Archie Manning was still trying to recover from the Super Bowl this past Sunday let alone Mardi Gras, the signature event in New Orleans.<>
Manning was on campus, and in the room that bears his name Wednesday afternoon. On the second floor of the Starnes Center, half a football field away from the construction going on at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, the man everyone knows just as Archie sat in a comfortable couch.
Wearing blue jeans, tennis shoes and a Nike pullover, Archie talked about his famous sons. It's rare that the Ole Miss quarterback legend is in Oxford for Mardi Gras, but because it was so early this year in relation to the end of the football season, and he just got done traveling from the Super Bowl, the normal family get together surrounding the festive event was not applicable.
Of course Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50. Peyton or Eli have now played in six of the last eight Super Bowls. And there are four wins in those six games. He used the word "blessed" to describe his feeling on the latest win for his middle son.
"Each one of them has a little different story line. The championship games are really the one I remember because you have to win those in order to get to the Super Bowl," Archie said. "Six out of seven championship games we've won. They're all so hard and so meaningful because they get you there. Reflecting on the others and comparing it to this one, I think this one stands out because of the year Peyton went through and how different it was. It might be the end of the line, so we so wanted the Broncos to win it so bad."
Archie also gave his thoughts on the coach he helped to turn Ole Miss around, Hugh Freeze. He didn't know much about the NCAA allegations, and the national narrative is that Ole Miss is cheating in order to land talented players. Archie said that Ole Miss can recruit because of Freeze.
"We have a great head coach who is a good recruiter and he has a staff that feeds off each other," he said. "Their concept is selling Ole Miss, selling the program, selling it a little bit different than everybody else is doing. It's been good. People that come here and experience game day and campus life, and kids want to come. That's the truth of the matter. There is always jealousy involved when you have sudden success. Some of this comes on Hugh and I think we've already been punished for our tackle from last year. You almost say it comes with the territory. I know the integrity of Hugh Freeze. That's my only answer. That's what I know."