To many, Cooper Manning is the "lost" Manning brother. He"s the one without Super bowl rings, agree Bowl appearances and national tv commercials. 

The publication of Manning, one ESPN film produced by the same human being who carried you the 30 because that 30 series, goes out of its way to dispel that id for good. Cooper Manning, and the pivotal role he played in Eli and also Peyton"s life, is one of the overarching themes in film, which premiered Tuesday night on ESPN.

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The older brother of Eli and also Peyton, Cooper was once a soccer star himself. Though the 6"4" huge brother didn"t have actually the eight of his 2 younger siblings, he came to be an All-State large receiver and also was headed to Ole Miss—with countless thinking he to be on an NFL journey.

Cooper Manning never caught a collegiate pass.

Before his student in the first year season, Cooper began suffering from numbness in his hands and also fingers, and also had some "atrophy" in his best bicep. Archie and also Cooper then flew to the mei Clinic, whereby he underwent extensive testing. The results would form the Manning family trajectory—not just then, yet serve as a fundamental event in each brother"s life, an especially Peyton"s.

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Cooper was diagnosed through spinal stenosis, i m sorry is a narrowing the the spinal canal. According to the mayo Clinic, the injury areas pressure top top a person"s spinal cord and also the nerves that manage movement transparent the spine. It"s usually led to by what many ailments are—simple aging. The median period for the problem is 64.

Cooper to be 18 at the moment of his diagnosis. 

His career to be over before it even began. Because of the spinal stenosis, the dorn hit could have left Cooper paralyzed or also worse. He and also Archie subsequently flew earlier to Ole Miss, wherein Cooper met through teammates, who offered their undying support. 

It was at that point in the film, relenten the reaction of teammates, wherein over 2 decades" precious of emotion beginning bubbling out. He speak of just how the support made Archie, his previous NFL-playing quarterback of a father, "proud." And, in one of director Rory Karpf"s finest moments in the film, Cooper opens up up around what the still misses around the game. 

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"I think what I miss out on most about football is...the guys," Cooper said. "Not winning, or losing or recording touchdowns. It was like, the locker room and the bus rides home."

Hearing Cooper malfunction about the injury is particularly affecting, mainly due to the fact that he"s been so unabashedly donate of his brothers and seemingly happy with his lot of in life.

A component owner that an energy investment firm with holdings in oil and gas companies, Cooper has actually a net worth of $15 million, follow to Celebrity Networth, for his off-the-field exploits. That has, in countless ways, the All-American life that so numerous dream of—wife, 3 kids, wealth past our wildest dreams.

Credit in that moment goes to Karpf, who did an excellent job of poignant on the Manning family members dynamic with the 90-minute documentary. ESPN"s 30 because that 30 Twitter feeding was extending the film as it aired live, and also they revealed that Archie and Olivia Manning both openly wept top top seeing your son gain so emotional:

“Historically ns haven’t really talked about that a lot,” Cooper called USA Today, according to chris Strauss, of breaking under in the film. “Rory recorded me top top a weak day. We had actually talked because that a lengthy time throughout that interview session and also he gained to me a small bit. I’ve constantly tried to downplay the entirety surgery and injury and just wanted to get ago to normal. This to be the one time i guess you obtained the full scoop.”

Of course, Cooper"s diagnosis didn"t just influence him. Peyton, who common multiple scenes v his older brothers via old house movies in Book that Manning, was specifically heartbroken. The Denver Broncos quarterback was Cooper"s signal-caller in high school, tossing the touchdowns as, undoubtedly, Mississippi"s best brother-to-brother tandem.

When the diagnosis come down, Cooper gave Peyton a letter, which stated he wanted to live the football career he couldn"t have actually through his younger brother. Via Sports Illustrated:

I would prefer to live my dream of playing football v you. Although ns cannot pat anymore, I understand I have the right to still acquire the exact same feeling out of watching my small brother carry out what he does best. I know now that we are good for each other, because I need you to be serious and also look at points from a different perspective.

I am good for you, together well, to take points light. I love you, Peyt, and also only good things place ahead because that you. Many thanks for every little thing on and off the field.

Suffice it to say, Cooper choose a pretty great surrogate NFL career. Peyton, unquestionably a future room of Famer, experienced this film air just one work after he damaged the record for many touchdown passes through three weeks with 12. 

But more than top top the field, Cooper Manning has provided Peyton with inspiration. Simply two years ago, Peyton"s very own career remained in jeopardy after multiple neck surgeries expense him the 2011 season and also his beginning job v the Indianapolis Colts. Throughout that time, Cooper sometimes functioned as a consigliere for Peyton and also the media, providing supportive words about his brother"s comeback. 

Cooper could never make a comeback, but Peyton did. He almost won one MVP award critical season in his very first with Denver and also is the unquestioned favorite to success it v the first three mainly this year.

Two main ago, Peyton"s aerial assault on the NFL rampaged through Eli"s brand-new York Giants. Back Eli threw for 362 yards, it to be Peyton"s Broncos who dropped 41 point out en route to a blowout win.

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Cooper wasn"t in the audience. The attended the an initial Manning Bowl and also decided that was enough. However the heart of Cooper Manning—and the two brothers who always play in his honor—was there. It constantly is. Due to the fact that if you discover anything from The publication of Manning, it"s the no matter how dire things get, household will constantly be there to make it simply a tiny bit better.