, in two years. I don't want to say it was a slap in the face, but I thought our relationship was better than that." It doesn’t reflect all that well on Eli.
7 Super Bowl XLVIII
Super Bowl XLVIII was supposed to be the Broncos’ through and through. They were supposed to hold Seattle with their monster defence and put up mammoth numbers with their high powered offence – but as we all know, things didn’t go as planned. The team imploded and at the centre was their aging MVP quarterback. Peyton had one of his worst career games on football’s biggest stage. It did nothing to disprove what people were saying about Peyton’s ability to win championships and it served as the most humiliating defeat in his storied career. Peyton would finish his career a winner, but this will always be a dark stain looking back.
6 Peyton’s Playoff Losses
Seeing as we just finished talking about one of his most embarrassing defeats, this seemed like as good a time as any for us to look at Peyton’s career playoff record. Though he has won two championships, his playoff performances are anything but stellar historically. Sporting a 14-13 record, which includes a 2-2 Super Bowl record, Peyton might not be the first guy you think of when you want someone to go out there and lead your team through January. If you had to think of one blemish on his record this would certainly be it. He certainly had a great, memorable career – but the bulk of his criticisms will likely always stem from this problem in the post season.
5 The Manning Bowl
With two high profile passers in the family, the Manning’s get a lot of attention. Throughout most of Eli and Peyton’s years in the league together the two often drew a lot of comparisons to one another – though it was mainly focused on how Eli wasn’t like his brother. The Manning Bowl is just a hyped up moniker given to any games the two faced each other in. In total it’s happened three times with Peyton sweeping the series. Aside from the first matchup they really weren’t anything all that special and tended to be one sided. Now a Manning Bowl in the Super Bowl would’ve definitely been worth all the hype, but that never happened.
4 Peyton VS Brady
Though the debate has quelled in recent years, there was once some very heated talk regarding who the best passer in the NFL was; Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. Both have put up incredible careers, with Brady being much more successful in the post season. The two have met up 15 times over the years and though Peyton has pulled out some incredible victories and put up great stats, the majority of the wins here are Brady’s. It’s a pretty one sided rivalry and one that doesn’t reflect all that well on Peyton in the greatest of all-time conversation. While Eli has fared better against Tom Terrific, Peyton has struggled and it’s something he probably would rather was not brought up all that much.
3 Buddy Manning’s Passing
The Manning family is one of the most prestigious and well respected football families in the world right now. But as much as we think of them in this light, the family has gone through some dark times – mainly during Archie’s youth. Archie’s father, Buddy wasn’t able to watch his son play much due to his work but remained a supportive figure in his life. However things took a sudden and sad turn in 1969 when Buddy took his own life. Archie was the first to find his father’s body and the event nearly led to Archie dropping out of school to support his family. But Archie continued on and found success in the pros – which paved the way for his sons to do the same.
2 Peyton’s College Harassment Charge
You think about Peyton Manning and you think great athlete, stand up guy, things like that. But Peyton was a little wilder in his youth – much wilder than you’d expect him to have been given the collected and composed demeanour we’re so used to seeing from him. In 1996, while at the University of Tennessee, Peyton was charged with sexual harassment. The incident occurred when Manning exposed his backside during an examination in the presence of a female trainer. Manning claimed that the gesture was aimed at a teammate and not the trainer, though that did little to help his cause. The whole thing snowballed into a he said she said deal and was settled out of court years later.
1 The 2004 NFL Draft
The 2004 NFL Draft will most likely be remembered for its excellent quarterback class. But the draft is also well known for one particularly embarrassing incident that involved Eli Manning, the San Diego Chargers and the first overall pick. The Chargers took Eli with the first selection in the draft but the problem was that Eli (or perhaps his father) wasn’t keen on the idea of being a Charger, and made it very clear. The draft started with a ton of drama that eventually subsided when Manning was traded to the Giants for their draft selection Philip Rivers and a whole lot more. It worked out for both organizations but is still something Eli gets criticized for.