The 2018 NFL Father-Son Rankings

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  • By Ralph Warner
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Like father, like son...

It's natural to resemble your dad when it comes to attributes like personal style, cadence, and sports fandom. After all, you likely spent your childhood learning from the examples set by your father. That being said, what about following his footsteps professionally? What if you grew up watching your dad spend his career in a sport where only a miniscule amount of the very best make it? In that sense, following in his footsteps becomes a daunting task.

According to the NCAA, only 1.6% of college football players make it to the NFL. So, for NFL players to have a career in the league, and then have their sons do the same later on in life, it's like capturing lightning in a bottle twice. According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame site, 224 sets of fathers and sons have played football professionally. In honor of Father's Day (procrastinators PSA: it's this Sunday), we're looking back on the most esteemed NFL families in that exclusive group.

From the Ryans to the Mannings, see where these NFL's father-son duos (trios, and even quartets) rank in our 2018 NFL Father-Son Power Rankings.

10. The Hasselbecks

Father: Don Hasselbeck

Son(s): Matt Hasselbeck, Tim Hasselbeck

The Hasselbecks' NFL legacy started in 1977 when the Patriots selected TE Don Hasselbeck in the second round of the NFL Draft. Don spent 10 years in the league playing for the Pats, Raiders, Vikings, and Giants.

Don's eldest son, Matt, was a sixth-round QB who spent 17 seasons in the league and threw for over 36,000 yards. The three-time Pro Bowler is considered one of the best Seahawks in franchise history. Matt's younger brother, Tim, went undrafted in 2001 and spent time on practice squads before spending six seasons as a backup QB for various teams.

9. The Grieses

Father: Bob Griese

Son(s): Brian Griese

You know how your dad would exaggerate his athletic achievements before you were old enough to know better? Well, Dolphins QB Bob Griese didn't have to do that because it's hard to exaggerate perfection. In 1972, Bob won each of the six games he started in, including Super Bowl VII to complete the Dolphins' perfect season. Bob and the Dolphins would repeat by winning Super Bowl VIII a year later.

Brian Griese wasn't part of a perfect season like his pops, but he did spend 11 years in the league going 45-38 as a starting QB. Brian also won a Super Bowl XXXIII ring in his rookie season when he was a backup for John Elway's Broncos.

8. The Lucks

Father: Oliver Luck

Son(s): Andrew Luck

Papa Luck spent five seasons (1982-1986) in the NFL playing QB for the Houston Oilers. Oliver was a backup for most of his career and for two seasons he was a teammate of another dad on this list -- Archie Manning.

A few years after retiring from the NFL, Oliver and his wife, Kathy, had their son Andrew in 1989. Andrew would go on to become the No. 1 pick of the 2012 NFL Draft and rack up three Pro Bowl selections in his first three seasons in the league.

7. The Shulas

Father: Don Shula

Son(s): Dave Shula, Mike Shula

Don Shula is one of the greatest minds in sports history. Prior to becoming a legendary NFL coach, Don played DB from 1951 to 1957. Don spent an astounding 33 consecutive years as a head coach in the NFL. Along the way he would win two Super Bowls (VII, VIII) and set the record for most career wins as a head coach (347).

Both of Don's sons followed in their father's footsteps. Dave became head coach of the Bengals in 1992 and even faced his dad's Dolphins in 1994 and 1995 -- Papa Shula won both of those "Shula Bowls." The youngest of the Shula boys, Mike, has spent the last 30 years in various coaching roles in both NFL and college football, he served as the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide from 2003 to 2006.

6. The Hochulis

Father: Ed Hochuli

Son(s): Shawn Hochuli

Every NFL fan recognizes the name Ed Hochuli, and even the most casual sports fans know him as the ridiculous ripped referee. Ed spent 28 seasons (1990-2017) in the NFL before retiring in March 2018.

Ed's son, Shawn, is keeping the Hochuli name alive in the NFL. Shawn has been an NFL official since 2014, and following his dad's retirement, he was promoted from back judge to referee.

5. The Simms

Father: Phil Simms

Son(s): Chris Simms, Matt Simms

Phil Simms will always be a legend in the eyes of Giants fans because of his Super Bowl XXI performance. The two-time Pro Bowl QB won Super Bowl MVP after completing 22 of 25 passes for three touchdowns in the Giants 39-20 victory over John Elway's Broncos.

