There’s no question that Eli and Peyton Manning are football royalty. But sometimes, even the greatest athletes can be outdone by the up-and-comers, which is exactly what Matt Stafford did to the Manning brothers back in 2008.
Each year, the Manning family puts on a camp for youngsters called “The Manning Passing Academy” and brings along some of the top collegiate players as coaches. In the summer of 2008, Matthew Stafford offered his services.
At the time, the current Rams QB was entering his final season with the Georgia Bulldogs, still yet to leave his stamp on professional football. In contrast, Eli Manning and was fresh off beating the 18-0 Patriots in the Super Bowl, which still remains one of the most impressive feats in NFL history.
His brother Peyton wasn’t doing so bad himself, having already become a Super Bowl champion and MVP, as well as having won the second of his eventual NFL record five league MVP titles.
And yet, Stafford managed to blow both of them away. When the long-time Lions signal caller appeared as a guest on the Manningcast in September last year, the Manning brothers reminisced about the time they shared together in 2008.
Peyton Manning was afraid of being overshadowed by a young Matthew Stafford
The Mannings showered Stafford in praise, recalling how they argued about who had to throw after the youngster because he had such an impressive spiral and a freakishly strong arm.
“Eli and I were arguing over who had to throw after you because you were throwing the tightest spiral,” Peyton explained. “I remember you were throwing a post route, and you waited till the receiver got to like 60 yards before you threw it. For me, I’d have to hit the cut-off man to make a throw going 60 yards.”
“Eli was younger, so I said, ‘Eli, you go after Stafford because your throw is going to be very disappointing after his tight spiral.'”
Of course, Eli and Peyton Manning being the fierce competitors that they are would have never really been “afraid” of a college player, but the fact that they remember this story just goes to show how impressed they really were.
Peyton Manning said he argued with Eli when Matthew Stafford attended their QB camp in 2008.
— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) September 28, 2021
Fast-forward to 2022 and it’s heartwarming to see that the brothers will be on the broadcast for Stafford’s first playoff game with the Rams, hopefully sharing more hilarious stories from their past.
Amazingly, Stafford’s favorite target Cooper Kupp also fits into this brilliant web of Manning Passing Academy participants. In 2014 and 2015, the WR attended the camp and, according to Rams GM Lesley Snead, was so impressive that Peyton Manning specifically requested to throw to him.
To add the cherry on top of the whole story, Kupp’s grandfather was actually a teammate of Eli and Peyton’s father, Archie Manning, way back in the day. Needless to say, this week’s Manningcast should be a good one.