Texas quarterback Arch Manning speaks to the press during Texas Media Day ahead of the Sugar Bowl Syndication: Austin American-Statesman

Only a few months ago, Texas Longhorns quarterback Arch Manning was focused on what was happening on the football instead of what was happening off it. Those comments were made when the heir to the Manning quarterback tradition elected to opt into one of the most-anticipated sports video games in recent memory.

The return of EA Sports’ College Football game is largely thanks to the introduction of Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rights for student-athletes. EA capitalized on this, offering players $600 to appear in the game. However, in the wake of players accepting EA’s offer with high anticipation and excitement surrounding the game’s return, Manning reportedly saw his interests lie elsewhere.

But just a little over three months later, Manning has seemingly changed his tune. He took the prized quarterback prospect to X (formerly Twitter) and shared that he would actually be in the upcoming College Football 25 game. In doing so, he shared a 39-second clip in conjunction with his uncle, former New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning.

The clip shows the uncle and nephew tandem, with Eli yelling plays off a call sheet to Arch. The latter asks his uncle if he’s sure about this, to which Eli replies that it’s the best way to focus on football and that he’ll need to get his eyes on the safety and be vocal out there.

“Yes, coach. I mean, uh, Uncle E,” said Arch.

In a playful nod to those who came before him and his famous family members, Arch threw out a few “Green 18s” and “Omaha” calls, referencing Aaron Rodgers and his uncle Peyton Manning’s signature play calls. This lighthearted moment is a departure from his typical approach. During his freshman year, he rarely spoke to the media and avoided major NIL deals requiring this level of public engagement.

Initially, Manning’s focus seemed solely on the real football field. However, the combined appeal of helping market the much-anticipated College Football 25 video game and partnering with his uncle Eli in a promotional video proved too tempting to resist. The initial controversy surrounding his absence now seems somewhat comical, considering the lighthearted nature of his involvement.

“EA Sports, I’m in the game,” Arch says after his video game counterpart completes a touchdown pass.

Arch’s presence in the game might not be a game-changer, but it’s a cherry on top for Longhorns fans dreaming of a championship run. Die-hard fans building their dream teams in the game might not prioritize established Power Five programs like Texas with their rich history and NIL war chests. The challenge lies in taking a less-heralded school to the top.

Still, with Arch now in the game, maybe there’s a chance to hypothetically convince him to transfer to Temple – or any school, for that matter — in your virtual world. Just make sure to turn off your PlayStation 5 when you’re done.

[Arch Manning]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.