Hundreds of people gathered at the Gertrude C. Ford Center Friday night for the premiere of “The Book of Manning.” The event helped raise $100,000 for the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children.
The documentary chronicles the tale of former Ole Miss All-American quarterback Archie Manning balancing his football career with his life at home.
“I feel a little awkward talking about it myself because it’s about me,” Archie said. “I think it’s a little bit about family, and I hope that’ll be a good thing and a good influence.”
Archie was accompanied by his wife Olivia and his son Cooper.
“I think it’ll educate a lot of people on what the South is all about and a little bit more about my dad’s history,” Cooper said.
The film also details the birth of Archie’s three sons, Cooper, Peyton and Eli, and how their lives were shaped by football. Each son has a portion of the film dedicated to them, chronicling the ups and downs of their football careers.
Cooper, the oldest son, was a standout all-state receiver in high school. He committed to play football at Ole Miss but never got to play a snap. His diagnosis of spinal stenosis was the end of his football career.
Peyton was a teammate of Cooper for two years in high school. Peyton was a top prospect coming out of high school as well, and his controversial decision to attend the University of Tennessee is shown in the documentary. Peyton’s decision was frowned upon by Ole Miss fans, but Archie defends his son to this day.
Archie’s youngest son Eli was the only son to actually play Ole Miss football. When Eli announced in the documentary that he was going to attend Ole Miss, the crowd in the Ford Center started applauding.
In attendance at the premiere was CBS analyst Tim Brando, who covered Archie during his time as a Saints quarterback in New Orleans.
“Archie Manning is not just a hero to Ole Miss fans in the state of Mississippi, but he’s a folk hero to the entire country,” Brando said.
The documentary was not the only honor for the Mannings on Friday night. Athletics Director Ross Bjork announced that the Indoor Practice Facility is now named the Olivia and Archie Manning Athletics Performance Center.
Director Rory Karpf said he wanted to make the Mannings a documentary of which they could be proud. Archie acknowledged Rory following the screening, praising his effort on the movie.
The documentary will air on ESPN on Sept. 24.