“It’s a big part of New Orleans,” said Manning, who watched Georgia’s Thursday afternoon practice for this year’s game. “In this big tragedy, sports is down the line when you talk about loss of life and loss of homes and loss of business, but sports has a place there. Sports has an emotional impact on a city.”
Damage done by Hurricane Katrina forced the Sugar Bowl out of New Orleans this season for the first time in the game’s 72-year history. Repairing the Superdome alone will cost $153 million, according to USA Today.
“It’s very important for us to get the Dome back up and going and get the Sugar Bowl back,” said Manning, who has lived in New Orleans for the last 35 years and is a member of the Sugar Bowl committee.
Manning, a former Ole Miss and New Orleans Saints quarterback, is the father of NFL quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning. He likes the chances of Georgia senior D.J. Shockley joining his sons in professional football next year, he said.
“I know he’ll be in somebody’s camp, and I’d say with his athleticism and his cerebral approach to the game and the program he’s played for, he’s got a great chance to be on an NFL team next year,” he said.