My daughter, Aspen, called me today on Father’s Day wishing me a Happy Father’s Day. She is an extremely gifted, artistic, creative, and talented human being. She is the one that gave me the idea of posting something today about Fathers in football.
In honor of Father’s Day here is my list of the top 14 Father and Son combos in the history of college football and the NFL.
1. The Matthews Family– No doubt the Matthews family is the first family of football. Obviously, most will think of the Mannings and they are significant but they aren’t 3 generations. Clay Sr played at Georgia Tech and then for the San Francisco 49ers.
He had sons, Clay Jr and Bruce. Both of his sons played at Southern Cal and each played 18 years in the NFL. Clay Jr is the father of Clay III and Casey, both were walk-ons that earned scholarships and then made it to the NFL. Clay III is one of the best players in the league. Bruce fathered Kevin and Jake, both in the NFL and his youngest son is still at Texas A&M and will probably be in the NFL in another year.
2. Archie Manning Father of Peyton and Eli Manning. Archie was an incredible QB back in his day for the Ole Miss Rebels. He was outstanding for the New Orleans Saints but the Saints were never good in those days. Peyton and Eli have had more NFL success than Archie. Peyton has won one Super Bowl and Eli has won 2. Not much more need be said about the Mannings as they are QBs and everyone knows about them already.
3. Howie Long– Howie was a nobody in college football but played 13 years for the Oakland or Los Angeles Raiders and is a Hall of Fame member. Howie has had movie and broadcasting success and is a house hold name at this point. Son, Chris, was a 1st round pick of the St Louis Rams where he plays DE currently. Younger son, Kyle, played for the Oregon Ducks and is now a member of the Chicago
4. Kellen Winslow Sr Winslow was one of the greatest Tight Ends to ever play the game. Kellen Jr has also been good but was much better in college than in the NFL. The older Winslow played at
Missouri and the younger played at Miami. Winslow Sr was a standout with the San Diego Chargers and maybe the best ever. Sr took a social black eye by getting involved in his son’s recruitment and showing a great deal of racism, and Jr took his own black eye by ruining his career on a motorcycle.
Kellen Winslow Sr’s greatest moment may have been the playoff game against the Miami Dolphin’s. The Chargers eventually won in Overtime and Winslow had 13 catches for 166 yards and a touchdown. Winslow also blocked a field goal. Winslow being helped off the field by teammates is one of the most famous moments in NFL history.
5. Terry Metcalf. Terry and Eric Metcalf more than likely are the most explosive father- son duo to ever play college or pro football. Terry was good for a short while, as good as they came and then
Eric was even better. He was one of the top return guys of all time and held most of the return records until Devin Hester of the Chicago Bears came along. Eric was also a track star and won the national championship in the long jump while playing football at the University of Texas.
6. Oliver Luck. Oliver Luck was a 3 year starter at West Virginia and then played for the Houston Oilers of the NFL. He was never a great NFL player, but is now the Athletic Director at his old
school, West Virginia. He is really more famous for being the father of the #1 pick in the entire NFL a couple of years ago, Andrew Luck. Andrew came into the league 2 years ago and took the worst team in the entire league and made them a playoff team in his first season. Andrew Luck is a rare talent and even though Oliver was not, he was still good enough to make this list. Unless he gets injured, Andrew Luck should be a sure fire future Hall of Fame QB. He’s one of the best to come out in a long, long time. Maybe the best since John Elway, but time will tell and one must win Super Bowls to prove greatness.
7. Bob Griese. Bob Griese was a standout QB at Purdue in the mid 1960s and then played many years for the Miami Dolphins. He led the Dolphins to 3 consecutive Super Bowls winning the last 2 and his Dolphins finished the 1972 NFL season undefeated and was the last team to ever do that. Brian was not quite as good as dad, but he led the Michigan Wolverines to the 1997 national
championship in some polls. Brian played 10 seasons in the NFL and was a back up on the Denver Broncos when they won a Super Bowl in 1998.
