As Super Bowl LVIII approaches this Sunday, it is interesting to note the effect that the Manning Passing Academy has had on NFL and college football.
The game, which gets underway from Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, on CBS at 6:30 p.m. ET, will feature 5 players and a coach with ties to the academy, including both starting quarterbacks, a pair of backup QB's for the 49ers, and a wide receiver for the Chiefs.
The camp helps high school quarterbacks and receivers with their skills as well as their leadership qualities, work habits and overall knowledge of the game. It also utilizes many of the top starting quarterbacks from FBS and FCS colleges around the nation as counselors, providing them an opportunity to mentor the next generation. Allen, Darnold, Mahomes, Purdy and Williams have all attended as counselors, and Toney twice attended as a camper in 2015 and 2016. Launched in 1996 by NFF Chairman Archie Manning and his sons Cooper, Peyton and Eli, The Manning Passing Academy has the simple goal of making the game more enjoyable for high school players of all skill levels. We will skip the long list of accolades for Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning.
Mahomes and Purdy lead the list of players for the 2023-2024 Super Bowl.
Mahomes was the 10th overall player taken in the 2017 draft out of Texas Tech, getting one start that year when the Chiefs rested starter Alex Smith in the final game of the regular season. All he did was throw for 256 yards and earn AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors in a 38-28 win over the Chargers. Smith was traded in the offseason and Mahomes became the full-time starter in 2018.
Since then, he has racked up over 28,000 passing yards with 219 TD's and has a career passer rating of 103.5 while twice being named the Super Bowl MVP.
Purdy is well-known for taking a different route to his current status, having been drafted as Mr. Irrelevant as the final pick of the 2022 draft out of Iowa State. He began the 2022 season as the No. 3 QB behind starter Trey Lance and backup Jimmy Garropolo, but Lance was lost for the season with a knee injury in week 2, moving Purdy into the No. 2 spot behind Garropolo Then, Garropolo went down with a foot injury in week 13 and Purdy led the team to victory over Miami. He became the starter for the rest of the season. He would go on to begin his career as an NFL starter with a 5-0 record, including playoff wins over Seattle and Dallas before his own injury (elbow) forced him out in the first quarter against Philadelphia in the NFC Championship game.
After recovering from the elbow injury, Purdy was named the starter for 2023 and he hasn't looked back. This season, he is 12-4 as the starter while throwing for 4,280 yards with 31 TD's and a 111.4 passer rating that is higher than Mahomes' 100.7.
Purdy and the 49ers were listed as the favorites on FanDuel (-2.5), as of Tuesday afternoon.
As for the other players on that list, Brandon Allen has seen occasional action in the NFL, mostly with Cincinnati. He was just signed to the 49ers last May.
Sam Darnold, of course, was the No. 3 pick in the 2018 draft. He has had 56 career NFL starts and thrown for over 12,000 yards. But his stock fell after 3 seasons with the Jets and he didn't last long at Carolina. He became the backup to Purdy after the 49ers signed him last March to a 1-year deal, and later traded Lance to Dallas.
Kedarius Toney was the No. 20 pick by the NY Giants in the 1st round of the 2021 draft, and was traded to the Chiefs in October of 2022 where he has been much-aligned by ill-timed penalties, bobbles and drops. But so far, Andy Reid has stood by him and it will be interesting to see how many plays go his way in the Super Bowl.
Dan Williams was a D3 QB at Stevenson in Maryland from 2015-2018 before becoming a coaching intern for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019 when he worked with the team’s quarterbacks and tight ends, and has worked his way up to offensive assistant. He was a college counselor at the Manning Passing Academy in June, 2018. At Stevenson, Williams was a first-team All-conference selection in 2017 and 2018, and was the Offensive Player of the Year in 2017.
Last summer, an impressive list of college quarterbacks participated in the Manning camp which takes place in July on the campus of Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana.
Here are just a few of the well-known college QBs that participated in the 2023 Manning Passing Academy:
The above list is pretty much a who's who of star QB's.
"Archie has always had a great eye for talent, and it's exciting to see the guys who have participated in the Manning Passing Academy play in football's ultimate game," said National Football Foundation President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "Having touched the lives of thousands of attendees over the past 27 years, the Manning Passing Academy and its impact obviously go way beyond Sunday's game, but the Super Bowl provides an extra special moment to celebrate the camp's impact."