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A Brief Dolphins Father-Son History

As we celebrate Father's Day, we look back at the father-son player and coach combinations in Miami Dolphins history

Along with wishing all dads a Happy Father's Day, we thought Father's Day would be the perfect time to look back at the father-son combinations in Dolphins history.

And, of course, that has to start with the Shula family.

Patriarch Don Shula ended his Hall of Fame career with the Dolphins as the winningest coach in NFL history, and his sons David and Mike both helped him along the way.

Shula family at Hall of Fame

David was an assistant for the Dolphins from 1982-88 before he left to join the Dallas Cowboys and then the Cincinnati Bengals, where he eventually became head coach. That led to the historic battle between Don and David in 1994: the first father-vs.-son head-coaching battle in the history of the four professional sports.

Mike Shula had two stints as a Dolphins assistant, from 1991-92 and from 2001-02. Mike's second stint ended when he left to become head coach at the University of Alabama, where he served for four seasons before being replaced by Nick Saban.

The late Tony Sparano was another Dolphins head coach who had his son on his staff. Sparano, of course, was the last coach to lead the team to an AFC East title, which happened in 2008 in his first year after taking over a team that had gone 1-15 the previous season.

In his fourth and final season in Miami, Sparano brought Tony Jr. on his staff to serve as offensive quality control coach. The younger Sparano now is an assistant offensive line coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Another father-son connection among Dolphins coaches involved the Washburns.

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Jeremiah Washburn coached the offensive line in 2016 and in 2018 around a one-year stint with Chicago, and his father, Jim, served as a senior defensive assistant/pass rush in that first year.

When it comes to players, the biggest father-son connection, of course, was the Grieses.

Bob Griese was a six-time team MVP in the 1970s and ended up in the Hall of Fame, and his son Brian joined the Dolphins as a free agent in 2003 after playing five seasons with the Denver Broncos.

Griese started five games in place of injured Jay Fiedler and went 3-2 in a season when the Dolphins finished 10-6 but missed the playoffs. The Dolphins terminated Griese's contract the following March and he joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and played five more seasons.

Another father-son playing combo was Randy and Channing Crowder.

Randy Crowder was a defensive tackle from Penn State who was a sixth-round pick in 1974. He played three seasons with the Dolphins, starting 24 games over the final two years.

Channing Crowder was another Dolphins draft pick, selected in the third round of the 2005 draft. He was a solid starter for six seasons and maybe his biggest moment came when he picked off Tom Brady to seal a 22-21 victory against the New England Patriots in 2009.

The final father-and-son player tandem in Dolphins history was the Barbers.

Rudy Barber was a linebacker out of Bethune-Cookman who played two games for the Dolphins in 1968. His son, Kantroy Barber, was a fullback from West Virginia and Miami Carol City High. His NFL career also consisted of two games with the Dolphins, those coming in 1999.