Peyton Williams Manning is born in New Orleans, La. He's welcomed by proud
parents, Archie and Olivia, and two-year-old brother, Cooper. Archie, a former
University of Mississippi and New Orleans Saints quarterback, and Olivia, a
former Ole Miss homecoming queen, married in 1971.
After Saints practices, Archie comes home and organizes football games for his
two sons and their friends in his backyard. He often films the contests with a
camcorder to simulate a national television broadcast, complete with pre-game
introductions where the kids state their names, ages, favorite football players
and teams. A young Peyton steps up and says, to the amusement of all present,
"Peyton Manning. Age of four. And my favorite team is Wes Chandler."
According to legend, four-year-old Peyton could execute a seven-step drop back
pass. As kids, the brothers Manning are frequent locker room guests at Saints
home games, getting to fraternize with their favorite NFL players. "We'd
hang around with all these naked guys and it was perfectly normal ," Peyton
January 3, 1981
Youngest brother Elisha is born into the Manning
At age nine, Peyton is a football fanatic. As a youngster he listens to tapes of
his father's collegiate games at Mississippi and can name all starters from the
1969 squad. "I would love to have played in the '60's," he says later.
"Now that would have been
A sophomore at Isidore Newman prep school, Peyton begins his rigorous film study
habits. As the starting quarterback, he teams with Cooper, the team's standout
receiver, to lead the Greenies to a 12-2 season. Newman loses to Haynesville
High 27-21 in the Louisiana Class 2A state semifinals.
After passing for 2,345 yards and 30 touchdowns in his junior season, Peyton
aims to improve the only fault naysayers can pinpoint. He begins training in
shoes designed to lengthen his Achilles tendons, thereby increasing his foot
speed. His time in the 40-yard dash drops from 5.0 to 4.8. After watching Peyton
workout during the summer, then-Saints head coach Jim Mora states, "If
there's any [better] quarterback his age out there in the country, I'd just like
to see him." That winter, Peyton's competitive nature causes him to leave
the Newman basketball team over a difference of opinion with the coach. While
Peyton thought he should be a starter, his coach didn't. In the spring of 1993,
Peyton is a second-team all-state selection in baseball after hitting .440 as a
Twenty-three colleges call Peyton on the first day of the August recruiting
period, and the Mannings install an extra phone line. " I honestly don't
know where I'm going," Peyton says. Nevertheless, the pressure is on for
Peyton to follow in his father's footsteps and attend the University of
Mississippi. "Some of my buddies have called and said, 'You make him go to
Ole Miss," Archie says.
In his senior season Peyton passes for 703 yards and 39 touchdowns and is named
the Gatorade National Player of the Year. Newman finishes 34-5 in the three
years Peyton serves as its starting quarterback.
With college football powerhouses such as Florida, Florida State, Michigan and
Texas also in hot pursuit, Peyton bucks family tradition and decides to attend
Tennessee. "Peyton doesn't take much crap," says brother Cooper, who
played his freshman season at Ole Miss before a neck condition ended his career.
"If somebody were to tell him he betrayed Ole Miss, he's the type to get
right in his face and tell him to shut up." Younger brother Eli, a prep
All-America quarterback, would sign with the Rebels in February 1999.
A freshman, Peyton watches from the bench as Tennesee gets off to a 1-3
With Tennessee upperclassmen QBs Jerry Colquitt and Todd Helton out with
injuries, Peyton starts his first collegiate game. In front of a homecoming
crowd of 95,556, he leads the Vols to a 10-9 victory over No. 17 Washington
State. Peyton completes seven of 14 passes. "I remember my first
start," says Archie. "I was a sophomore and it was against Memphis
State. The Tigers' defense wasn't nearly as good as Washington State's."
Peyton passes for 189 yards and one touchdown in the Volunteers' 45-23 Gator
Bowl win over Virginia Tech. He is named SEC Freshman of the
In the week leading up to a matchup with rival Florida, Peyton takes it upon
himself to watch 20 more hours of game tape than he's required to view. It
doesn't help. Florida pummels Tennessee 62-37 in the third game of Peyton's
sophomore campaign, spoiling hopes of a perfect
After finishing the regular season 10-1, Tennessee rings in the New Year with a
20-14 win over Ohio State in the Florida Citrus Bowl. Peyton's final stats on
the year: 22 touchdown passes, 954 yards passing and just four