SI’s ranking of the best NFL families
The Manning family is one of the most well-known in all of football. With Peyton’s retirement, Eli is the only Manning member still in the NFL. With this in mind, SI ranked the 10 best all-time football families (with a couple honorable mentions added at the end).
10. The Harbaugh Family
Not only are Jim and John Harbaugh the only set of brothers ever to oppose each other as head coaches in the Super Bowl, they’re also the first brothers to be NFL head coaches at the same time. They’re known for their intensity on the sidelines and both have had success coaching in college and the NFL, with John becoming an NFL head coach for the first time in 2008 with the Baltimore Ravens and Jim with the San Francisco 49ers in 2011. In Super Bowl XLVII, John and the Ravens defeated Jim and the 49ers 34–31. Jim has a career record of 77–51, and at age 53, is still coaching the Ravens.
Jim had a long playing career before he became a coach. A 14-year NFL quarterback, Jim played mostly for Chicago and Indianapolis, but also spent time with the Chargers and Ravens. He made it to the playoffs three times and was named to Pro Bowl once. After he retired in 2000, he was hired by the Raiders in 2002 to be their quarterbacks coach. His first head coaching gig was with the University of San Diego. After three seasons there, he moved to become the head coach of Stanford, where he turned a historically bad team into a perennial title contender in his few years. From there he jumped to the NFL, where he took charge of the 49ers. Last year, he took the head coaching job of his alma mater, the Michigan Wolverines.
But, those aren’t the only two Harbaughs to have played or coached in the NFL. Their father, Jack Harbaugh, played at Bowling Green and had one year in the American Football League with the Titans of New York (later renamed the New York Jets). He coached in the college ranks from 1964 until he retired in 2006. His two head coaching stints were with Western Michigan and Western Kentucky, where he went 117-94-3 in 19 seasons.
9. The Gronkowski Family
The Gronkowski legacy started way before the NFL did. The great-grandfather, Ignatius Gronkowski, was an American Olympic cyclist who competed in the 1924 Games. He held several world records, including the 1/2, 3/4, 1.5, and 2-mile races.
Gordon Gronkowski, the father of former NFL players Chris and Dan, current NFL player Rob and incoming NFL player Glenn, was a three-year starting offensive lineman at Syracuse in the 1970s.
Rob is the most well-known Gronkowski, as he has been named to the Pro Bowl four times in his six-year career and been to the Super Bowl twice (winning once). He has 5,555 receiving yards and 65 touchdowns in his short career, all with the Patriots.
Chris and Dan are both older than Rob and are not currently playing in the NFL. Chris played three seasons as a fullback, while Dan played three years as a tight end. Glenn, who just finished his junior year at Kansas State, has declared for the 2016 NFL draft. He earned All-Big 12 honors in each of his three seasons at fullback, and is projected a late-round draft pick.
8. The Colquitt Family
It may sound strange, but the Colquitts have one of the most extensive NFL kicking dynasties. Only two are currently in the NFL—Dustin and Britton—but the legacy began with their grandfather, Lester Colquitt, who was an all-state high school punter.
His son, Craig Colquitt, was the first NFL punter in the family. Craig saw an advertisement in the newspaper about the University of Tennessee football team calling for punters. He answered the call, and ended up becoming their starting punter. Craig set records with the Volunteers and ended up winning two Super Bowls in the 70s with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Many of those Tennessee records would fall just four years later, when Craig’s nephew, Jimmy Colquitt, broke them with the Volunteers as well. Dustin has played 11 seasons with the Chiefs, earning one Pro Bowl appearance, and Britton just finished his sixth season with the Broncos, which saw him win his first Super Bowl. There are several other cousins in the Colquitt family who have played NCAA football, but none have broken into the NFL ranks.
7. The Griese Family
This family dynamic is dominated by the father, Bob Griese, who played for 14 seasons with the Miami Dolphins from 1967–1980. Bob won two Super Bowls and completed the feat that no other quarterback ever has—leading his team to an undefeated season. He made eight Pro Bowls and was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1990. Bob’s career record was 92-56-3 with 25,092 career passing yards and 192 touchdowns.
His son, Brian Griese, didn’t have as storied a career, but he did make one Pro Bowl in 2000 with the Denver Broncos. He played with the Broncos for five years before moving to Tampa, Chicago and Miami to end his career in 2008. In his 11-year career, Brian went 45–38 with 19,440 yards and 119 touchdowns.
6. The Barber Family
The only set of twins on our list, Tiki and Ronde Barber both had successful NFL careers. After playing at Virginia, Tiki was selected in the second round and Ronde was picked in the third round of the 1997 draft.
The brothers had successful NFL careers: Tiki, the running back, played ten seasons for the New York Giants, amassing 10,449 rushing yards, good for 26th on the all-time rushing list. He added 55 touchdowns, three Pro Bowls and one All-Pro selection.
Ronde played cornerback for 16 years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, winning a Super Bowl in 2003. He was named to the Pro Bowl five times and was an All-Pro three times in his long career. In Super Bowl XXXVII against the Raiders, he had two interceptions, one of which he returned 92-yards for a touchdown en route to a 48–21 victory.
