Fathers and Sons: an NFL legacy


Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor


By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 


This Sunday, June 16th, is Father’s Day, so I thought I’d take a look back at some of my favorite NFL players who followed in their father’s footsteps.

Frankly, I was surprised that – at least according to Wikipedia – there are only 53 father-son combos that have played in the League. I was also surprised to find three families whose NFL legacy has entered a third generation.

It doesn’t seem like the NFL has been around long enough to support three generatons, but here you go: Clay Matthews Sr., Clay Matthews Jr. and Clay Matthews III are my first set and the ones with whom we are most familiar. Then we have the Chickillo’s: Nick, Tony and Anthony, and the Pyne’s: George II, George III and Jim.  Amazing, but true!

I’m not going to rattle off all of the combinations, but there are a few that I know we all loved to watch on the field, and a few that I had no idea were even related!

We all know the Manning’s, so let’s just get them out of the way early…


Next, I’m sure we all know the Bosa family as well…



But did you know Carolina Panther running back Christian McCaffrey’s father, Ed McCaffrey, was a wide receiver for the Giants, 49ers and Broncos?

New Orleans Saints corner Cameron Jordan followed in his father Steve’s footsteps… well, the opposite side of the field from his tight end dad. Hmmmm…

Oliver and Andrew Luck both played quarterback. Marion Barber Jr and III both played running back. Paul and Chase Coffman both played tight end. But even more combinations played very different positions, which surprised me.

I would have thought a son would want to learn the same position his dad played, but then I realized it’s more complicated than that. Aside from the obvious physical or talent differences between positions and generations, I’d have to guess the natural tendency for young men is to try to make their own way, separate themselves a bit from dad to become their own man.

Sam Adams Sr played offensive line, while Jr played defensive line. Bruce Alford Sr was a defensive end, and Jr chose to utilize his skills as a kicker. Jeremiah Castille defended as a cornerback while his son Tim Castille lead the way on offense as a fullback.

Hall of Fame RB Tony Dorsett of Dallas Cowboys legend raised a safety, Anthony Jr., who played for the Houston Oilers.






Whether your dad played in the NFL or not, he most likely taught you the game, an appreciation for the sport, or in some way encouraged you to love it as much as he did.  As we look forward to Father’s Day, NFL Player Engagement has asked it’s twitter followers to share pics and memories of their dad’s.  But I’m sure if your best memories are of you mom, they wouldn’t mind if you shared those as well!


Talk football with Kate on Twitter // @ClvlndK8

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