"I hope Country Day scores a couple of touchdowns early," Archie says. "That way Peyton'll get to put it up some."
Newman jumps ahead 34-7 at the half, mainly behind the pinpoint passing of Peyton, and at the start of the third quarter the coach for Country Day begins to holler at the ref. "Hey, stripes! Why don't you stop watching Manning and start watching the game? You'll get to watch him the next four years on TV!"
The final score is 46-7. Peyton plays little in the second half, but he does produce one surprising moment when he fakes to a running back, holds the ball against his hip and sprints up the sideline for a long gain. "The blind bootleg," Archie says, standing and applauding. "Did you see that, Olivia? It was the blind bootleg."
No one has seen the play, not at a Newman game, anyway. The team, somebody says, doesn't have it in its playbook. "I guess he got that from me," Archie finally says. "From one of my old game films. Watch, when I go down to see him, it'll be the first thing he brings up."
The game ends, and Archie walks down to the field to shake his son's hand. "Did you see my blind bootleg?" Peyton asks, wiping grime from his face.
Archie takes his hand and gives it a long shake. "I sure did, Peyton. I saw it, all right."
Long after most everyone has left, a group of kids run up to Archie, gives him a football and asks if he wouldn't mind throwing a few. The first runs a sideline pattern; Archie drills him as soon as he makes his break. The second simply flares out to the right, and Archie finds him, too. The third, a speedster, claws through the sod and goes long. "Keep going," Archie says. And then he lets loose with a wondrous spiral. The ball sails in a high clean arc, off toward the trees. It's just how he used to throw them, this one. And how Peyton throws them now. The pass goes straight up and comes straight down and somehow it's the most amazing damn thing anybody ever saw.