“In the Name of the Father: Family, Football and the Manning Dynasty” by Mark Ribowsky
Football (American), biography, family, Saints, Colts, Broncos, Giants,
August 7, 2018
4 of 5 stars (very good)
Football fans, both college and professional, know about the Manning family. Father Archie and sons Peyton and Eli all became All-Pro quarterbacks in the NFL and the two sons have each won two Super Bowls. Even their older brother, Cooper, was a football star (although he was a wide receiver) in high school before being diagnosed with spinal stenosis during his freshman year in college. Their family lineage and royalty in football is told in this very good book by noted biographer Mark Ribowsky.
The story is not all golden as more than just a write-up about the football players and lives on and off the field, the book tells of a culture that was slow to change and how the family members were reflections of that culture from the Deep South. Archie, while becoming a legend at Ole Miss, also was one who reflected the difficulty of the Southern culture to become integrated. There is never any blatant racism portrayed by any of the Mannings or their spouses but it is clear in Ribowsky’s writing that some of the changes taking place were being accepted slower by them than they were in the rest of the country.
There are some other dark moments covered in the book, such as the lawsuit filed by a female trainer at the University of Tennessee against Peyton Manning. While the story wasn’t big news at the time, it took new life as Peyton continually denied anything inappropriate took place and he held a long-time grudge against the woman about the case. This is an example of how the author was able to shed new light about the family and its dynamics as well as new information about this particular incident.
Of course, there is plenty of football talk as well. The careers of all three Manning quarterbacks are illustrated with great detail. Archie’s woes on bad teams in New Orleans, Houston and Minnesota will make a reader feel his pain. The joys exhibited by Peyton and Eli are felt as well, especially in Eli’s case when he led the Giants to an upset of the undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. The college careers of all three Mannings are covered just as well, especially Archie as he was considered a king of college football and set many individual records at Ole Miss. These have since been broken by others, but the Manning name is still revered on that campus.
Complete in its research and content, engaging in its writing and informative for readers, this book is one that is recommended for all football fans, whether or not they are fans of any of the Mannings or their teams.
I wish to thank W.W. Norton and Liveright for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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