Thirteen members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame have had a father or son also play in the National Football League. Four of those members have sons who were active in the NFL during the 2013 NFL season and one who will join the league this year – Howie Long (Chris and Kyle); Bruce Matthews (Kevin and 2014 first-rounder Jake); Jackie Slater (Matt); and Kellen Winslow (Kellen, Jr.).
Election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is the highest honor a football player can achieve. The sense of pride, achievement, and humility a Hall of Famer feels when reaching that incredible summit is perhaps matched when seeing a son also achieve great things on the football field and reach the NFL.
|Slater posed with Matthew and the rest of his family after being enshrined into the Hall of Fame in 2001.
“For me, being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame was the zenith of my career professionally and everything that I strived for as an athlete,” commented Jackie Slater whose son Matt is a three-time Pro Bowler with the New England Patriots. “To have my son Matthew playing professional football and soon to be playing at a level that he is playing at and distinguishing himself, I can’t tell you just how proud of him I am and just how jubilant my feelings are when I think of all the success that he has had.”
Those feelings were no doubt magnified for Howie Long when he traveled to St. Louis last season to watch two of his sons compete on the same field for the first time in their lives. The fact that Chris (the elder and a six-year defensive end with the Rams) and Kyle (a rookie offensive tackle with the Chicago Bears) lined up nose-to-nose from one another made the matchup even more compelling for Long.
“[We've talked about] understanding the significance of the moment and taking a mental Polaroid in your head, to take a second and enjoy it because the next minute will be here quickly, and you don't know when you'll be down this road again,” commented the Hall of Fame defensive end before the game. “
Chris and his Bears bested his younger sibling and the Rams 42-21 in the Week 12 contest.
|Matthews posed with son Jake before he delivered his Enshrinement speech in 2007.
Bruce Matthews is part of a family that many consider to be pro football royalty. His father Clay Matthews, Sr. played for San Francisco 49ers in the early-1950s and his brother Clay Matthews, Jr. (who also has two sons in the NFL) played 19 seasons with the Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons. Bruce’s son Kevin earned an NFL roster spot as a center in 2010 with the Tennessee Titans before joining the Indianapolis Colts in 2013.
In May, Matthews’ younger son Jake was selected as the sixth overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft by the Falcons. Bruce could barely contain the prideful feelings he had for his son in the moments after Atlanta had taken the Texas A&M tackle.
“He’s a lot more talented (than me) I think. He moves around very well. He has a great feel for the game,” beamed Bruce, a 14-time Pro Bowler. “Again, I’m very biased. He’s my favorite player in the draft and I think the Falcons did themselves a real positive today by picking Jake up and that’s trying to take my dad hat off as best I can.”
There are two sets of fathers and sons who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame as Contributors (Tim Mara and Wellington Mara of the New York Giants; Art Rooney and Dan Rooney of the Pittsburgh Steelers) but none who have played or coached. Imagine the pride a Hall of Fame father would feel to see his son join him in the elite fraternity of the Pro Football Fame.
Here is a complete list of all the Hall of Famers who have had a father or son play in the NFL:
Bobby – LB, DE – 1963-1974 Kansas City Chiefs, HOF: 1983
Bobby – LB – 1984 New York Jets, 1987 Chicago Bears
Tony – RB – 1977-1987 Dallas Cowboys, 1988 Denver Broncos, HOF: 1994
Anthony – CB – 1996-99 Houston-Tennessee Oilers/Tennessee Titans, 2000-03 Oakland Raiders
Bob – QB – 1967-1980 Miami Dolphins, HOF: 1990
Brian – QB – 1998-2002 Denver Broncos, 2003 Miami Dolphins, 2004-05 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2006-2007 Chicago Bears, 2008 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Russ – G – 1981-1991 Washington Redskins, HOF: 2010
Cody – S – 2010-12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Herb – T – 1951 New York Giants
John – G – 1973-1985 New England Patriots, HOF: 1991
Charley – T, G, DE – 1977-1982 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1983-88 L.A. Raiders
Howie – DE – 1981-1993 L.A. Raiders HOF:2000
*Chris – DE – 2008-present St. Louis Rams
*Kyle – G- 2013-present Chicago Bears
Ronnie Lott – CB/S – 1981-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991-92 Los Angeles Raiders, 1993-94 New York Jets HOF: 2000
Ryan Nece – LB – 2002-2007 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2008 Detroit Lions
Bruce – C-T-G – 1983-2001 Houston/Tennessee Oilers/Titans, HOF: 2007
*Kevin – C- 2010-present Tennessee Titans
|Jarrett Payton was the first son to present his father into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993.
Walter – RB – 1975-1987 Chicago Bears; HOF: 1993
Jarrett – RB – 2005 Tennessee Titans
Don – DB, HB – 1951-1952 Cleveland Browns, 1953-1956 Baltimore Colts, 1957 Washington Redskins (also Head Coach: 1963-1969 Baltimore Colts, 1970-1995 Miami Dolphins), HOF:1997
David – WR – 1981 Baltimore Colts (also Head Coach: 1992-1995 Cincinnati Bengals)
Mike – QB – 1987 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jackie – T – 1976-1995 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams HOF: 2001
*Matt – WR – 2008-present New England Patriots
Dave – LB – 1964-1974 San Francisco 49ers, HOF: 2000
Josh – TE – 1998-99 New Orleans Saints
Kellen – TE – 1979-1987 San Diego Chargers; HOF: 1995
*Kellen, Jr. – TE – 2004-08 Cleveland Browns, 2009-2011 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2012 New England Patriots, 2013 New York Jets
Infographic: Hall of Fame Fathers
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