8. Tony Dorsett– Tony Dorsett was a legend. He won the Heisman while Pitt won the national championship in 1976. Dorsett was the very first pick in the NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys and they promptly won the Super Bowl in 1977. He held the NCAA career rushing record for over 20
Son, Anthony, also played at Pittsburgh and then later in the NFL. Anthony was a Cornerback so he never got the publicity that his famous father got. Plus, Pitt was a better program back in those years.
Look at Tony Dorsett’s picture to the right,Jerry Jones. The Cowboys always wore white jerseys home or away back then. They always played badly in the blue jerseys and it was considered bad luck. No wonder the Cowboys always play badly these days. The Redskins made the Cowboys wear the blue jerseys in those days to play mind games with the Cowboys and it usually worked. No need for mind games these days with Jerry Jones running things. Not to be lost in my dig at Jerry Jones and as if he will ever read this blog, is that Tony Dorsett was one of the games’ all time great players and one of the smoothest and fastest running backs ever. He used to receive criticism for running out of bounds instead of taking hits, but that allowed him to play longer in the NFL.
9. Don Hasselbeck. Don played Tight End back in the 1970s for the Colorado Buffaloes and then in the NFL for the New England Patriots and several other NFL teams. He is the father of NFL QBs Matt Hasselbeck of the Seattle Seahawks and the Indianapolis Colts. He is also the father of Tim
Hasselbeck of several NFL teams and the husband of celebrity Elisabeth Hasselbeck. He is currently and analyst with ESPN. Don Hasselbeck was huge and a bit ahead of his time at 6-7, 245 and none of his sons inherited his height or weight.
10. Mosi Tatupu. Tatupu was a great Fullback from back in the day when offenses used great Fullbacks. Mosi Tatupu passed away in 2010. He was a great player out of Hawaii and played at USC and then later with the New England Patriots and the Rams. Mosi is the father of Lofa Tatupu who
also played at USC and played for the Seattle Seahawks and the Atlanta Falcons. Incidentally, Mosi played with Don Hasselbeck at New England and his son Lafu played with Matt Hasselbeck at Seattle.
11. George Kiick. George Kiick was way before my time and I usually only include people from my era. George played for the Pittsburgh Steelers way back in the day and was the father of Jim Kiick who is from my time. Kiick is a Jersey Boy and played college ball at Wyoming before playing for the Miami Dolphins and was one of the top players on that one and only undefeated NFL team. The Dolphins had Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris also in the backfield and Kiick split time with Morris.
12. Lawrence McCutcheon. McCutcheon is from Plainview, Texas but escaped Texas Tech to play at Colorado State University, but there is a little more to that than I am bringing up. Was a standout for Colorado State and was drafted in the 3rd round by the Los Angeles Rams. McCutcheon had a great NFL career making 5 Pro Bowls. The highlight of his NFL career was the 1980 Super Bowl in which the Rams lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers and their Steel Curtain Defense. McCutcheon moved up to player personnel director for the Rams. His son, Daylon played Cornerback for USC and then played for a number of years for the Cleveland Browns.
13. Elijah Pitts. Pitts played for the Green Bay Packers when I first started watching football back in the day. He scored 2 Touchdowns in Super Bowl 1 while leading Packers past the Kansas City Chiefs. Pitts never put up the big numbers like later day Running Backs or even like teammate Jim Taylor but he played a large part in the history of the Green Bay Packers. Pitts son, Ron, played at
UCLA and then for the Buffalo Bills and also for the Green Bay Packers for a couple of years. How often is it that a son plays for the same NFL franchise as his father.
14. Brad Van Pelt. Brad Van Pelt was an early day hero for me mostly because his name was Brad. Van Pelt played for the New York Giants in the 1970s and made the Pro Bowl 5 times. He played briefly with the great Lawrence Taylor. He was a 2 time All-American at Michigan State.
Father of Bradlee Van Pelt who also signed with Michigan State out of High School but transferred to Colorado State so that he could play QB. Bradlee Van Pelt was a gritty, competitive guy that won a lot of games for the Rams. Did not do much in the NFL, but played a couple of years. Dad Brad Van Pelt died of an apparent heart attack at 57, unfortunately.