A trailer recently dropped for ESPN film’s “SEC Storied: The Book of Manning”, a film about Archie Manning praying to satan to make his sons into NFL superstars. Being the esteemed reporter that I am, (as in I make things up and present them as fact just like a real sports reporter!) I managed to break into ESPN headquarters and obtain a copy of the current edited version. Things may change between now and the September release date, so I’m here to give you the good stuff you probably won’t see.
Intro Credits, A nice montage of home videos of Archie being a dad to the young Mannings. Peyton hits his head on doorframes, Eli eats paste. Some other guy who looks like Archie but Younger gets ignored.
I resent the idea that it was a plan. That I somehow was planning all along to make my boys into NFL stars. I resent that. Plans mean effort, years of meticulous control. All I did was pray to satan a bunch of times to give them super QB genes, then acted like a good father.
Cuts to B-roll of Archie and Olivia Manning in dark, Ol Miss robes, kneeling on a pentagram, as Archie stabs a football with a large knife
Eli Manning sits at his kitchen counter. He is surrounded by fancy books and there is no football memorabilia in sight.
ESPN Interviewer: Eli, you seem like an esteemed man, but one would expect to find more football related items in your house, no? Do you have a secret man cave? Where do you keep your stuff?
Eli: How many times do I have to say it, I’m not Eli. I’m Cooper. Cooper Manning?
ESPN: Is that how your wife makes you refer to yourself outside the game? I’ve met folks who keep their jobs and home life separate, but this is a new one for me. How did you come up with the name?
Eli: My dad gave me the name. Because it’s my name. I’m Cooper Manning. I’m the eldest brother. Eli is my brother. He doesn’t live here. I live and work here in Louisiana, he’s up in New Jersey. How are you getting this wro…
ESPN: You’re a crazy guy, Eli. But surely this is just brotherly love talking? We all know Peyton is older, there’s no need to say you are the eldest.
Eli: Get out of my house
Archie and Olivia Manning sit in their living room, grooming Peyton, who sits on the floor purring and eating a Papa John pizza.
Archie: I mean I knew Peyton was going to be a star, because I sold my first born’s soul for it, but if there was any doubt it was dispersed when he was born. A forehead like that can’t mean anything but football intelligence.
Olivia: I remember when he was born. The doctor was going to do a C-Section but when he put his hand on my belly Peyton called an audible with his hands against the other side.
Peyton: The Doctor was trying to blitz from the side, but that’s when I realized a hole was going to open up in the middle, so I changed the birthplay. I’d been watching film on the Placenta all week trying to get a feel for the process.
Olivia: Anyway, after he was born, his first action was to grab the Doctor’s stethoscope and hurl it at the nurse. She dropped it, and Peyton never looked her way again the entire time we stayed in the hospital.
Peyton: How can you drop a simple out route when you’re uncovered? Nurse had no business in the room.
Archie sits on his porch, drinking some whiskey.
Archie: Don’t let anyone know this, but the SEC is…it’s evil. The things I’ve seen, and I offered my soul to satan, and the SEC makes me look like a godly man…I’ve said too much.
Archie takes a swig of whiskey. He is about to take another when a commando wearing SEC gear jumps out of the bushes brandishing a blade, with SEC speed. Archie reacts instantly, clubbing the intruder with his shot glass, snapping the man’s wrist and slamming his head onto the floorboards. The man fights back, but Archie pulls a small obscured item from his sock and shoves it in the man’s mouth. The man stops struggling. Archie searches the man and gathers his loot.
Archie: 30 years and they’re still training these guys wrong. God help us when The Leader manages to fix that.
Peyton and Cooper “Not Eli” Manning sit in their basement, going through old toys. They periodically pick up something, laugh at each other, then put it down without explaining why. Peyton begins to talk.
Peyton: I wish Eli was here, half this stuff was his, he even took a lot of it to Ol Miss.
Cooper: Eli was always kind of…weird.
Film cuts to Eli Manning as a child, hitting his head repeatedly against a tree. He turns to the camera and opens his mouth. What seems like an impossible amount of a red substance falls out.
Eli: Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllssssaaaaaa. I MUST HAVE SAAAAAAALLLLSSSSAAAA
Cuts back to Cooper and Peyton
Peyton: Yeah, but man getting him to freak out never stopped being funny.
Eli sits quietly in a tire swing, eating paste. He is college age, wearing a onesie and a Ol Miss bib. Peyton comes up to him, Eli immediately flinches back like an abused puppy. Peyton pulls out a picture of Tom Brady. Eli goes berzerk, tearing the picture apart and burning it, whispering “Brady will be eaten, Brady’s soul must be mine destroy redrum redrum redrum”
Archie has joined Peyton and Cooper in the basement.
Archie: I still think something went wrong with Eli. Something wrong with the pact. His birth was a little unusual.
Cuts to a shot of the hospital on Eli’s birth. Olivia Manning is crawling on the ceiling shouting in strange tongues. The Doctor has turned red, and is floating. The Doctor’s head twists around and catches fire. A nurse falls past the window. The walls begin to bleed. Eli emerges from under Olivia’s birthgown, nawing on his own umbilical cord. He stares straight at the camera and screeches. The window blows out. The camera cuts out.
Olivia: His labor was weird, but it was the third time I had done it, so it wasn’t too rough, outside the whole demon thing.
Archie: We loved Eli anyway, even when he ate the neighbors dog, and the neighbor. Boys will be boys. Hey, he beat Tom Brady in the superbowl twice, I think everything sort of evened out.
The family all turns to look at Eli, who was in the basement the whole time, in the corner reading comic books.
Eli: Aw shucks.
I was unable to see any more of the film due to a bunch of ESPN guys finding my ventilation shaft hideout. It’s about 2 months before the film comes out, I’ll get back in soon enough and put out a full review.