The Manning family isn’t done with professional football just yet. Not if 14-year-old Arch Manning has anything to say about it. This young quarterback is already getting rare praise from his coaches and college scouts alike. He thinks and throws a lot like his predecessors Peyton and Eli. But he also shows off a tool both of them lacked at his age: agility.
Arch has the makings of becoming a great NFL quarterback someday if he stays healthy and continues to improve. With Eli sitting on the New York Giants bench, fans are all about another Manning getting in the mix. But who is this kid? Is he Peyton’s boy, as some people say?
Who is Arch Manning’s father?
Arch strikes a very Peyton-esque profile when he throws the ball. But he’s actually the son of the lesser-known third Manning brother, Cooper.
Cooper didn’t play football beyond the high school level. That didn’t stop him from being a big part of the family project. He worked extensively as a sports broadcaster with ESPN and now Fox Sports. He brings the exact blend of charm and analysis that makes his pro athlete brothers so widely liked.
In between football-related work, Cooper works with the Chicago, IL investment firm AJ Capital Partners. His true life’s work is represented by his son Arch, who combines the Manning quarterback style with a wiry physicality that could only have come from Cooper.
Why the third Manning brother didn’t play in the NFL
Cooper never played in the NFL, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. He was a phenom wide receiver in high school, good enough to rank as a top national prospect. He committed to the University of Missippi on the advice of his father, Archie Manning. His future seemed locked in.
A shocking diagnosis took that away. During summer practice, Cooper lost feeling in his fingers and toes. His rare version of spinal stenosis meant he had to stop playing football immediately.
In high school, Cooper received most of his passes from his brother Peyton. They were a rare combination, each making the other better in the process. To honor Cooper’s role in making Peyton the incredible QB he became, he chose the number 18 in the NFL. The same number Cooper wore.
Arch Manning’s place in a generational force in football
Anyone with a passing familiarity with the NFL knows who Peyton and Eli Manning are. The idea of two grinning, Hall of Famer quarterbacks coming from the same family is too good a tale. It’s part of American lore as much as it’s a pure football story.
But the legacy goes further back than that. Archie Manning was also an immensely talented quarterback, with a 67.1 passer rating across three teams. He was most notable with his hometown New Orleans Saints, where he essentially tossed the team on his back for the entirety of the ’70’s.
Four times, Major League Baseball attempted to draft Archie. He stuck to his dream of playing football instead. The only thing that put his mission on pause was the tragic death of his father Buddy Manning. His mother and sister insisted he go on. Now he’ll go on to leading the third generation of Mannings towards professional football.
The high school freshman Arch gets his name from his grandfather. He also represents the lost NFL dreams of his father Cooper. It’s a heavy weight that, so far, Arch seems ready to handle.
Maybe it would be better for the pop culture narrative if Arch was Peyton or Eli’s kid. But once you put the pieces together, consider: Arch, son of Cooper and grandson of Archie, is the best any Manning has looked on the gridiron at 14. That’s a special thing for the family and for football as a whole.