Yes, the game Peyton's father knew has changed forever. Yes, Peyton will soon play for more money in a season than most men make in a lifetime. But this autumn can be the sweetest of all. There is a rematch with Florida on Sept. 21, a trip to Memphis 12 days later for an emotional game against Ole Miss. The national championship game is the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, two miles from the bedroom where Peyton listened to those scratchy old tapes. He can do things that his father never did: win an SEC title, go undefeated. "This fall," says Peyton, "this fall could be something else."
In this home there is a syrupy faith that history doesn't die. "I'm telling you, college football is special," says Archie.
He reaches to his left and pulls a new football from a box. He signs it and passes it to his right. Peyton scribbles his name on the ball and sets it gently on the coffee table. Archie reaches for another new football. Sunlight streams through long windows. The only noise is the squeak of a black marker against the fresh, pebbled leather.