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Archie Manning on Peyton's Denver Broncos debut

Much was written and spoken in the offseason about how Peyton Manning would adjust to a new team. Fewer articles were devoted to Archie Manning's reaction to watching his son play his first regular-season game as something other than the quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts.

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But the proud father of two Super Bowl MVPs recently told Don Banks of Sports Illustrated what it was like attending his son's regular-season debut as the Denver Broncos' signal caller in Week 1's "Sunday Night Football" opener.

"Yeah, it was a little bit strange," Manning admitted. "It was different to get there and not see that horseshoe (the Colts' logo). You kind of roll on for 14 years, and now you're in another uniform in another city. I'm sure it was different for him. He's the one that has to make the big transition. We just fly off in a different direction. But it was so much fun. Broncos nation is excited. Their stadium is beautiful. And I saw a sign there that said young Colts become Broncos, or something like that. It was pretty cute."

He described it as "a wonderful setting" and "a very memorable night." The former New Orleans Saints quarterback had to like the result, a 31-19 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he must have admired Peyton's stat line: 19-of-26 passing, 253 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions.

The elder Manning inevitably was asked about his son's arm strength. He didn't sound worried.

"We've all been saying it for 50 years, but you can tell about a quarterback on a deep sideline throw," he said. "And he made one late in the game to No. 12. I believe that's (Matt) Willis. See, I don't even know all the players yet. But that was a good measurement (of arm strength).

"And then he had to make a throw out to (tight end Jacob) Tamme, and he was under some pressure and had to throw it out there without any step into it. It wasn't a bullet by any means, but I think if you're really limited you can't even get that ball out there. Because it was all arm."

It's shaping up to be a busy football season for Archie Manning, who serves on the board of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame and leads an effort to recognize lower-division coaches with the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award, in its seventh year.

When he isn't wearing a Broncos or Giants hat, Manning fervently follows his hometown New Orleans Saints, and he was watching when the Washington Redskinsupset the Saints in Week 1 behind a sterling performance by rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Don't count Manning among those who blame the loss on the absence of suspended Saints coach Sean Payton.

"I kind of give credit to the Redskins for Sunday. That team's going to give a lot of people trouble," he said. "But the Saints are going to be fine."

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