Jim Sorgi: In the Shadow of the Mannings

Always a backup, never a Manning. That seems to be the story with former Avon, Indiana resident Jim Sorgi, an NFL quarterback who has yet to see a full game on the turf. While he’s been a great backup for Peyton Manning for the past six years, you have to imagine that Sorgi hoped for a more illustrious role in the National Football League. At Fraser High School in Michigan, he played three different sports–football, basketball, and baseball–and was a letter winner in each, kind of a triple crown for high school sports. Football was definitely his best sport, however: he was the team’s Most Valuable Player for two years, was listed in USA Today‘s All-USA section as an honorable mention, and earned All-League, All-County, and All-State honors his senior year.

From these humble beginnings, Jim Sorgi made his break into the world of college football, stepping outside of Michigan to attend the University of Wisconsin at Madison. There, he achieved the same success he’d found quarterbacking in high school. As a matter of fact, Jim Sorgi still holds records as a Wisconsin Badger: he’s the school’s career pass efficiency leader, has the sixth most career passing yards of any Wisconsin quarterback, and shares the record for most passing touchdowns in a single game, a whopping 5.

Video news report and interview with Jim Sorgi, an Avon, Indiana resident who was the backup for Peyton Manning


Unfortunately for Sorgi, the NFL hasn’t been as kind as his early years. He was drafted right out of college, but it was the Indianapolis Colts who picked him up. The Colts already had a superstar quarterback in Peyton Manning, so there was no way Sorgi would see extended play time. In his debut season for Indianapolis sports, Jim Sorgi played in one game against the Denver Broncos, in which he threw for 175 yards and one touchdown, not bad for a backup. The story remained much the same for the rest of Sorgi’s career with the Colts: he threw for 444 yards in 2005 and didn’t play at all in 2008 until the final game of the regular season.

Jim Sorgi pulled his hamstring in December of 2009, placing him on injured reserve. A few months later, the Indianapolis Colts let Sorgi go; interestingly enough, the New York Giants picked him up. So instead of being the backup for Peyton Manning, Sorgi found himself underneath Eli Manning, Peyton’s little brother, on the Giants’ roster. Bad luck seems to have followed Sorgi to the Giants; he tore a capsule in his right shoulder during a preseason game against the New York Jets, again placing him on injured reserve for the rest of the season.

Video of Avon, Indiana resident Jim Sorgi throwing a few passes during the 2010 New York Giants training camp


Despite his lack of playing time and publicity in the NFL, Jim Sorgi is still a famous Avon person; during his six year stint with the Colts, he lived in the prosperous Indianapolis satellite community. He has saved a few Colts nail biters on the few occasions where Peyton has been unable to play (mostly during the preseason), and time will tell if he’ll do the same for the Giants. You can’t help but feel sorry for Sorgi, however: it’s hard playing in the shadow of football’s most famous quarterbacking dynasty, whether you’re a Colt or a Giant.

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