Sunday is Father's Day, giving plenty of children – and grown adults – across the country an opportunity to truly appreciate their dads.
Many fathers have passed on the tradition of playing football to their sons, and professional players are no different, making their mark in the NFL while their children eventually emulate their career path.
Below are the best father-son combos in the NFL. To be eligible for this list, one part of the tandem (or trio) has to be a current player in the NFL.
Eli Manning/Peyton Manning/Archie Manning
Archie Manning is the patriarch of the Manning family, earning two Pro Bowl selections during a career primarily spent with the New Orleans Saints. Manning settled in New Orleans, where his sons Cooper, Eli, and Peyton starred at Isidore Newman High School. The rest is well-documented history.
While Cooper's career ended due to spine-related injuries, Peyton earned National Player of the Year honors before excelling at Tennessee and then dominating the NFL for years to come as a member of the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos. Eli became the face of the New York Giants and led the club to two upset victories over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI.
There hasn’t been a more heralded father-son trio in league history, and it seems unlikely the Manning’s will ever be toppled as the NFL’s first family.
Andrew Luck/Oliver Luck
Oliver Luck excelled on the field at West Virginia, but his true talents were in the classroom, as he was named a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship. The senior Luck was drafted by the Houston Oilers in 1982, but was best known for backing up Warren Moon during the 1984-86 seasons before changing career. After working as a principle figure for NFL Europe, Luck's son Andrew took center stage.
Prior to the 2012 NFL Draft, Luck was billed by some as the best quarterback to enter the league since Peyton Manning. Through five seasons, he hasn't disappointed, earning three Pro Bowl selections and receiving the most lucrative contract in NFL history prior to the 2016 season. One of the NFL's top talents, Luck is in the midst of a career that could see him end up as the best signal-caller of his generation.
Clay Matthews III/Clay Matthews Jr.
No family in the NFL sports a deeper lineage than the Matthews clan, beginning with Clay Sr., who played for the 49ers in the pre-merger NFL. Clay Jr. earned three All-Pro and four Pro Bowl selections as a linebacker for the Cleveland Browns, compiling an excellent 19-year career, and his sons certainly took note of their grandfather's and father's accomplishments.
Clay Matthews III has been a dominant force since being drafted by the Packers in 2009, winning a Super Bowl and earning six Pro Bowl selections during his tenure. Matthews is the face of the Packers' defense and doesn't plan on slowing down anytime soon, while his younger brother, Casey, remains a free agent after five pro seasons. The Matthews family is a veritable dynasty, and if Clay or Casey have kids, it's not hard to see them joining the pro ranks.
Jake Matthews/Bruce Matthews
Clay and Casey aren't the lone extensions of the Matthews family in the NFL. Bruce Matthews – Clay's uncle – was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame after being named to 10 First-Team All-Pro squads and 14 Pro Bowls as a member of the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans franchise. It's evident that he passed his acumen on to his own children as well.
Jake Matthews currently features as an offensive tackle for the Falcons after being selected sixth overall in 2014, while his older brother, Kevin, played in the league for five seasons. Simply put, the Matthews family continues to live on through numerous generations as the closest thing to NFL royalty that exists.
Matthew Slater/Jackie Slater
Jackie Slater was one of the most dominant offensive tackles of the 1980's, earning seven Pro Bowl nominations and being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001. Slater's career spanned three decades, concluding in 1995 after completing his 20th season, and his No. 78 was retired by the Rams. Although Slater was a bruising offensive lineman, his son picked up a different skill set entirely.
Matthew Slater is one of the most consistent – if unheralded- members of the Patriots' dynasty. He earned six consecutive Pro Bowl selections for his work on special teams, working as a gunner for the defending champions.
The younger Slater won the Bart Starr Award in January, a distinction that his father received in 1995, marking the first father-son duo to ever win the award given to a player who best embodies leadership and strong character. It can’t really get any better than that.
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