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Peyton Manning's childhood, growing up


Born in New Orleans on March 24, 1976, Peyton Manning is the son of legendary New Orleans quarterback Archie Manning and Olivia Manning.

Peyton was the second of Archie and Olivia Manning's three sons. Cooper, the oldest, arrived in 1974. Eli came into the world five years after Peyton. All three boys looked like athletes from the time they could crawl. At 12-plus pounds at birth, Peyton appeared he might be headed for a career as an offensive lineman.

The size of the Manning kids wasn't surprising given their genes. Archie was one of the most celebrated athletes in the history of the South.

Like his dad, Peyton loved football. By his third birthday, he was tossing the football with Cooper. They had plenty of room to practice in the yard of the family's huge home-built in 1853-in the historic Garden District of New Orleans. Eli eventually joined his brothers in their games.

For Peyton, childhood was perfect. He idolized his father and dreamed of being a star college quarterback. The Mannings were a close-knit bunch. Trips across the state to visit Grandma Manning in Drew, or to see Olivia's parents in the town of Philadelphia, were always eagerly anticipated.

In January of 1980 with Archie in the Pro Bowl as a member of the New Orleans Saints, 4-year-old Peyton went missing for a while in Hawaii. Turned out he was sailing on a catamaran with The Chicago Bears' famed running back Walter Payton.

Peyton's only bad memories came when professional athletics intruded on the family's homelife. The Saints were the laughingstock of the NFL, and despite some great individual seasons, Archie often bore the brunt of the fans' ire. In 1982, after he was traded to the Oilers, Archie talked it over with Olivia and they decided the family would stay in New Orleans. Peyton and brothers missed their dad terribly.

Archie bounced between the Oilers and Vikings the next four years. In 1984, Archie's last season in the NFL, Olivia and the boys followed him to Minneapolis. Peyton hoped to get his first taste of organized football there, but he was too young for the fifth-grade squad.

The Mannings returned to New Orleans the following year, and Peyton looked forward to playing football for Isidore Newman School, one of Louisiana's top private schools.
There was only one problem:
 Newman cancelled its sixth-grade program.
 Finally, in 1988, Peyton got his chance to put on the pads for the first time. When asked to list his favorite positions, he wrote down "quarterback" and "defensive back."
Peyton wore No. 11 as a seventh-grade quarterback.

Years of watching from the sidelines had given Peyton lots of time to brush up on his football knowledge. A trivia buff, he was absolutely crazy about the college game. For him, nothing compared to the SEC. He listened to audio tapes of his dad's college games and quizzed his little brother on the conference's storied past. When Eli couldn't answer a question, he usually received a pounding.

Though life in the Manning house revolved around sports, Archie and Olivia never pushed their kids to be stars. In fact, Archie attempted to coach Peyton just once-in youth-league basketball-and the results were disastrous. Peyton chewed out his dad for stocking the team with his friends, instead of the best players available.


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