So much to do and see and so little time is the problem everyone has at an SCI show! While I can't wait to attend the 2015 SCI Foundation Education Sables' annual luncheon and auction that I blogged about earlier this week, I also can’t wait for tonight's Friday Night Dinner and Auction. Why? Because Archie Manning is the keynote speaker.
I admit when I first think of Archie Manning I think of football--one of my all-time favorite topics—Archie's appeal goes way beyond athletic achievements. Did you know he was selected Father of the Year by the National Father's Day Council and for 25 years has been hosting Archie Manning Cystic Fibrosis Benefit Golf Tournaments in Louisiana and Mississippi?
But in explaining why Archie is such a draw at the SCI show, I don’t mean to put the cart before the horse! ...
Born in Mississippi in 1949, Archie attended the University of Mississippi where he was named an All-American Quarterback and his number is retired. He was voted Mississippi's Greatest All-Time Athlete in 1992, and was named Mississippi's Most Popular Athlete of the Century. He was elected to the 50-Year All-South Team (1940-1990), named one of the Top 25 Athletes of the Century in Louisiana and he and his son Peyton were named among the 100 All-Time Greatest College Football Players. Archie was inducted into the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame and is a member of other Halls of Fame including Louisiana and Mississippi. In 1971, he was the second player chosen in the NFL draft – the number one draft choice of the New Orleans Saints. He set Saints passing records, played in two Pro Bowls and was named the NFC Most Valuable Player in 1978. He was the first player in Saints history to be inducted into the Louisiana Superdome Wall of Fame and was in the first class of the Saints Ring of Honor. He concluded his 15-year career in 1985 and, by the way, was also drafted four times by major league baseball.
While in pro football, he received the Byron "Whizzer" White Humanitarian Award, the Bart Starr Humanitarian Award, the Spirit of Good Sports Award from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, and the U.S. Jaycees named him one of 10 Outstanding Young Americans. In 2005 Archie received the Legends award from the Davey O'Brien Foundation and the Aspire award—a tribute to life's coaches—from the Cal Ripken Foundation. Archie was honored by the United States Sports Academy with the 2006 Distinguished Service Award. Also, he received the Silver Buffalo, the Boy Scouts of America's highest award. Archie received the Reds Bagnell Award from the Maxwell Football Club, he was the 51st winner of the Bert Bell Award, and was honored at the Super Bowl in New Orleans with the Pat Summerall Award. Archie and his wife, Olivia, live in New Orleans and were recipients of the National Pathfinder Award for their work in post-Hurricane Katrina.
His community activities include Louisiana Special Olympics, the New Orleans Area Boy Scout Council, the Salvation Army, United Way Speakers Bureau, Allstate Sugar Bowl Committee and the New Orleans Sports Foundation. He is Chairman of the Board of the National Football Foundation. He was also selected to serve on the first College Football Playoff selection committee.
My big question after learning all of this: How does he have time to speak tonight?
As for other Manning topics, Archie and Olivia also have three sons—Cooper, Peyton and Eli, the last two of which are certainly football stars in their own right. But while I’d love to ask Archie about Peyton’s amazing career with the Colts and Broncos or Elis career with the Giants—and how heavy their Super Bowl rings are—I want to hear about the book he wrote with Peyton entitled, “Manning: A Father, His Sons and A Football Legacy,” and the Manning 2 Passing Academy, a summer camp for high school quarterbacks and receivers the family has been running for 18 years.
By the way, the Manning family was named the second most inspiring family in America by Town & Country magazine in its June 2013 issue. They were also featured in a highly rated documentary on ESPN entitled "The Book of Manning." In honor of the Mannings' college football accomplishments, the Sugar Bowl has created the Manning Award to go to the nation's best college quarterback.
Archie, who by the way is an owner of Manning's, a sports-themed restaurant in New Orleans, certainly is the epitome of giving back to society and to future generations of Americans! I can’t wait to be there. And did I also mention country music’s Joe Nichols is performing after the dinner and auction? All things considered, no wonder the event is sold out!