When outsiders think of Ole Miss football, they think of the Manning family.
Whether it’s the days of Archie using his legs and feet to put the Rebels in the national spotlight, or Eli taking a mediocre program to heights not seen since his father was under center, the Mannings have made quite an impact on Ole Miss football.
Forty-six years after Archie Manning was the MVP of the 1970 Sugar Bowl for leading Ole Miss to a 27-22 win over Arkansas, the former Rebels quarterback will welcome his alma mater to his hometown for the bowl game once again.
“The Manning family is really excited as is the entire Sugar Bowl organization and the New Orleans community,” Manning said. “We’re extremely happy and looking forward to a fun time.”
Manning said he noticed the Rebels had a path to the Sugar Bowl when he went to Oxford, Miss., to watch Ole Miss face LSU on Nov. 21. Fast-forward two weeks, and Manning got his wish.
The Ole Miss legend, who has served on the Sugar Bowl committee for several years, expects a huge contingent of Rebels fans to make the trip to New Orleans. He said he’s already been asked for tickets by several friends, and he’s doing whatever he can to accommodate everyone.
Manning, a former New Orleans Saints quarterback, has watched an SEC team come to the Sugar Bowl year after year, and finally, he gets to welcome his Rebels.
Of course, Manning played a small role in getting Ole Miss back to the prestigious bowl game. Manning and FedEx Executive Vice President Mike Glenn co-chaired the Ole Miss search committee in 2011 that ultimately hired Hugh Freeze as the Rebels football coach.
“I would say Ole Miss people, who have always been really good to me, might have forgotten and said I was a decent player but a better coach picker,” Manning said jokingly. “I think that’s the way a lot of people look at me now. … We get a few pats on the back, but all the credit goes to Coach Freeze and the coaching staff.”
Obviously, Manning is very excited to see Ole Miss thrive, and he’s hoping for more success in the years ahead.
For now, he’ll be among the Rebels in Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Jan. 1 letting out a “Hotty Toddy,” as he cheers on Ole Miss against Oklahoma State in the Sugar Bowl.