Chris, the oldest of the Simms sons, was selected in the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Bucs. Chris spent most of his eight-year career as a backup QB, but he had the best season of his career in 2005, going 6-4 as a starter and posting a QB rating of 81.4. Matt Simms, who went undrafted in the 2012, spent the beginning of his career as a backup QB for the Jets. For the last three seasons, Matt has been a member of the Falcons' practice squad.

4. The Ryans

Father: Buddy Ryan

Son(s): Rex Ryan, Rob Ryan

The late Buddy Ryan was the architect of the 46 defense which led the 1985 Bears to a 15-1 record and Super Bowl XX victory. When Buddy became coach of the Cardinals in 1994, he gave his twin boys, Rob and Ryan, their NFL start by adding them to his Arizona coaching staff. Rex was a LB coach, while Rob was a DB coach.

Rex would go on to become the D-line coach for the Ravens winning a Super Bowl XXXV ring in 2001. Rex has eight years of NFL head coaching experience, his most recent stint coming with the Bills from 2015-2016. Rob would bring the Ryan clan two more Super Bowl Rings as an LB coach for the Pats in Super Bowl XXXVI and Super Bowl XXXVIII. Rob most recently worked as an assistant head coach for Buffalo in 2016 when Rex was head coach of the Bills. The Ryans have five Super Bowl rings and 50 years of NFL coaching between the three of them.

3. The Longs

Father: Howie Long

Son(s): Chris Long, Kyle Long

The Longs football history began with Howie Long's 13-year career as a DE. The Hall of Famer spent his entire career with the Raiders and won a Super Bowl XVIII ring in the 1983 season.

Chris Long seems to be a chip off the old block, the two-time Super Bowl champion is about to enter his 11th season as a DE. Kyle Long couldn't let his big brother get all the NFL shine though. The 29-year-old OG has spent his five-year career with the Bears and has been selected for the Pro Bowl three times.

2. The Matthews

Grandfather: Clay Matthews Sr.

Father: Clay Matthews Jr.

Son(s): Clay Matthews III, Casey Matthews

There's a reason why the Matthews are called "NFL's First Family." Over three generations, they've had seven family members play in the NFL, but for this list we're going to focus on the lineage of Clay Matthews Sr., Clay Matthews Jr., Clay Matthews III, and Casey Matthews. It all started back in 1949 when Clay Matthews Sr. was selected in the 25th round of the NFL Draft (yes, they had that many rounds back then). Grandpa Matthews was selected by the Rams, but ended up spending his four-year career playing tackle for the 49ers.

A couple decades after his father's career ended, Clay Matthews Jr. was picked No. 12 overall in the 1978 NFL Draft. The four-time Pro Bowler played LB for the Browns for 16 seasons before finishing the last three years of his career with the Falcons.

Then there was Clay III. In his nine seasons in the NFL, Clay Matthews III has made six Pro Bowl teams and been the cornerstone of Green Bay's offense. The 32-year-old helped the Packers win a championship at Super Bowl XLV and has 80 career sacks thus far.

If that weren't enough, Clay's younger brother, Casey, spent four years (2011-2014) as an LB for the Eagles.

1. The Mannings

Father: Archie Manning

Son(s): Peyton Manning, Eli Manning

The Mannings are the unrivaled father-sons NFL trio. Archie spent 14 years (1971-1984) as an NFL QB, throwing for 23,911 yards and 125 touchdowns. Archie's teams never made the playoffs, but Peyton made for the postseasons Archie missed out on. Peyton made the playoffs 15 times in his 18-year career. The five-time NFL MVP won two Super Bowls and set a slew of QB records including passing yards (71,940) and touchdown passes (539) before retiring in 2016.

Don't sleep on Elisha though. The youngest Manning brother has two Lombardis of his own and is going for more as he enters his 15th season. Eli's 210 consecutive QB starts streak is the second-longest in NFL history (Brett Favre's 297 is no. 1). Archie and his boys have thrown for a combined total of 147,533 yards. Name a better trio, I'll wait.

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