By Jim Roddy, Vantiv
Archie Manning is best known for his football prowess and the success of his NFL quarterback sons Peyton and Eli. But he proved today during his keynote speech at VARTECH 2014, the annual conference hosted by value-added distributor BlueStar, he knows something about teamwork and leading an organization. Manning spoke to an estimated crowd of more than 1,000 channel executives Friday morning at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans.
Manning offered several insights and memorable quotes during his presentation. His first stories were about two of his New Orleans Saints coaches, Hank Stram and Bum Phillips. Manning learned to adjust to playing for several different personalities and how to handle defeat.
- “Hank was a very dynamic guy. He was always well prepared and always had great things to say. The Rams were in town, and they were the kingpins of our division. They were heavy favorites against us. Coach Stram comes in the locker room for this inspiring speech. He always had on a three-piece suit and his program rolled up. He gave a really good talk — a David and Goliath talk. It didn’t work, especially for me. We were soundly thrashed that day. I completed 20 passes, but only 15 of them were to the Saints. I still can’t believe I threw five interceptions! After I talked with the reporters who asked me about every interception, Coach Stram and I are the only two people left in the locker room. I thought he’s such an enthusiastic guy, he’d say something to pick me up. I said to him, ‘I’m sorry. I had a bad day and I was off.’ He said, ‘Off? If it wasn’t for the law of gravity, you couldn’t have hit the ground today!’ It didn’t exactly pick me up.”
- “Bum Phillips brought his entire staff to New Orleans from Houston. He was really fun to play for — really loose. He always had on his boots and cowboy outfit. His pregame speech to us one time went something like this: ‘When I was in Houston, we thought the Falcons weren’t very tough. We’re going to hit the Falcons right in the mouth today and show them they’re not tough!’ Bum told us everything we were going to do to beat the Falcons that day. I’m sure one of his assistants told him after his speech, ‘Bum, we’re playing the Buccaneers today.’ As captain of the team, I wasn’t sure what our mindset would be after that speech. When we gathered in the tunnel before going onto the field, Bum was there yelling at us, ‘Those Buccaneers don’t like it tough either!’”
Manning also answered questions from the audience:
- Who is the best quarterback in the Manning family? “That’s a tie between #18 (Peyton) and #10 (Eli).”
- What is your advice to young fathers? “Make sure you got a really good young mother there to help you. That’s the key right there. You (fathers) have to work, but give them as much time as you can. Prayer is really important as well. … I don’t feel comfortable being on a soapbox — we’ve been blessed with three sons who gave us a lot of joy.”
- Would you ever consider taking over Roger Goodell’s job (as NFL commissioner)? “No — no. It’s a tough job. Roger’s a good man. I know his integrity — he didn’t see that (Ray Rice domestic assault) tape. He didn’t get it right. But he’s a good commissioner.”
- Who were some of your best teammates? “Danny Abramowicz and Wes Chandler were great receivers. George Rogers won the Heisman trophy. And I played with (NFL Hall of Famer) Earl Campbell. You know this from being in business — the team has to come together. You have to have the right leadership and come together as a team. We never seemed to come together and have the right formula.”
VARTECH 2014 is being held Sept. 18-20 in New Orleans at the Hyatt Regency and the Superdome. VARTECH, the annual conference for value-added distributor BlueStar partners, focuses on data collection, point of sale, mobility, digital signage, RFID, and security. For more information on BlueStar and VARTECH, go to www.BSMinfo.com/solution/InsideBlueStar.