Manning Brothers Rave About Current Talent Of NFL QBs, Peyton Jokes Who Will Get Calls From Refs With Brady Retired

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THIBODAUX, La. – Suddenly, the NFL is without the greatest quarterback of all time as Tom Brady really did retire after the 2022 season following 23 seasons and seven Super Bowl titles.

Without Brady, the League is also without its best field lawyer, or whiner, as far as getting all the calls, or the benefit of the doubt, from officials.

Outkick covered the Manning Passing Academy at Nicholls State University Friday afternoon and Peyton what quarterback will replace Brady as “The Man,” and, you know, get all the calls.

“Ha, ha, that’s a tough question,” he said. “As far as who’s getting calls, probably depends on who’s nice to the refs in pre-game, right? Who’s talking to them? Who’s having a conversation?”

Former Indianapolis and Denver quarterback Peyton Manning speaks to reporters at the Manning Passing Academy Friday at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana. (Photo By OutKick’s Glenn Guilbeau)

In addition to Manning’s manic film study during his career from 1998 through 2011 with Indianapolis and 2012-15 with Denver, he researched referees to help supplement his success. It apparently worked. He played in three Super Bowls, won two and took away five Most Valuable Player awards.

Tom Brady Not Only QB Who Worked The Referees

“You’ve got to know the first name (of the refs). ‘Hey, Carl, how you doing? How’s your back feeling?’ You’ve got to do your homework,” he said.

Archie Manning, the former Saints’ quarterback from 1971-81 who started the academy 27 years ago, remembers Roger Staubach getting a few calls.

“But Roger was great,” he said. “That was more because he was with the Dallas Cowboys. They were always ahead of the game. And coach Tom Landry was such a great play caller. Brady may have gotten some calls, but the best ones tend to get that.”

Quarterback Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals (left) and Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs meet after the AFC Championship Game in Kansas City, Missouri, last season. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

With Brady gone, Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes is the obvious choice to be his heir apparent. Mahomes is the current NFL quarterback with the most Super Bowl rings with two – Super Bowl LVII this past season and LIV in the 2019 season with MVPs in each. Mahomes played in a third Super Bowl and also won the NFL MVP award in 2018 and ’22. And he is only 27 after his sixth season.

Peyton Manning Does Not See Patrick Mahomes Slowing Down

“The NFL is in really good shape at the quarterback position,” Peyton Manning said. “I think Patrick Mahomes, when you come off a Super Bowl and an MVP year, he’s the guy, right? He’s the guy people are chasing. Unfortunately for defenses, I don’t think Patrick’s slowing down. He wants to do be better this year than he was last year.”

Mahomes’ best years may be ahead of him.

“If somebody’s going to catch him, they’ve got to go catch him. He’s not going backwards, which is good, though. Everybody’s going to be competitive this year from Joe Burrow (Cincinnati) to Josh Allen (Buffalo) and Justin Herbert (Los Angeles Chargers). All these guys are trying to get where Patrick is right now. Just like guys were trying to get where Brady was.”

Manning was right with Brady for awhile in their careers, but Brady passed him.

“Look nobody is Tom,” he said. “What Tom did, sometimes when you speak it in words, it doesn’t really do it justice. Playing as long as he did, all those Super Bowls and championship games. I think he’s been a great model of consistency. A lot of young quarterbacks are trying to strive for that and be better each year.”

And he whined a lot.

Former NFL quarterback and Peyton’s baby brother Eli Manning beat Brady for two Super Bowl wins with the New York Giants and took both Super Bowl MVPs.

“I think there’s a great crew of quarterbacks in the NFL right now,” Eli said. “Pat Mahomes is obviously playing as good as anybody. Then you have Jalen Hurts (Philadelphia) and Josh Allen and Joe Burrow – those guys are playing some of the best football around.”

Funny, no one mentioned New York Jets’ new quarterback Aaron Rodgers as being Brady’s heir apparent.

The Next Tom Brady May Be At Manning Passing Academy

Eli Manning pointed to the future for that.

“There may be some right here,” he said.

Among the top college quarterbacks helping with the youth camp as counselors are North Carolina’s Drake Maye, Washington’s Michael Penix, Tennessee’s Joe Milton, LSU’s Jayden Daniels, Mississippi State’s Will Rogers, Ole Miss’ Jaxson Dart, Tulane’s Michael Pratt, Tennessee’s Joe Milton and Texas’ Quinn Ewers.

Texas’ current third team quarterback – freshman Arch Manning of Newman High in New Orleans – is also a camp counselor. Arch is the son of Archie’s oldest son Cooper Manning, who was a wide receiver with Peyton at Newman High in the early 1990s. Cooper signed at Ole Miss, but his career ended because of spinal stenosis.

The MPA invited USC quarterback Caleb Williams, but he declined to attend because of other commitments.

Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders planned to come, but he decided not to after his father, Colorado coach Deion Sanders, had a health scare this week.

Peyton Manning couldn’t wait to watch his alma mater’s projected new starting quarterback – Milton, a senior who transferred from Michigan after the 2020 season and backed up Hendon Hooker the last two seasons. Milton actually was the Tennessee starter to open the 2021 season against Bowling Green and Pittsburgh. He suffered an ankle injury against Pittsburgh, though, Hooker took over, and the rest was history. Hooker went to Detroit in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

All the counselor quarterbacks showcase their arms and other talents at the Friday Night Lights competition at Joe Guidry Stadium. Milton has a big one.

“I’m not sure there has been more excitement to watch a kid throw at this Friday Night Lights tonight than maybe Joe Milton,” Manning said.

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests.

A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention.

Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at, and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.

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