The Mannings: The Fall and Rise of a Football Family
Anderson, Lars. The Mannings: The Fall and Rise of a Football Family. New York: Ballantine Books, 2016.
Most people who know me well know I don't cheer for NFL teams but rather for the players. Ever since Peyton left the University of Tennessee, I've cheered first for Peyton. After Eli graduated from Ole Miss, I told everyone I cheered for Peyton first and Eli second. Why? I grew up in Mississippi where Archie Manning was pretty much everyone's hero. Of course, as anyone in Mississippi could tell you, after he went to the Saints, he never had a team with talent. I was small when I followed Archie's career, mostly on a handheld radio broadcasting our home state team. I chose to follow his sons' careers. The author of this book does an excellent job of following Archie and his sons through their college years (and that includes Cooper's short-lived career). He even devotes considerable time to the decisions Peyton and Eli made concerning the choice each made to attend Tennessee and Ole Miss respectively. He does a fairly decent job talking about Archie's professional career, basically reaching the same conclusion that we Mississippians stated for decades. Where he fails is in discussing the professional careers of both Peyton and Eli. Both are given fairly scant attention. There is a wrap-up chapter detailing Peyton's injuries in his late career. If the book had been intended to cover only the college careers of the men, this would have been a 4.5 star book, but the lack of detail on their professional careers where they spent far more time tossing around a football than in high school and college combined weakens the book. In spite of the major flaw, this book will still garner a large audience because it is about the Mannings. Football enthusiasts everywhere, particularly fans of the Mannings and the Southeastern Conference, will want to read it. The book uses the "hidden footnote" system which I hate -- where footnotes exist but no one knows they are there until they flip to the back and see them keyed to specific phrases on certain pages. This review is based on an advance reader's copy e-galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley for review purposes.