Home News Inside Cooper Manning’s unique, soup-eating sports media rise

Inside Cooper Manning’s unique, soup-eating sports media rise

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Bob Costas wanted split pea soup on a cold rainy day, and Cooper Manning granted his wish.

In April, Costas was a guest on Manning’s “Soup with Coop” podcast — a short but sweet conversation series featuring the eldest of the three Manning brothers enjoying soup with different sports stars and other prominent figures in entertainment and beyond.

“I don’t eat split pea soup, but when Bob Costas wanted to eat it, it was great,” Cooper said about the Emmy Award-winning broadcaster in an interview with The Post.

Each of Cooper’s guests are hand-picked by the former all-state wide receiver — though, his interview subjects get to choose the soup they’ll share.

“That was the hardest part about this thing. Goodness, gracious, I’m interviewing Bob Costas tomorrow. How do I come up with split pea by tomorrow? That’s what I’ve been nervous about,” Cooper said.

“I can assure you that ‘Soup with Coop’ loves weird,” Cooper added, noting that he’s a big reason why.

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“I also like to do a little research on the soup itself and find little nuggets of information that are completely uninteresting to anyone else but me. But I have to include them just to be a little annoying.

“It’s really just light-hearted, fun and hopefully interesting, but I probably screw that up and make it less interesting and it’s probably my fault, but I’m trying my best… I love when the guests start making fun of me and giving me a hard time… all my notes you might as well just burn them because the episode just takes its own life.”

Cooper’s podcast guest list includes WWE legend Ric Flair and Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker, both of whom left him stunned after each episode.

“I was surprised to learn that Ric Flair had beers with Andre the Giant one night and Giant had consumed 105 beers in one sitting,” he said. “We interview Herschel Walker soon, and he eats bean soup every day, and is all muscle and stud-like and he’s a soup eater — that kind of blew me away.”

Cooper Manning
Cooper Manning
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Cooper, who hosts a number of shows including “The Manning Hour” on “FOX NFL Sunday,” wasn’t always destined for a soup-consuming future.

The 6-foot-4 Louisiana native was once a football stud, a talented receiver destined for an SEC football career, much like younger brothers Eli and Peyton would eventually enjoy.

Ahead of his freshman year at Ole Miss, Cooper was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, which causes a narrowing of the spinal canal. A wrong hit on the field could’ve left him paralyzed, among other things. Therefore, he never played at the collegiate level and never made a comeback to the field.

The ESPN film, “Book of Manning,” which chronicles Cooper’s story, shows Peyton particularly struggle with his older brother’s diagnosis. He was Cooper’s former signal-caller in high school.

Eli and Cooper Manning in 2016
Eli and Cooper Manning in 2016
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While playing football is a thing of the past, Cooper is now able to team up with his brothers in a different way that still involves competition and sports — two things the Manning’s have mastered.

Cooper and his younger siblings have all joined forces to host NBC’s reboot of the iconic “College Bowl,” premiering Tuesday night at 10 p.m. ET — something Cooper joked to The Post is a chance for him to allow Peyton, a two-time Super Bowl champion, to win at something.

Peyton will host the competition trivia show, while Cooper will serve as a sideline reporter. The duo’s youngest brother, Giants icon, Eli is an executive producer on the show. 

“Peyton is very competitive,” Cooper said, laughing. “He is always looking for an edge and wants to win and as an older brother, it’s my duty to let him have that edge and let him win.”

Cooper said that filming “College Bowl” brought him even closer to the Colts legend since their busy schedules tend to keep them apart.

Cooper Manning interviews LeGarrette Blount in 2017.
Cooper Manning interviews LeGarrette Blount in 2017.
Getty Images

“I get to see my brother hit and miss… [when we filmed], we were together for a week. We had dinner together every night for seven straight nights, just us two,” he recalled.

“I could go years without doing that with anybody… so we really had some great brother bonding time, laughed a lot and worked hard.”

Cooper knew he wanted to add “College Bowl” to his media resume because of his “fondness” for quiz bowl shows, though he promised this version will be much different than the original.

“This is our opportunity to bring back a show that was really famous in the ‘60s and early ‘70s that was probably a little more academic than what we’re doing. Ours is going to be more fun, while mixing in questions about pop culture, sports, history, geography and more,” he explained.

“College Bowl” will see students from rival colleges compete for academic scholarship money in a bracketed tournament over four rounds. The winning team will also go home with the official Capital One “College Bowl” trophy.

Participating schools competing in the “College Bowl” reboot include: University of Alabama; Auburn University; Columbia University; University of Michigan; University of Minnesota; Ole Miss; Morehouse College; University of Tennessee; University of Southern California; UCLA; University of Virginia and Xavier of Louisiana.

“Soup with Coop” can be found anywhere podcasts are streamed and is part of Colin Cowherd’s The Volume Sports podcast network.