Ever wonder what it would be like if Peyton Manning faced little bro Eli in the Super Bowl? Yeah, me too, and I’ve concluded that it would be ridiculously awesome. However, at this point I don’t think it’s ever going to happen. The Giants are only good every four years or so, and Peyton has some well-documented difficulties playing games in temperatures below 62 climate-controlled degrees.
However, this year we do get a sibling rivalry Super Bowl, thanks to the fact that Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers and John Harbaugh’s Ravens have made it to the big game. And while that doesn’t seem as intriguing on the surface, when you think about it it’s even better than a Manning Bowl. After all, the QB’s just go out there and do their thing. They don’t create the strategies. But two coaches? How’d you like to be at the next family reunion if one of them burns the other on a trick play?
Anyway, in honor of the Harbaugh brothers, today we’re taking a look at 15 of the most successful NFL families. Some are bigger than others and some are more accomplished than others, but they’ve all got the NFL in their DNA. So take a look.
The late Mosi Tatupu was a running back for the Patriots and one of their most popular players in the 1980s. Luckily his son, Lofa, isn't a loafer. He's a three-time Pro Bowl linebacker who used to play for the Seattle Seahawks but is now a 30-year-old free agent with injury problems. (In other words, Lofa is probably done.)
15. The Tatupus
Like his dad, Kellen Winslow Sr., Kellen Winslow Jr. is a tight end in the NFL. Unlike his dad, however, Junior will never be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. The 29-year-old has had a respectable 9-year career that's featured on Pro Bowl selection, but this year he elected not to play through a painful knee injury just to be third on the Patriots' depth chart behind Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
14. The Winslows
Bob Griese quarterbacked the Dolphins to back to back Super Bowls in 1973 and 1974, the first of which capped the NFL's only perfect season. Then he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990.
His son, Brian Griese? Well, he's not his dad, but he did get a Super Bowl ring as the third stringer for the Broncos in 1998, and in 2000 he earned a trip to the Broncos. So, yeah, he could have done worse.
13. The Grieses
They called Walter Payton "Sweetness" because of the legendary Hall of Fame running back's smooth moves on the field. Unfortunately, they should call his son Jarrett "Briefness" on account of his short tenure in the NFL. He played just one season with the Titans in 2005. Then he played a couple of seasons in the CFL before heading to the Indoor Football League's Chicago Slaughter.
12. The Paytons
At the age of 37, Ronde Barber is still playing cornerback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and it's quite possible that he'll wind up in the Hall of Fame. His twin brother Tiki, on the other hand, retired too early because of a feud with Eli Manning, then flushed a promising media career down the toilet when he dumped his pregnant wife for a 23-year-old NBC intern and compared his ordeal to that of Ann Frank.
11. The Barbers
Howie Long is, of course, a Hall of Fame defensive end and a fixture on Fox's NFL Sunday. His son, Chris, is a pretty good DE for the St. Louis Rams. Though probably not worthy of the #2 overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, he has been named a Pro Bowl alternate the last three seasons.
10. The Longs
Herb Hannah was an offensive lineman for the Alabama Crimson Tide who then played one season with the New York Giants in 1951. In that same year, 1951, Herb's wife gave birth to their son, John Hannah, in—appropriately enough—in Canton, Georgia.
Sure, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is in Canton, Ohio, not Georgia, but the coincidence is still strikign: John Hannah of course if a Hall of Famer with the Patriots who was once called "The Best Offensive Lineman of All Time."
Unfortunately, being born in the town of Canton wasn't enough to get John Hannah's little brother, Charley, into the Hall of Fame. He had a solid 12 year career with the Bucs and Raiders, but was not "the Greatest Offensive Lineman of All Time."
9. The Hannahs
Buddy Ryan rose to prominance as a defensive coordinator with the Jets, Vikings, and Bears, then served as head coach of the Eagles from 1986 to 1990. His twin sons, Rex and Rob, also began their NFL careers as defensive coordinators. Of course, Rob is currently looking for a new team after another terrible Cowboys campaign, while Rex is still somehow the coach of the Jets.
