Vicksburg youngster dialed up Super Bowl QB|[02/01/08]

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 1, 2008

Young Talbot Buys wanted to talk to Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning.

Manning, a then-sophomore at Ole Miss, had been a fan favorite for the Vicksburg youngster. Talbot’s father, Mark, was at Ole Miss with Eli’s uncle Sid. Talbot wanted to talk about football and hunting and whatever else a 7-year-old boy could dream up for his quarterbacking hero.

Mark scoffed at the idea each time his oldest son asked for permission to call the Mannings.

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Talbot never gave up, finally getting the OK from dad to call Eli, if for no other reason than to get his son to stop asking.

It was New Year’s Eve and Manning had just completed his sophomore season at Ole Miss. The youngest son of Archie and Olivia had not yet reached the lofty heights he would in the future, yet he was still the talk of Mississippi.

Talbot called information, asked for Archie and Olivia Manning’s phone number, and then listened as the operator repeated the number.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Talbot said. “I didn’t think they gave out numbers for such famous people.”

Minutes later, Mark heard Talbot on the phone, walked into the bedroom and asked who he was talking to. “I’m talkin’ to Eli’s momma,” Talbot said.

Mark took the phone wondering who was on the other end. He introduced himself, taken aback that Olivia Manning was on the other end of the phone.

He spoke of her brother Sid and their days at Ole Miss, “so she wouldn’t think I was a crazy guy,” Mark says now.

Eli and some friends, Olivia told him, were hanging out together and he wasn’t at home, but she be sure to have him call Talbot back.

Fifteen minutes passed and the phone rang.

“The caller ID said Archie Manning,” Mark said. “I couldn’t believe it. I took a picture of the number, but it came out too blurry to read.”

Talbot said hello.

Eli Manning responded.

“We talked about a lot of stuff,” Talbot said. “We talked about football, and hunting. We probably talked for about 15 or 20 minutes. We put the phone up to my sister’s (Anne Elizabeth) ear, but she was too nervous to say anything.”

It’s a conversation Talbot says he has spoken to Eli about several times, usually after his games when he played at Ole Miss.

“He said he remembered it every time I asked him,” Talbot said.

Now Eli is the toast of both Mississippi and New York. He’s the quarterback that will lead the underdog New York Giants against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII on Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:18 p.m. and Talbot will be perched in front of the television with his family — his dad, mom, Judy, his sister and two brothers, Booth, 9, and Reed 7. Eli the family cat will be watching as well.

And whether Manning leads the upset bid against the unbeaten Patriots or not, Talbot will continue to recall the story of the day he called Eli Manning.

“I tell that story a lot,” Talbot said. “A lot of my friends don’t think it ever happened, but it did.”