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Saleem Choudhry - Researcher
Saleem spends his days gathering, interpreting, and disseminating information about the game of pro football. He now shares in his blog some of the more unique stories and facts that he has uncovered while working with the Hall’s vast collection of more than 18 million pages of documents.
I had a random thought the other day. Aside from when the NFL lockout would end, I began to wonder who were the most successful sons of Pro Football Hall of Fame members. Now of course by success I mean on the football field. It can’t be all that easy for a son to follow in the footsteps of a father who has been enshrined in Canton. It’s hard enough to make a name for yourself in the National Football League. I would imagine doubly hard if you were raised by one of the game’s best.
Not that it would be easy for anyone, but I think being the son of a Hall of Famer would be most difficult. That stated, let’s take a look at all the sons of Pro Football Hall of Fame members who have made it to the National Football League.
The Winslow family at 1995 Enshrinement (Can you pick out Kellen Winslow, Jr.?)
Bobby Bell, Jr. – son of Bobby Bell
LB – 1984 New York Jets, 1987 Chicago Bears
2 seasons; 18 games; 3.5 sacks
Anthony Dorsett – son of Tony Dorsett
CB – 1996-99 Houston-Tennessee Oilers/Tennessee Titans, 2000-03 Oakland Raiders
8 seasons; 118 games; 3 interceptions for 108 yards, 2 TDs; 2 sacks
Brian Griese – son of Bob Griese
QB – 1998-2002 Denver Broncos, 2003 Miami Dolphins, 2004-05 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2006-07 Chicago Bears, 2008 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
11 seasons; 93 games; 1,752 completions, 2,796 attempts, 19,440 yards, 119 TDs, 99 Ints; 82.7 passer rating
Pro Bowl: (1) 2001
Cody Grimm – son of Russ Grimm
S – 2010-present Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1 season; 11 games; 2 interceptions for 24 yards, 1 TD; 1 forced fumble
Chris Long – son of Howie Long
DE - 2008-present St. Louis Rams
3 seasons; 48 games; 17.5 sacks; 4 passes defensed; 5 forced fumbles
Ryan Nece – son of Ronnie Lott
LB – 2002-2007 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2008 Detroit Lions
7 seasons; 101 games; 5.0 sacks; 3 interceptions for 22 yards; 10 passes defensed
Kevin Matthews – son of Bruce Matthews
C- 2010-present Tennessee Titans
1 season; 3 games
Jarrett Payton – son of Walter Payton
RB – 2005 Tennessee Titans
1 season; 13 games; 33 attempts for 105 yards; 2 TDs; 6 receptions for 30 yards
Kellen Winslow, Jr. – son of Kellen Winslow
TE – 2004-08 Cleveland Browns, 2009-present Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8 seasons; 76 games; 362 receptions for 4,073 yards; 21 TDs
Pro Bowl: (1) 2008
Matt Slater – son of Jackie Slater
WR – 2008-present New England Patriots
3 seasons; 43 games; 1 rush for 6 yards; 22 kickoff returns for 424 yards
Josh Wilcox – son of Dave Wilcox
TE – 1998-99 New Orleans Saints
2 seasons; 11 games; 7 receptions for 71 yards
Now let me say this: it takes a tremendous amount of talent, ability, drive, dedication, perseverance and any other quality you want to add to make it to the NFL. Whether a person played a single season or 10 years in the league, they should fell a great deal of pride and accomplishment to able to play up to the professional level. To be one of approximately 21,000 men who have inhabited an NFL roster since 1920 is no small task.
That being said, if I had to analyze the list of sons for the top spot, four men would be included in the argument – Anthony Dorsett, Brian Griese, Ryan Nece, and Kellen Winslow, Jr. Two of the men, Dorsett and Nece, have appeared in at least 100 games which is quite impressive. Also noteworthy is that Dorsett scored on two interception returns for TDs off of only three picks. Both Griese and Winslow have earned Pro Bowl honors. What may push Griese over the top is the fact that he played 11 years in the league. That argument may not last long, however, as Winslow still has a few years left in him and may rack up a few more honors before it is all said and done. Griese also had the added challenge of not only having to live up to the expectations of having a Hall of Famer for a dad; he was also a quarterback, but to make matters worse, he was anointed as the heir apparent to John Elway in Denver. Four of the men on the list (Grimm, Long, Matthews, and Slater) are too early in their careers to fairly assess.
The Grieses appeared at a Hall of Fame autograph session in 2000.
So as it stands right now, and not that it means anything at all, I would have to say that Brian Griese is the top Hall of Fame son. I wonder who the next Hall of Famer son to make it to the NFL will be. What do you think?
Listen to Bob Griese's enshrinement speech>>>