Archie and Olivia Manning wed in 1971 and share three sons: Peyton, Eli and Cooper
Archie and Olivia are the proud parents of Peyton, Eli and Cooper Manning. Over the course of their decades-long marriage, the pair have gotten involved in numerous charities, become the face of both Mississippi and New Orleans and have dedicated 35 years of their lives to the NFL — as both a player and spouse, and as parents.
Olivia first met Archie when he was the shining quarterback at Ole Miss. They tied the knot during their senior year, just weeks after Archie was selected as the first-round pick (and second pick overall) for the New Orleans Saints in the 1971 NFL draft. With that, they relocated to Louisiana, where they raised Peyton, Eli and Cooper, all of whom quickly took after their father on the field.
Archie retired from the NFL in 1984, but his legacy continued. Both Peyton and Eli took to the quarterback position. Peyton spent time with the Colts and Denver Broncos, while Eli spent his career playing for the New York Giants. Meanwhile, Cooper was a skilled wide receiver, but a spinal stenosis diagnosis at age 18 removed him from the game for good.
Having three sons interested in football, Archie made it a priority to be there as their father first and foremost, not as their coach.
“I think the first thing that my sons will tell you, that I never tried to be their coach,” Archie told reporters while promoting the 2013 ESPN documentary The Book of Manning. “And I didn’t give them as much advice as some people might think, being a former player myself and a former quarterback. If they asked, I gave them my opinion.”
In 2017, Peyton echoed his father’s words while speaking about the importance of family and mentorship at the 14th annual Sacred Heart Gala and Auction in Indian Wells, California.
“My dad and my parents never pressured us into playing sports, never pushed us. They encouraged us to play sports because they thought sports does teach you a lot of valuable lessons,” Peyton said on stage, per local newspaper Desert Sun.
From their days at Ole Miss to two professional athletes, here’s everything to know about Archie and Olivia Manning.
They have been married for over 50 years
Both born and raised in Mississippi, Archie and Olivia first met while studying at Ole Miss. They started off as friends and didn’t pursue a relationship until spring of their freshman year, following a dance mixer put on by Olivia’s sorority. After three years of dating, the pair tied the knot in May 1971 during their senior year.
Archie played in the NFL for 13 years
From 1971 to 1984, Archie had an illustrious career as an NFL quarterback. He was the New Orleans Saints’ first-round pick in the 1971 NFL draft, and showcased an impeccable sophomore season leading the league with the most pass attempts, despite his team’s losing streak, per his bio. Archie played a total of 10 seasons with the Saints, most of which he started. He scored 115 touchdowns and accumulated 21,734 passing yards.
The last two years of his NFL career were spent playing for the Houston Oiler and Minnesota Vikings. In 1989, Archie was inducted into the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame.
Prior to making it big, Archie played quarterback for Ole Miss. He came in fourth place for the Heisman Trophy in 1969, and in third place in 1970. His jersey number was retired by the Rebels in 1989, the same year he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
The Manning home is a famous landmark in New Orleans
The home where Archie and Olivia raised their three sons is now considered a tourist hotspot in Louisiana. The family first moved to New Orleans’ Garden District back when Archie was playing for the Saints in the ‘70s.
As Eli and Peyton’s reputation grew, so did the home’s popularity with fans hoping to catch the pro athletes in their natural habitat. The fence surrounding the lot even has a sign that reads “Champions” on it.
“It’s the house of champions. People come from all over the world to see the Manning house,” Dave Roberts of Historic New Orleans Tours told local ABC affiliate WGNO. “A lot of people in the Garden District saw the Manning’s grow up from little boys. They are a wonderful family."
Eli credits Olivia for being their “biggest supporter”
“Growing up, we would have been lost and clueless without her. She ran the household and was our biggest supporter,” Eli said of his mother during an interview with the New York Times in 2008. Eli described himself as a “quiet” and “shy” kid, who much like Olivia never preferred to “do a whole lot of talking.”
Archie, Peyton, Eli and Cooper find ways to work together on and off camera
While the next generation of Manning men are busy carving out names for themselves on the field, Archie and his sons are finding ways to fuel their passion for the sport off the gridiron. Since retiring, Archie, Peyton, Eli and Cooper have all transitioned to roles in broadcast sports journalism, often providing professional commentary — sometimes even as a group — for media platforms like ESPN and Fox Sports. They’ve also appeared in multiple commercials together for Caesars Sportsbook, Frito-Lay and Quaker.
Media collaborations aside, Archie and his sons also reunite every year for the Manning Passing Academy. The annual two-week camp aims at providing high school football players one-on-one training with former pro athletes.
"It's a great chance for me to be with Eli, Cooper, and my dad,” Peyton told local NBC affiliate WTHR. “We stay in the dorm with the kids, we have our own rooms, but we're right there in the middle of it. It's great for me to be with my family two weeks before training camp and you know, it's fun for me to talk football and teach these kids some of the things that I've learned from some of the great coaches I've had.”
They founded their own charity in 2003
Since establishing The Manning Family Fund in 2003, the couple have raised millions of dollars for their home state of Mississippi. Every penny donated goes to promoting research and furthering education at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
“We feel a great love for the state of Mississippi and the people of Mississippi, but also an indebtedness. The way people treated us through the years, all the way back to my Ole Miss days and through my Saints days and through our life. There is a need here and it’s something we feel like we can give back and enlighten others,” Archie said while promoting one of the fund’s campaigns in 2014.
Olivia is also heavily involved with the American Heart Association (AHA) — specifically its Go Red for Women campaign, which she has been a member of since 2012. In October 2023, she and Archie were honored with AHA’s Paul “Bear” Bryant Heart of a Champion Award for their “notable contributions and positive influence.”
They have a total of nine grandchildren
Archie and Olivia have a big group of grandkids that keep them busy. Cooper and his wife Ellen Heidingsfelder share three children: sons Arch and Heid and daughter May.
A quarterback like his grandpa, Arch broke Peyton’s high school record of 93 touchdowns as well as Eli’s school record of 7,268 passing yards in October 2022. Arch now plays at the University of Texas, while Heid plays high school football at his dad and now brother’s alma mater. Their sister Maya is a volleyball player at the University of Virginia.
In 2011, Peyton became a father of fraternal twins: son Marshall Williams and daughter Mosley Thompson. He shares them with wife Ashley Manning.
Meanwhile, Eli and wife Abby are parents of four: daughters Ava, Lucy and Caroline and son Charles. Eli and his family live in New Jersey together.
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