When Cooper Manning goes to sit at his next holiday get-together, he’ll be one of the only men at the table who isn’t a former or future NFL quarterback.
Cooper’s father, Archie Manning, was a Pro Bowl QB for the Saints. His two younger brothers, Peyton and Eli, have a combined four Super Bowl rings between them. And his son, Arch, is already one of the most hyped high school QB prospects since Vince Young.
Football is in the Manning family’s DNA, and were it not for a career-ending medical condition, Cooper might have gone on to do great things on the football field. But life has had other plans for Cooper Manning, and he’s contented himself in living his own life and sharing in his younger brothers’ on-field glory.
So what exactly happened that prevented Cooper Manning from becoming a football star? And what has he been doing since his football career ended so abruptly?
Where Did Cooper Manning Grow Up?
As his father plied his trade for the hapless New Orleans Saints of the ’70s and ’80s, Cooper Manning was raised in The Big Easy and attended high school at the Isidore Newman School. He quickly made a name for himself as a wide receiver and emerged as a top recruit.
Cooper Manning was 6-foot-4 and could run a 4.7 40-yard dash – not bad for a player his size.
But when his brother Peyton became the school’s quarterback, Cooper began lighting up the football field. His stellar play earned him an offer from his father’s alma mater, Ole Miss.
Unfortunately, a medical issue would cut his playing career short.
At the start of practices in the summer before his first year at Ole Miss, Cooper Manning felt numbness in his fingers and toes. Concerned, he got examined by doctors who revealed that he had a condition called spinal stenosis – a narrowing of the spine and pinching of the nerves.
The condition made playing a high-impact sport like football untenable, forcing Cooper to retire from football before playing a down in college.
Out of respect and admiration for his older brother, Peyton Manning decided to wear Cooper’s No. 18 jersey for the rest of his football playing career. The No. 18 in football has now become synonymous with the Manning name.
Cooper Manning’s Post-Football Career
With his football career done, Cooper Manning set off on his own path to success. And while the Manning name has likely given him an edge in some areas, there’s no denying that he’s found the success he’s sought.
Cooper has worked for a number of businesses, including as a partner at the Scotia Howard Weil energy investment boutique. He also worked as an executive for the AJ Capital Partners private real estate company.
But in recent years he’s found a niche in football once again, getting a number of roles in entertaining football spots on sports top programs across the country.
Being a member of the Manning family has opened the door for Cooper Manning to appear on sports shows every now and then. FOX NFL Sunday has given him a spot called “The Cooper Manning Hour (Minus 58 Minutes)” where he interviews NFL stars and fans in a comedic setting.
Cooper has appeared on The Dan Patrick Show, hosting a segment called “Manning on the Street.”
He also had a cameo with his two younger brothers on an episode of The Simpsons.
Wife and Kids
Cooper married Ellen Heidingsfelder in 1999. Together they’ve had three children: May, Arch and Heid.
Arch Manning is the most widely known of Cooper’s kids, for obvious reasons. The young QB has been tearing it up at his father’s high school alma mater, and is already considered the top QB prospect in the 2023 recruiting class by 247Sports.
Naturally, Arch Manning already has college offers from top programs across the country. Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Texas and – of course – his father and uncles’ alma maters Ole Miss and Tennessee.
Arch clearly has the arm his uncles and grandfather had, but he also appears to have the same athleticism his father did. Given that a lack of athleticism was the biggest flaw of the QBs in his family, Arch may already have all the tools he needs to excel at the next level.
Cooper Manning’s successes in business and entertainment have netted him a sizable fortune. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Cooper Manning is valued at $13 million.
That’s slightly more than his father though significantly less than his younger brothers. Celebrity Net Worth values Peyton Manning at a whopping $250 million, while Eli Manning is valued at $150 million.
Needless to say, Peyton or Eli should probably be the ones footing the bill when they go out to restaurants.
At 46 years of age, Cooper Manning has a long career in football media and business ahead of him. As Hall of Fame accolades pour onto his brothers and his son begins his college football career, we’re likely to see him in the public eye a lot more often in the years to come.
Get ready America: Peyton and Eli may be done playing, but the Manning family isn’t going away any time soon.