5. The Winslow Family
Kellen Winslow Sr. began this legacy as one of the best tight ends of all time for the San Diego Chargers. He was a five-time Pro Bowler and a three-time All-Pro. In 1980, he had 1,290 yards receiving, which stood as the record for tight ends until it was broken by Rob Gronkowski in 2011.
Winslow Sr. is most known for his performance in the 1982 playoff game against the Miami Dolphins, in which he had 13 receptions for 166 yards and a touchdown. Battling leg cramps all game, he blocked the potential game-winning field goal, sending the game to overtime. The Chargers won the game, and Winslow Sr. was so exhausted he had to be carried off the field.
Winslow Jr. had a storied collegiate career at the University of Miami, where he was an All-American tight end and was selected in the first round of the NFL draft. He played for nine years and was selected to one Pro Bowl.
4. The Long Family
Today, Howie Long is an NFL analyst on FOX, but before that, he played a storied NFL career that landed him in the Hall of Fame. Drafted in 1981, he played defensive end for the Raiders during his entire 13-year career. Howie was an eight-time Pro Bowler and a two-time first-team All-Pro. He won a Super Bowl in 1983 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000.
His oldest son, Chris Long, was the second overall pick in the 2008 draft by the St. Louis Rams. He has been a mainstay on the defensive front for most of his eight-year career, starting 95 of his 114 career games. His brother, Kyle Long, is in his third year in the NFL. Kyle plays offensive tackle for the Bears, and he has been a Pro Bowler each of his first three years in the league.
3. The Ryan Family
One of the most famous NFL coaching lineages, the Ryan family began with Buddy Ryan, who was a coach from 1968–1995. He spent 10 seasons as a defensive line coach, nine seasons as a defensive coordinator and seven seasons as a head coach. His longest head coaching stint was five years with the Philadelphia Eagles from 1986–90, in which the team went 43–35.
Though all of the Ryans are known for their defensive coaching prowess, only one of Buddy’s sons has ever been a head coach. Rex Ryan, who spent 10 seasons with the Ravens as a defensive line coach and then the defensive coordinator, became the head coach of the Jets in 2009. He led them to two consecutive AFC Championship Games with Mark Sanchez at quarterback and one of the NFL’s best defenses. 2015 was his first year coaching the Buffalo Bills, which went 8–8. Ryan is also known to not take press conferences too seriously.
Rob Ryan, Rex’s brother, was a longtime defensive coordinator, serving various teams since 2004. He spent the last three seasons with the New Orleans Saints and had varying success before being fired in November. In January, Rex hired Rob as a defensive coach for Buffalo.
2. The Manning Family
The most well-known football family comes in second on this list. Between the three quarterbacks (Peyton, Eli and father Archie), they have combined for 43 years of NFL experience, 20 Pro Bowls, five MVPs (all five are Peyton) and four Super Bowl victories.
Archie played 15 years in the NFL, mostly with the Saints. He was named to two Pro Bowls, but had a career record of 35-101-3. He never reached the playoffs and retired in 1984.
Eli, the youngest of three brothers, has been the quarterback of the Giants for the last 12 years and has been named to four Pro Bowls. He won both Super Bowls he has appeared in and was the MVP of both games. In 2007, he helped take down the undefeated Patriots with an improbable comeback victory that included one of the best throw-and-catches of all time.
Peyton is clearly in the conversation for being the greatest quarterback of all time, having played 18 seasons, having won two Super Bowls and being at or near the top of just about every passing record. He’s a surefire Hall-of-Famer when he is eligible in five years.
1. The Matthews Family
The Matthews clan takes the top spot due to both their numbers and performance. The most well-known Matthews is Packers linebacker Clay Matthews III, but six other Matthews members have played in the NFL.
They are one of three families to have three generations of players in the NFL. Beginning with Clay Sr., who played for the Rams and 49ers, the Matthews men have an unprecedented NFL pedigree.
Between the seven family members, they have played 60 seasons (832 games), been chosen for 24 Pro Bowls and eight All-Pros, won one Super Bowl (Clay III with the Packers) and have one Hall of Famer (Bruce).
Bruce and Clay II, brother and son of Clay Sr., each played 19 seasons in the NFL. Bruce played offensive line and was a 14-time Pro Bowlers and seven-time All-Pro. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007.
Clay III won the family’s only Super Bowl with a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2011.
Clay III’s brother, Casey Matthews, starred at linebacker at Oregon, leading them to a national championship appearance in 2011.
Bruce had two NFL kids, Jake and Kevin. Kevin played for five years with the Titans and Panthers, but hasn’t played since 2014. Jake was chosen in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft and is a starter for the Atlanta Falcons.
The Bailey Family: Champ was one of the best corners in the NFL with the Denver Broncos, and Boss was a linebacker who played with the Lions and Raiders. In addition to having success in the NFL, the two brothers also have awesome first names.
The Simms Family: Phil won a Super Bowl with the Giants during his 14-year career. His sons, Chris and Matt, both had brief stints in the NFL.
The Hochuli Family: Ed Hochuli is one of the best-known referees, thanks to his biceps and interesting penalty explanations. He also has a son, Shawn, who has reffed NCAA and Arena football games. Shawn started his first year as an NFL official in 2014.