Manning

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9780061020247: Manning

The inspiring personal story of a family, an athletic tradition, and fifty years of a great all-American game.

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It seems somehow fitting that the first pass Peyton Manning, the $48 million man, threw as a professional went for a touchdown. His father Archie Manning, in this team effort from two of football's more interesting quarterbacks, stresses that "My only hard rule [with his sons growing up] was that they finish what they start." Peyton, the All-American Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Tennessee, obviously listened to his All-American from Ole Miss father, whose strong right arm almost made the Saints competitive over 12 seasons in New Orleans.

Though both father and son get equal billing, this is really Archie's book, his story, and the story of his family that he wants to tell. He gets the first word and the last in this hybrid joint first-person memoir with chapter intros and structural transitions provided by Sports Illustrated veteran John Underwood. Like most sports biographies, it's rife with inspiration, decisions to be made, challenges to face (Peyton's older brother had to cut short his career when he was diagnosed with a potentially fatal spinal cord disease), tragedy faced (Archie's father killed himself while Archie was in college), and expectations exceeded. But it also has a lot of straight talk from Archie about family and football, and he's not above throwing a few penalty flags on the game. He's loud and clear on college recruiting abuses--as is Peyton. He worries about youth leagues putting pressures to succeed over fun in playing, hates all the taunting and celebrating in the NFL, and thinks there's just too darned much money and too little team loyalty in football's veins these days. The fire still smolders in his belly, and Manning is at its most interesting when he stokes up the flames. --Jeff Silverman

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THE INSPIRING PERSONAL STORY OF A FAMILY, AN ATHLETIC TRADITION, AND FIFTY YEARS OF A GREAT ALL-AMERICAN GAME.

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