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Seeing Peyton benched, Eli lose makes Archie 'hate football'

Seeing Peyton benched, Eli lose makes Archie 'hate football' Archie Manning exhales as he watches his sons, Peyton and Eli, on Sunday.

Sunday was a tough day for Eli and Peyton Manning. It wasn’t much better for their dad, Archie, either.

In the city for a DirecTV promotion, the elder Manning watched football with three other NFL dads. He was the only one, however, to see two brutal losses.

“I hate football,” Archie said on a Sunday when Peyton was benched in a loss to the Chiefs and Eli had a late touchdown overruled in a brutal loss to New England.

Twice Archie had celebrated what appeared to be yet another stirring comeback by Eli against the undefeated Patriots, only to stare dumbfounded at the words “incomplete pass.”

“Unbelievable,” Archie kept saying. “Unbelievable.”

What happened to Peyton may have been more shocking.

Peyton finally broke Brett Favre’s NFL record for career passing yards early in Denver’s game, but but that would be just about all there was to smile about in that game. He was benched in the third quarter after his fourth interception, still stuck one victory short of breaking the record of Favre’s he values most.

Archie was philosophical about Peyton’s day, knowing his son was so banged up, maybe he shouldn’t have played. With the Broncos trailing 19-0 at halftime, Archie chatted with Doug Smith, the father of Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith.

Meanwhile, the Patriots-Giants matchup was starting to look more and more like their two Super Bowls — and Archie was starting to pace.

In Sunday’s rematch, when a Giants defender missed a tackle on Rob Gronkowski’s 76-yard touchdown catch to give the Patriots the lead early in the fourth quarter, Archie murmured, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

But when New York intercepted Tom Brady at the goal line, Eli had another chance at a winning drive. He may be a former NFL quarterback himself, but Archie figures he’s not much different these days than the other dads he watched the games with Sunday: Smith, Larry Foles (father of the Rams’ Nick Foles), and Mike Ryan (father of the Falcons’ Matt Ryan). Now that he no longer works as an announcer, he’s considers himself not very well-versed in the X’s and O’s of the current NFL.

Joe Mahoney/AP

Peyton Manning gets benched by the Broncos after throwing four interceptions Sunday.

He exhaled loudly as the Giants converted one third down, then another, then another. When Odell Beckham Jr. appeared to make a catch in the end zone, Archie was already pointing out New York should go for two to potentially take a seven-point lead with just over two minutes left and the Patriots down to one timeout.

But then the NFL’s much-disparaged rule on what constitutes a catch swung another game.

“That’s a football move,” Archie insisted as the play was reviewed.

But the pass was ruled incomplete, and the Giants settled for a field goal and a two-point lead. On New England’s next snap, safety Landon Collins appeared to make a victory-clinching interception.

“We beat the Patriots,” Archie marveled for the brief moment before it became clear from the players’ reaction that Collins didn’t hold on.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiCorey Sipkin/New York Daily News

Just when it looked like Eli Manning had engineered a touchdown drive, officials rule that Odell Beckham Jr.’s touchdown in the fourth quarter isn’t a catch, and Big Blue settles for a field goal.

When Stephen Gostkowski later lined up for a 54-yard field goal, Archie knew he wasn’t going to miss.

He and his sons have seen plenty of games like this.

“I feel for them when it doesn’t go good, but they handle it and I handle it,” Archie had said a few hours earlier, “and, hey, it’s a football game.”

 

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