As the Manning Passing Academy celebrates its 25th anniversary this weekend, we take a glance at what the premier camp means to New Orleans Saints legend Archie Manning's legacy.
The Manning Passing Academy has been helping players fully realize their potential on and off of the football field since 1996. Whether you're a quarterback, running back, wide receiver, or tight end, the camp helps grasp the fundamentals of the position along with basic offensive and defensive strategies.
Archie Manning and his three famous sons - Peyton, Eli and Cooper - are stationed at Nicholls State University for the weekend-long event.
"Our mission is to enhance the high school football experience and I hope we've done that," Archie said in regard to what the camp means to his legacy. "I think we've had 26,000 campers through the years, so maybe a few of them have gotten something out of it. Not only gotten a little bit better at the game of football but learned a little something about the game of life, too.
"It's sure been fun. Our family, not only our immediate family, but also our Manning Passing Academy family. A lot of coaches who have been coming year after year. These quarterbacks that come and want to come back. It's really gratifying."
"It's been a great give-back to him for football," said Peyton Manning, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next month. "Obviously, he's been a part of the game of football for such a long time, and what a great service to give back to the high school game, to the college game, to the pro game. Half of these starting NFL quarterbacks have been to this camp. We've been here the whole time just trying to teach guys how to play quarterback, receiver, tight end, running back. We feel like we've done that and had a lot of fun at the same time."
The camp took a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
"We're so indebted to people throughout the state of Louisiana," Archie said. "Our governor, the health people that allowed us early on to plan this camp."
"I know it's important to him," said two-time Super Bowl champion Eli Manning about the Academy. "He's been doing it for 25 years. He works really hard on it just getting these college guys, getting these coaches to come here. I know it's made watching college football a lot more fun for him because he's got 48 guys he can watch, he knows, and he can root for every week. He enjoys it. He enjoys the opportunity to get his three sons back together for a long weekend under one roof. It's very special to him."
Archie, the former No. 2 overall draft selection by the Saints in 1971, touched on the Saints quarterback situation heading into the 2021 campaign:
"I think they'll do fine. My guess is Jameis (Winston) has the upper hand right now. It's great that he had a year in that quarterback room with all the good people there. I'm a big Taysom Hill fan. I think they want Jameis to play good and Taysom to continue to be used. I think Sean (Payton) does an unbelievably great job of using Taysom. So I think they're both going to be critical to the success of the Saints this year."