In keeping with the Super Bowl XLVI theme currently dominating the host city (here), I thought I’d share one of the funniest things to ever happen to me: Archie Manning, My Nutrionist.
The night was late December 2003. The Saints were hosting the New York Giants. I was in my second season working with the New Orleans Saints Radio Network as a Correspondent. I had been given a press pass for this game.
Eli Manning was in his senior year at Ole Miss. Speculation was abound about where the youngest Manning was going to go play professionally.
One of the perks of press box access is free food. The Saints, true to New Orleans and its reputation as a great city for food, serve up a large spread both before the game and at half-time (specifically, the half-time snack was giant cookies and hot dogs).
At this point in time, I had lost a lot of weight (water weight and not having time to eat). I’d gotten down to a size 0/2 and was around 100 lbs (I was 25 at the time).
As I was headed for the commissary, our sports director told me there was another option: Turducken, the wonderful delicacy, available in the Radio Network broadcast booth.
Off I went in search of several types of birds mixed with spicy rice.
While in the broadcast booth filling my plate, I turned around and came face-to-face with Archie Manning. At the time, he was lauded as one of the greatest quarterbacks in Saints history (this was prior to Drew Brees coming aboard).
Archie shook my hand and introduced himself. I did the same. Archie told me he and Olivia “loved my voice.” (this started the surreal portion of the program)
Then, he sized me up and said, “Devon, you’re not from around here are you?” I shook my head and explained that I was from close to where “his son Peyton plays” (I figured Indiana is its own geographic location when you’re 1000 miles from it).
Archie then said, “Devon, you don’t eat much do you?” I said no and explained that I didn’t have much of a lunch break and it was often too hot to eat much of the time (not to mention dropping three-four lbs in water weight every time I walked outside between April and November).
He then said, “Devon, I think you’re too skinny. I think you need to eat more. You make sure you get some seconds on that turducken. It’s good for you!”
Stunned doesn’t really cut it. When a former NFL quarterback who has two sons both headed for the Hall of Fame tells you you’re too skinny, there’s not really too much to say.
To this day, every time I see the elder Manning, I refer to him as my dietician or my nutrionist.
Happy Super Bowl XLVI kids!