Beginning with the 1920 inaugural season of the American Professional Football Association (now the NFL), there have been over 200 different combinations of father-son coaches and athletes. Since then, the NFL has come a long way from its modest start in Canton, Ohio. While there have been some great Hall of Fame caliber players through the years, their offspring haven’t always fared so well. For instance, Jarrett Payton, the son of Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton, played in just one season with the Tennessee Titans as a running back.
Not only have there been great father-son combinations of players, but there have been plenty of combinations of coaches and general managers as well. For example, Bill Belichick spent his youth at the United States Naval Academy while his dad was the coach of the Midshipmen, and now Bill’s son is being groomed to be an NFL coach. Other notable father-son coaching duos today include Mike and Kyle Shanahan and Rex and Rob Ryan whose father Buddy coached the Philadelphia Eagles and Houston Oilers from the mid-1980s until the 1990s.
Here is a list of the greatest player father-son combinations that have played in the NFL. Included on the list are a number of Hall of Fame players and coaches from the last 50 years. Spoiler alert: so far, there has yet to be a father-son combo that has made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
5. Clay Jr., Clay, Casey Matthews – Estimated Net Worth: $11 Million
If there was ever a family that showed football does run in your blood, the Matthews family is a prime example. Five members of the Matthews clan have made it into the NFL. Beginning with Clay Matthews Sr., the family began its NFL lineage in the 1950s, as Clay was a member of the San Francisco 49ers. Clay went on to have his sons Clay Jr. and Bruce make it to the NFL in the 1970s. So far, Clay Jr., has been the most accomplished of the family, recording over 1,500 tackles and 70 sacks in 19 seasons. During his career, Clay Jr. was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time All Pro team member
Clay Jr.’s son, Clay III is currently a menacing linebacker for the Green Bay Packers. After a robust career at the University of Southern California, Clay III was drafted in 2009 by the Packers and has already made the Pro Bowl four times. He has also won Defensive Player of the Year in 2010 and won the Super Bowl with the team that same season.
Clay Jr. has another son, Casey Matthews, who many people seem to forget about. The youngest of the Matthews playing in the NFL, Casey was drafted out of Oregon in the 2011 draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. He has yet to make an impact as big as his older brother’s, but he is certainly no slouch either. During his senior season at Oregon, Casey was named the Ducks Most Outstanding Player, in addition to being named to the first team All-Pac 10 and Second team All-American.