The Manning family is one of the most respected and accomplished families in the history of the game of football. Father Archie as well as sons Eli and Peyton were each star quarterbacks in high school, college, and eventually the NFL. The seldom discussed story is that in addition to mother Olivia Manning there is another member of the family that can not put the accomplishment of famous National Football League (NFL) quarterback on their resume and that person is the third son Cooper, brother to both Eli and Peyton.
Cooper Manning will likely spend the rest of his life being referred to either behind his back or to his face as the third Manning brother. Unlike his accomplished brothers and father he does not have muli-million dollar contracts paying him as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars a week. Nor does he have the fame and admiration that comes from excelling at a coveted position (quarterback) at the highest level.
Archie Manning, the head of the family, first became a household name while playing quarterback for the University of Mississippi (commonly referred to as Ole Miss) in 1969 and 1970. The Heisman Trophy (given annually to the most outstanding college football player) candidate went on to attain wealth and fame in the NFL where as a pro quarterback he was selected to two pro bowls and was once named the NFC Offensive Player of the Year in 1978.
Archie met his wife Olivia while the two were students at Ole Miss. Archie was in a fraternity (Sigma Nu) and Olivia was in a sorority (Delta Gamma). Archie was the star quarterback of the college football team and Olivia was the homecoming queen her senior year. The couple married and had three sons: Cooper (born in 1974), Peyton (born in 1976), and Eli (born in 1981). Peyton and Eli are both well-known due to their NFL success as each of the two sons have won a Super Bowl and both have even been named Super Bowl MVPs (in consecutive years – Peyton in 2007 and Eli in 2008).
Cooper Manning is the often forgotten son but he is very comfortable with this fact and enjoys the anonymity that comes with being the non-celebrity brother. Cooper at 6’4″ is a similar size to the other men in his immediate family as his father Archie is 6’3″, brother Peyton is 6’5″, and brother Eli is 6’4″. In his youth Cooper was a standout football player in his own right who had aspirations of playing at the highest level. The All-State wide receiver was a highly touted college prospect who intended on playing for Ole Miss in the Southeast Conference (SEC) before the diagnosis of a spinal condition known as spinal stenosis put an end to his football career.
Cooper enjoys the success of his brothers without jealousy as any good sibling should. Cooper, who lives in his home town of New Orleans, has the occupation of being a partner in an energy investment firm known as Howard Weil. Following the February 2008 Super Bowl win by his youngest brother Eli on the heels of the 2007 Super Bowl win by Peyton, Cooper was asked by New York Magazine if it feels weird to be the only brother that has not won a Super Bowl. His light hearted response was, “well, there’s a lot of pressure on me next year. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do.”