April 11, 2014

MVP Profile: Archie Manning, 1978

Quarterback, New Orleans Saints

Age:  29
7th season in pro football & with Saints
College: Mississippi
Height: 6’3”   Weight: 200

Following an outstanding college career that culminated in his finishing second in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1970, Manning was taken by the Saints in the first round (second overall) of the ’71 NFL draft. With a strong arm and excellent mobility, he was moved directly into the starting lineup and led the Saints to an upset win over the Rams in his first game, but the team was mediocre and he suffered through far more defeats than victories. He was sacked a league-leading 40 times and missed two games due to assorted injuries. Manning led the NFL in pass attempts (448) and completions (230) in 1972, but again in being sacked (43). Over the next few years, there were more low than high points and injuries were factors again in ensuing seasons. Manning missed all of 1976 due to a shoulder injury that required surgery and put his career in jeopardy. He came back in ’77 to tie for fourth in the NFC in passing, although an ankle injury again cut his season short.

1978 Season Summary
Appeared and started in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Attempts – 471 [3]
Most attempts, game – 53 at Green Bay 9/10
Completions – 291 [2]
Most completions, game – 33 at Green Bay 9/10
Yards – 3416 [2]
Most yards, game – 344 at Pittsburgh 11/5
Completion percentage – 61.8 [2, 1st in NFC]
Yards per attempt – 7.3 [8, tied with Ken Stabler & Brian Sipe]
TD passes – 17 [7]
Most TD passes, game – 3 vs. LA Rams 10/1
Interceptions – 16 [18, tied with four others]
Most interceptions, game – 3 vs. Philadelphia 9/17, at Dallas 11/19
Passer rating – 81.7 [5]
300-yard passing games – 2
200-yard passing games – 10

Attempts – 38
Most attempts, game - 5 (for 48 yds.) vs. LA Rams 10/1
Yards – 202
Most yards, game – 48 yards (on 5 carries) vs. LA Rams 10/1
Yards per attempt – 5.3
TDs – 1

Awards & Honors:
NFC Player of the Year: UPI, Sporting News
1st team All-NFC: UPI, Sporting News
Pro Bowl

Saints went 7-9 to finish third in the NFC West, the franchise’s best record at the time.

Manning followed up with another Pro Bowl year in 1979, completing 60 percent of his passes for 3169 yards and 15 touchdowns, although also 20 interceptions, as the Saints reached .500 for the first time in franchise history at 8-8. However, greater expectations for 1980 were dashed as the club dropped to a dismal 1-15, although Manning achieved career highs with 3716 passing yards, 23 TDs, and an 81.8 passer rating. His performance dropped off significantly in an injury-filled ’81 season and, losing his starting job to Ken Stabler, he was dealt to the Houston Oilers early in the 1982 season. He was traded again during the following year, to Minnesota, where he finished his career as a backup in 1984. Overall, Manning threw for 23,911 yards (21,734 with the Saints) with 125 touchdowns (all but ten with New Orleans) and 173 interceptions. He also rushed for 2197 yards and 18 TDs, averaging 5.7 yards per carry. While Manning played for losing teams and never fully met expectations as a pro, his sons Peyton and Eli went on to become noteworthy pro quarterbacks.


MVP Profiles feature players who were named MVP or Player of the Year in the NFL, AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press, Pro Football Writers Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, Maxwell Club – Bert Bell Award, or the league itself). Also includes Associated Press NFL Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year.