Monday, February 1, 2010

Daily Super Bowl Hype Meme: Tennis Parents and the Manning Family

The Manning family has emerged as a fertile source of cheap Super Bowl stories, with the media churning out favorable copy about the aw-shucksingest family of southern-fried athletes since the Davis Loves. In fairness, we should say at the top that this meme is less facially obnoxious than most, given that Payton Manning is playing in the game and father Archie Manning is most closely associated with New Orleans, (except, of course, when he is most closely associated with Mississippi).

Regardless, the flock of Manning stories have bothered us here at the GRBG in a way that took us a while to pinpoint. However, a weekend case of the sniffles, with its attendant cold medicine high, gave us a flash of insight into why the Mannings give us the willies: they make us think of women’s tennis.

Specifically, they make us think of the Williams sisters (and not just because of those weirdo Oreo commercials they made with the Mannings a while back). Like Payton and Eli, each of the Williams sisters were molded from a disquietingly young age to become champions. Like Payton and Eli, both have succeeded at winning championships. And, although we dislike comparing congenital narrowing of a spinal column with a senseless homicide, like Payton and Eli, the Williams’ sisters have a less famous sibling who has endured a significantly more difficult road in life.

All of which means that the Williams sisters and the Manning brothers share a lot of similarities. But what’s less obvious is that their fathers, Archie Manning and Richard Williams, are also similar. Why? Well, to be mean, because neither of them ever won anything on their own.

Take a look at ol’ Archie’s career NFL line:

35-101-3 W-L, 23,911 YDS, 125 TD, 173 INT.

Unimpressive, to say the least. We know we go to this well a lot, but compare those numbers to those of Steve Grogan, who was another scrambling QB on crappy teams, and happened to play almost exactly the same number of career games:

75-60 W-L, 26,996 YDS, 182 TD, 208 INT

Hmm. And it’s not like Archie won anything at Ole Miss, either—the Rebs went 15-7 during Manning’s upperclass years. The guy was the Shareef Abdur-Raheem of football, throwing up numbers on lousy teams.

And so there you have it. Archie Manning and Richard Williams won exactly the same number of professional playoff games, but also managed to crank go 2-for-3 in creating kids who would go on to greater success. So if you’re bored during the Super Bowl this year, just picture Serena playing QB for Indy, and imagine Payton in a tennis skirt. You’re welcome.

We recognize that we’ve injected a lot of our own stuff into this meme, so we’ll be kind and rate it as a 5 on the hype scale. Just don’t ask Archie any questions about how to play QB, because he hasn’t a clue.

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