Wouldn't it be fun to listen in on the arguments at a Ryan Family Thanksgiving?
Rex: yeah, well, at least I'm a head coach of an NFL football team!Rob: oh that's so cute that you consider the Jets an NFL football team!
8. The Ryans
Don Hasselbeck was played tight end in the NFL from 1977 to 1985. Of course his sons both went on to be quarterbacks. Matt is a three-time Pro Bowler and a one-time All-Pro with an NFC Championship on his resume. Tim, on the other hand, was a career backup who...wore the same number as his big brother? Weird.
Also, he's married to that lady from Survivor who's now on The View.
7. The Hasselbecks
Phil Simms made two Pro Bowls in his career and was named the MVP of the Super Bowl in 1987 after leading the Giants to victory. Phil's first son, Chris, played 7 years in the NFL as a backup QB, and now is a coaching assistant with the Patriots. Phil's youngest son, Matt, was signed by the Jets as a QB before training camp, but got released on August 31, cleared waivers, and then signed to their practice squad.
6. The Simms
Don Shula is the NFL coaching legend who led the Dolphins to two Super Bowls and an undefeated season...but could not win with Dan Marino? His sons, Dave and Mike, both followed in his coaching footsteps, each getting their start with—guess who?—the Dolphins.
Man, nepotism is awesome. I should get me some of that.
Anyway, Dave actually went on to become head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, with whom he went 19-53 before quitting football to run a steakhouse. Mike, meanwhile, served as head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide for four seasons (one good, three terrible) before heading back to the NFL, where he is still QB coach for the Panthers.
5. The Shulas
At #4 we have the NFL family that inspired the list. Jack Harbaugh never played in the NFL. But he did play in the AFL for one season—1961 with the Titans (who became the Jets). Then he had two pretty successful sons: John and Jim.
John, the older one, became an NFL coach the hard way. He never played in the NFL himself, but worked his way up from the small-time college ranks to take over the reigns of the Ravens in 2008. Jim, the younger one, got his start in coaching thanks to a solid QB career that includes a Pro Bowl selection (and cameo on Saved by the Bell) in 1995. This notoriety, one assumes, got him interviews for coaching jobs, and after doing a great job at nearby Stanford from 2007 to 2010 he joined the 49ers in 2011.
Now the Harbaughs aren't only the first pair of brothers to serve as head coaches in the NFL, but the first pair to face off against each other in the Super Bowl.
4. The Harbaughs
You all know this story, right? Archie Manning was a two-time Pro Bowler who played QB from 1971 to 1984. Then his sons Peyton and Eli became two of the best and/or most successful quarterbacks of their respective (and overlapping) generations.
3. The Mannings
Unless you are a hardcore NFL history nut, you've probably never heard of this family. However, they have serious NFL pedigree.
Jimmy Colquitt was a punter for the Seattle Seahawks in 1985, but his brother, Craig Colquitt, had a long NFL career as a punter with the Steelers and Colts from 1978 to 1987. Then Craig's two sons, Dustin and Britton, also became NFL punters. Dustin has played for the Chiefs since 2005 and was named to the 2012 Pro Bowl squad. Britton has been with the Broncos since 2009.
Who knew the ability to punt a football was genetic?
2. The Colquitts
Clay Matthews, Sr. played for the 49ers in 1950, and then from 1953-55 after the Korean War. His sons, Bruce and Clay Jr., both played in the NFL, too. Clay Jr. played for the Browns and Falcons from 1978 to 1996, earning 4 selections to the Pro Bowl. Bruce, meanwhile, had a Hall of Fame career with the Oilers/Titans from 1983 to 2001.
Of course, it's Clay Jr.'s son, Clay Matthews III, that you're probably most familiar with. You know, he's that 4x Pro Bowl linebacker from the Green Bay Packers.
1. The Matthews
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