The eldest Manning child has a mythical background marred by injury and four fewer Super Bowl rings than his two brothers. He’s also the best Manning at being on camera.
While Peyton and Eli have seen their fair share of commercials, awards shows, and SNL appearances, Cooper Manning is the only Manning with a regular TV gig. His segment on FOX Sports NFL Sundays titled “The Manning Hour (Minus 58 Minutes)” is both relevant and entertaining.
Manning conducts interviews with NFL stars in odd settings and has a healthy sense of humor about himself. Manning has interviewed football stars from the Panthers to Pittsburgh, and his work on FOX has secured him minor fame.
Now, Cooper’s entertainment chops have gained him a gig as a podcast host.
“Soup with Coop” premiered its first episode in April 2021 on Colin Cowherd’s podcast network: “The Volume.” So far, Cooper’s quirky concept has struck a chord with lovers of both comedy and football alike. Of course, quirkiness comes with the Manning territory.
If you don’t know about the Mannings, here’s a quick crash course in Manning Family 101.
The Manning Football Dynasty
Before we get to the Manning Bros, we need to start with their parents.
Archie Manning married Olivia Manning 50 years ago. He played quarterback for the New Orleans Saints in the 1970s after playing college ball for Ole Miss. His NFL career was mediocre, but he gave the Mannings a kickoff in the world of professional football.
Archie and Olivia had three sons: Cooper, Peyton, and Eli. All three grew up to rule the high school football playoffs of Louisiana.
With Peyton Manning at QB and Cooper at wide receiver, Isidore Newman High School in New Orleans wrecked the competition. Both brothers accepted scholarships to SEC schools, just like younger brother Eli after them. Like his father Archie, Cooper chose Ole Miss. Coop’s little brother Peyton would later shock Rebel fans by choosing to become a Tennessee Volunteer instead. Had Peyton decided to attend Ole Miss, the Mannings would be even more dynastic.
Cooper succumbed to medical issues during summer practices post-high school. Cooper was diagnosed with spinal stenosis when he was 18 years old. The diagnosis ended his football career.
It was a radical change in Cooper’s life direction. Up till then, everything had been pointing toward gridiron glory. Where was Cooper Manning to go next? He stayed at Ole Miss, completing a degree in broadcast journalism.
Some say the first was the best of the Manning Brothers in terms of football talent. Unfortunately for Cooper, that’s something we can never verify. Here’s what we can ascertain: Peyton and Eli were pretty damn good.
Peyton and Eli were both No. 1 picks in their NFL Drafts. The two brothers beat every NFL franchise available, from the Atlanta Falcons to the Jets and the Jaguars. Peyton won two Super Bowls with two teams: the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos. Eli won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants, defeating the same team twice: the New England Patriots.
Peyton is already a Hall of Famer; Eli will likely also be enshrined. And they may not even be the last Mannings with copper busts.
When he’s not hosting his podcast, Cooper Manning fathers a talented son named Arch. He plays quarterback at Newman High School in New Orleans. He’s ranked as the top pro-style QB and already has significant college football buzz.
Arch Manning is a five-star recruit for the 2023 class considering offers from Alabama, Texas, and LSU. Without a doubt, Rebels everywhere will yell if Ole Miss lets Arch Manning slip through their greasy fingers.
The Manning Dynasty is the first family of American football, and I doubt they’ll let that slip away anytime soon. They’re also the first family of funny television commercials and cameos, which is what we’re going to talk about next.
Cooper Manning is the Funniest Manning
Cooper’s interview with Tampa Bay Buccaneers star Gerald McCoy is typical of his segment “The Manning Hour.”
Manning is silly, irreverent, and dressed in a ridiculous costume on a pirate ship. What’s not to love? Compare that to Peyton’s annoying Nationwide jingle commercial:
As far as quarterbacks for insurance go, it beats Aaron Rodgers and State Farm.
The three brothers even appeared in an ESPN commercial alongside their parents. Cooper has only a supporting role, but you can see his desire for the spotlight beginning to burst through:
I could keep going like this all day. What separates Cooper from the pack are his improv and musical skills, seen on display here in an interview with San Diego Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen:
Cooper’s podcast is even stranger than his FOX segments. He hasn’t shared soup with LeBron just yet, but Cooper isn’t limiting himself to NFL stars for interview subjects. There are no NBA or MLB guests booked so far, but he does interview Ric Flair and Bob Costas.
His conversations take place over Zoom, with each participant enjoying a bowl of soup of the guest’s choosing. Cooper made an exception for Jesse Palmer, who elected to serve chili.
Cooper’s comedy chops have earned him a shot at fame with NFL fans the world over. His comedy career is growing, and he will soon be the reigning Media MVP of the Manning Dynasty. It only seems right for the oldest brother who never got his full shot at football.
Peyton and Eli may have more Super Bowl rings, but Cooper Manning is poised to have the last laugh.