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Manning Brothers Put Readers Into 'Family Huddle'

When it comes to NFL quarterbacks, the Manning family has created its own dynasty.

Peyton, Eli and their father, Archie, have achieved fame in the NFL. And this Sunday the two brothers return to the field for the start of the 2009 NFL season. But during the offseason the family got together to write a children's book inspired, in part, by the sport they love.

Family Huddle is about three young brothers in growing up in Louisiana. They learn to support and encourage each other while playing football under their parents' encouraging eyes.

Growing Up Manning

Having a father who was a Pro Bowl quarterback didn't mean Peyton, Eli and eldest brother Cooper were destined for the NFL. All three of the Manning sons loved playing sports, but Archie says he never wanted to push them in one direction or another. "I wanted to be there for them and support them," says Archie. "I felt like if I pushed these kids into sports, I thought that'd backfire on me."

And that support was unconditional win or lose — a lesson Archie says he learned from his father. "I can remember striking out one night to lose the game, you know, and he put his arm around me when we walked back to the car and supported me."

Two of the three Manning sons ended up as star NFL quarterbacks. Which raises a simple question:

STEVE INSKEEP: How did it happen that you all ended up playing not only the same sport but the same position?

ELI MANNING: Well, I don't think we were qualified to play any other position.

PEYTON MANNING: I would agree with that.

ELI MANNING: Too slow to play receiver, not big enough to play defense or offensive line. So it just kind of worked out that way.

And it has worked out pretty well. Both brothers have won a Super Bowl, Peyton with the Indianapolis Colts and Eli with the New York Giants.

Sibling Rivalry?

The success of Peyton and Eli may lead to an interesting dilemma for the family: What if the Super Bowl suddenly turns into the Manning Bowl? Brother against brother. Peyton and the Colts against Eli and the Giants. One brother goes home with the trophy, and one just goes home.

Eli says that's something the brothers don't really talk about. "If I'm watching the Colts on TV, I'm rooting for my brother, I'm rooting for the Colts to win. But it's not being brought up all that often."

And he's not the only Manning who hopes a "Manning Bowl" never comes to pass. Archie was proud to watch his two sons win the Super Bowl. "You couldn't have that same feeling again, if one won but one lost. So I don't wanna go there."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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