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The saying goes like father, like son. Or is it like son, like brother? Or like brother, like father?
Peyton and Eli Manning's talents on the field have led to three trips to the Super Bowl the past four seasons. Two of those three Super Bowls ended with a Manning raising Lombardi above their head.
Let's face it, the past five years a Manning behind center has been to the NFL what the Waltons have been to retail: a solid return of investment.
Unfortunately, for the patriarch of the family his New Orleans Saints' supporting cast in the 1970s and into the 80s sunk him into the red when it came to wins and losses.
As hard as it is to believe, Archie Manning's best season was the worst in ‘Aint's franchise history. In 1980, Papa Manning threw for over 3700 yards, with 23 touchdowns (along with 20 interceptions), yet the Saints only managed a 1-15 record.
So here at Whatifsports.com, the gears starting grinding and we wondered what if "1980 Archie" could reap the benefits of this year's Saints and not the hacks he played with three decades ago.
Could Archie, as the triggerman of the 2009 Saints, beat Peyton's 2009 Colts in Super Bowl XLIV?
Using the site's "Dream Teams” tool, I loaded the 2009 New Orleans Saints roster dropping Drew Brees for Archie Manning.
(Note: John Carney is listed as the team's kicker. You may also drop him and pick up Garrett Hartley for a more accurate result.)
Archie's Saints vs Indianapolis Colts 2009
On a picture perfect, 70-degree evening in Miami, Florida, Archie Manning exploited the Colts defense and savored all the aerial assets he was lacking for the majority of his career. Thus, ending the drought and upstaging his son, on the league's largest stage: Super Bowl XLIV.
Following a Matt Stover field goal on the Colts opening drive of the first quarter, Archie marched his Saints down the field and chewed up seven minutes off the clock. The veteran quarterback lofted a pass into the hands of Lynell Hamilton, the Saints practice player turned offensive threat, who found the end zone to cap off the drive. New Orleans with the quick answer took a 7-3 lead.
Similar to the AFC title game, Peyton and the Colts struggled to find the zone and continued to settle for field goals in the first half. Stover's second three pointer cut the Saints' lead to 7-6. As he walked into the tunnel for halftime, Archie Manning was two quarters away from his first Super Bowl title.
The Saints received the ball to start the third quarter. Like his sons have executed so efficiently in the past, Archie mimicked their offensive output and drove his team down the field with ease. The team's confidence was oozing. So much so, during the drive, New Orleans elected to go for it on 4th down from the Colts' 24-yard line. The gamble paid off as Archie threw his second touchdown of the game, this time a 19-yard connection to Robert Meachem. The Saints created some breathing room and extended their lead to 14-6.
On the other hand, Peyton and the Colts were shut out in the 3rd quarter; however the offense was knocking on the goal line as time expired. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Peyton hooked up with a rare target, tight end Tom Santi. Joseph Addai, who only rushed for 56 yards in the game, followed with a two point conversion that tied the game at 14.
With 15 minutes to play, we have a brand new ball game.
Both teams followed with three and outs as the nerves began to mount. A sold-out crowd inside Sun Life Stadium waited to see who would blink first. Then, as if the ghosts of NFL past tip the scales in favor of New Orleans, the Saints erupted for three consecutive monster plays of 16, 14 and 16 yards bursting into Colts territory. Much like Eli finding David Tyree two years ago, it was Archie hooking up with unheralded David Thomas as it was the former Texas Longhorn who made the big catch in crunch time. Archie's four-yard touchdown pass to Thomas put New Orleans up seven with six minutes and change to go in Super Bowl XLIV.
Indianapolis needing a quick counter punch received the opposite as the rookie, Donald Brown, coughed up the football. The Saints recovered. The Colts would not. New Orleans' knock out blow would come on a 61-yard touchdown run by Reggie Bush to seal the deal.
Thirty years after his best season in the NFL, Archie Manning finally received what both his sons already possess, a Super Bowl ring and to top it off Super Bowl MVP honors (19-22, 171, 3TDs).
Archie vs Petyon
|@ 2009 Indianpolis Colts||47.5||25.9|
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