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|edHelper's suggested reading level:||grades 5 to 7|
|Flesch-Kincaid grade level:||5.37|
By Jane Runyon
1 March 24, 1976, was a red letter day in the Manning household. Olivia Manning was already the mother of one son, Cooper. On this day, she gave birth to her second son, Peyton Williams Manning. The proud father was Archie Manning, star quarterback of the New Orleans Saints. A third son, Eli, would come along a few years later.
2 The Manning boys grew up in the 1853 Garden District home in New Orleans that their parents still own today. Peyton grew up in the spotlight. His father was a football legend. His neighbors were authors and musicians. Peyton knew from a very early age that he wanted to grow up to be just like his dad. He loved sports.
3 Peyton says today that some of his success has to do with his father not pushing him into sports. Archie was more than willing to help his boys. He would throw baseballs with them. He would shoot baskets. He would give them advice on how to throw a football. But he would not do these things unless the boys asked him to. Peyton says that his father's interest without force has contributed to his continued love of sports.
4 As you grow older, you find that just because you love doing something, that doesn't mean that you can do it well. Peyton Manning had the skills needed to play football. When those skills combined with his love of the game, a successful player was born. Peyton practiced his skills. He studied the game. He became the most sought after high school football player in the United States.
5 Peyton chose the University of Tennessee for his college. Many were disappointed that he passed up his father's alma mater, Ole Miss, the University of Mississippi. Peyton chose Tennessee because it felt right for him. He finished his class work there in three years. He did this while setting SEC and NCAA records by the dozen. He decided to remain at the university for his senior year instead of going into the NFL draft. In his senior year he threw for 3,819 yards and 36 touchdowns. He placed second in the vote for the Heisman trophy. He won numerous honors for his academic and athletic ability.
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