Peyton Manning’s French Connection



Peyton Manning’s French Connection


You know Covid’s affecting your life when you’ve caught up on nearly every sports program there is on ESPN, Netflix, normal telly – does anyone still watch that? And every other platform known to man and they thought putting a bloke on the moon was an achievement, try navigating with 3-4 remotes and boxes on top, beside and around the shimmering screen. ( I must remember to dust it – it looks a bit fuzzy or maybe that’s from the few frothies and vino’s)


So Peyton Manning – one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, from NFL royalty with father Archie and brother Eli both  quarterbacks in the NFL and about 47 years of NFL  history between them. Peyton has his sporting show aptly named Peyton’s Places. No not the TV series of sparkling American heart throbs leading the perfect suburban life – but of all things NFL and I find myself watching the Immaculate Reception. I muse over this as when my kids were born we lived across in that leafy suburb where most mornings men in cravats, a loose slung scarf draped across the shoulder with Henry Buck’s emblazoned for all to see, sit with a soy half strength café latte outside the Parisian styled café with their rattan chairs and small circular glass topped  tables  all facing the street so one cannot be missed – reading the stock market report from the day before. ( I never did fit in) and on Sunday mornings the smell of leaves burning off in the gutters can be smelt across the district. For non-Melburnians – that’s Hawthorn, land of the Mayblooms, the family club Kennettown.


In any case the kids are at St Joeys in the Parish of the Immaculate Conception – I know that to be true as we’ve moved about three times since the kids were born and the same postie shows up on our doorstep all the way across now in North Fitzroy – amazing the career this bloke’s had, 24 years across 3 municipalities – the missus and kids know him on a first name basis and he’s a lucky fella, tall like my son. I was a runt of a left right out half back flanker – close to the ground, legs like Charlie Sutton and hands like a ventriloquists doll and had always craved those extra few inches, wouldda made all the difference.


In any case I digress, Peyton is talking to the guys who played in the divisional play-off between the  Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders in 1972  when a sequence of events sees the making of a legend in Franco Harris,  after what we would call a spoil sees the ball ricochet some 10 yards and is caught by Franco, Steelers’  fullback, who runs in the winning touchdown. To this day the good folks in the States, particularly those who favour the Steelers or the ill-fated Raiders believe just like Maradonna’s ‘Hand of God’ that not all was according to Hoyle.


No video review but the Raider coach, John Madden  can be seen on the sidelines – shoulders  the width of dual adobe excrement domains – quizzically looking then confronting the referees who had spent the better part of ten minutes in sideline discussion before awarding the touchdown.



Some think the Steelers fans would’ve murdered the refs and the Raiders had it been disallowed and the Raiders claim the Steelers actually touched the ball – you’ll need to read up your rules and just like the AFL they’re not simple and are interpreted in a variety of ways. (another aside, just as I like my Cohibas  as much as WC Fields here’s another coinkidink – Madden is John Earl Madden – I’m Steven John Earl).



So back and forth the banter rages, some attempts to mimic and recreate the play just to see if it can be done, and not even the greatness of Manning produces a sound enough pass to let the ricochet and reception be replicated – so on to other game day vision including the masses running on the field resulting in a scrimmage as the crowd wrestle for the game ball and this bloke named Jim Baker snafus the ball away and still holds it to this day.



No he’s not the evangelist Jim Bakker – who I note had some sort of stroke the other day – not a stroke of good luck, more the debilitating type though it may be like a headache or back problem – undiagnosable as he was also recently stopped from selling his vial of silver Coronavirus medicinal snake oil by the Missouri courts and he’s now on a sabbatical (maybe in Kennettown?).


So Jim Baker – holder of the  game ball from one of the top 100 plays of the NFL is showing it to Peyton and casually asks – “what hand did you throw with ?” ( obviously Jim’s not a fan of either the Indianapolis Colts or Denver Broncos) and Peyton responds just as casually that he was amphibian.


A great skill for running the ball and being able to leap over defenders but hard to see how being an amphibian helps you throw – and that was his game.



So Manning, Norse for  a brave or valiant man, and Saxon for ancient and noble – both fit the Manning NFL clan  but I couldn’t find any connection to the French other than of course that the closest of Francophile slurs is a frog.







Kind Regards,


Steve Earl



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A Fitzroy resident keen on local content sports and the offbeat. Community first, after the good family of course.


  1. Colin Ritchie says

    Fab story Steve! Ripper response!

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