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Who Are the Best Father-Son Duos in NFL History?

As Bronny James gets ready to join LeBron James in the NBA, here's a look at the best father-son duos in NFL history!

While the NFL offseason has quieted down, the NBA offseason is heating up. One of the biggest topics this offseason is the arrival of LeBron James’ son, Bronny James. During the 2024 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers selected Bronny with the No. 55 overall pick, meaning LeBron and Bronny will be teammates going forward.

Given this news, it’s worth looking back at the best father-son duos in NFL history. Even if they never played together like LeBron and Bronny, the league has a strong history of bloodlines running throughout its rosters.

Who Are the Top 10 Father-Son Duos in NFL History?

Throughout the NFL’s history, there have been several families that have made their mark on the league. While the most notable families are obvious, there are a few duos worth discussing as honorable mentions.

Asante Samuel was a dominant cornerback for three different teams during his 11-year NFL tenure. His son, Asante Samuel Jr., currently plays for the Los Angeles Chargers, but his lack of production and accolades kept them off this top 10 list.

Mark Ingram Sr. was a talented wide receiver who won Super Bowl 25 with the New York Giants. His son, Mark Ingram II, played over a decade in the NFL and made three trips to the Pro Bowl. Yet, despite their success, it wasn’t enough to make the final cut.

There are several other families worth mentioning in this discussion, but the top 10 offer a mix of dominant play, accolades, and overall strength of the family legacy. Let’s dive into the top 10 father-son duos in NFL history!

10) Patrick Surtain and Patrick Surtain II

Before making the transition to coaching following his retirement, Patrick Surtain Sr. was a dominant NFL cornerback. He spent his career with the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs, where he was named an All-Pro twice and made a trip to the Pro Bowl three times.

The difference between the Surtain family and the Samuel’s stems from the son’s professional level of play. While Asante has been inconsistent, Patrick Surtain II has quickly established himself as one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. There’s even a strong chance that he could surpass his dad’s legacy.

9) Joe Klecko and Dan Klecko

Joe Klecko largely carries the load for this family ranking, but his dominance cannot be ignored. Klecko was a member of the New York Jets’ dominant defensive line nicknamed the ‘New York Sack Exchange.” He was the driving force behind that dominant unit, and in 1981, was named a first-team All-Pro and led the NFL in sacks.

Dan Klecko, meanwhile, failed to put up impressive stats, but he won three Super Bowls as a member of the Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts. Dan played both defensive tackle and fullback during his NFL tenure, registering just five total sacks in his career.

8) Bob Griese and Brian Griese

Before Dan Marino stole the show for Miami, quarterback Bob Griese was the face of the franchise. Griese spent 15 seasons with the Dolphins, winning two Super Bowls and cementing his legacy as one of the best quarterbacks in franchise history. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.

While Brian Griese wasn’t the Hall of Famer that his father was, he still enjoyed an impressive NFL career. Throughout his time with four different teams, Brian totaled 19,440 passing yards and 119 passing touchdowns. He also won Super Bowl 33 with the Denver Broncos during his rookie season, as he backed up John Elway.

7) Clay Matthews Jr. and Clay Matthews III

Before his son dominated the gridiron for the Green Bay Packers, Clay Matthews Jr. was a legendary linebacker in his own right for the Cleveland Browns. In 16 seasons with the Browns, he totaled 75 sacks, 24 forced fumbles, and 1,430 total tackles.

Clay Matthews III followed right into his father’s footsteps as a dominant outside linebacker. In 10 seasons with the Packers, he totaled 83.5 sacks, 15 forced fumbles, and 482 total tackles. It’s clear that playing outside linebacker runs in the family.

6) Mike Shanahan and Kyle Shanahan

There’s only one father-son duo on this list who didn’t play in the NFL. That title belongs to the Shanahan family. The pair became two of the best head coaches in the league during their respective tenures.

Mike Shanahan won two Super Bowls and finished his 20-year head coaching career with a record of 170-138.

Kyle Shanahan has taken the torch from his father and run with it as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. While he hasn’t yet won a Super Bowl, he’s made the big game twice during his seven-year tenure as head coach.

Despite being just 44 years old, Kyle has cemented himself as one of the best offensive minds in the NFL, with a strong coaching tree that has spread out throughout the league.

5) Steve Jordan and Cameron Jordan

Most people are likely familiar with his son, but Steve Jordan enjoyed a great career with the Minnesota Vikings. During his 13-year career as a tight end in Minnesota, Steve hauled in 498 receptions for 6,307 receiving yards and 28 touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Bowl six times during his NFL career.

Cameron Jordan has managed to surpass his father’s greatness, as a dominant force along the defensive line for the New Orleans Saints. In 13 seasons with the Saints, Cameron has been named to the Pro Bowl eight times and was a first-team All-Pro in 2017. There’s a strong chance he’ll be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the future.

4) Ed McCaffrey and Christian McCaffrey

Christian McCaffrey has established himself as the best running back in the NFL today, thanks to his dominance as both a rusher and receiver. Yet, as a wide receiver, his father enjoyed quite a career as well with three teams, most notably the Broncos.

During his nine-year tenure in Denver, Ed McCaffrey totaled 565 receptions for 7,422 receiving yards and 55 touchdowns. Also joined in the NFL by his brothers Max and Luke, it’s clear where Christian got his receiving ability from.

3) Jackie Slater and Matthew Slater

Although he was listed as a wide receiver, Matthew Slater was a dominant special-teams player for the New England Patriots. In 16 seasons with the Patriots, Slater was named to the Pro Bowl a whopping 10 times. He was also an All-Pro twice and won three Super Bowls with New England.

However, despite all of Matthew’s accolades, his father was somehow even better. Jackie Slater was a dominant offensive lineman for the Los Angeles Rams. During his 20-year career, he was named an All-Pro four times and went to the Pro Bowl seven times. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

2) Howie Long and Chris/Kyle Long

Many will recognize Howie Long due to his work as a studio analyst, but he once dominated the gridiron for the Oakland Raiders. In 13 seasons with the team, Howie recorded 91.5 sacks, 10 fumble recoveries, and two interceptions. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000.

Similar to his father, Chris Long enjoyed a long career as a fearsome edge rusher in the NFL. In 11 seasons with three different teams, Chris totaled 332 total tackles, 70 sacks, and 15 forced fumbles. Chris’ younger brother, Kyle, also played in the NFL and was named to the Pro Bowl three times during his seven-year career with the Chicago Bears.

1) Archie Manning and Peyton/Eli Manning

There’s only one family that deserves the top spot on this list. The Manning family has reigned supreme in the NFL for many years as quarterback royalty.

Archie Manning got it all started during his 15-year career, which included two trips to the Pro Bowl. He totaled 23,911 passing yards and 125 passing touchdowns during his career.

It doesn’t matter which son you choose to pair with Archie; both Peyton and Eli had legendary NFL careers. Peyton is certainly the most decorated member of the family, having been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2021. He was also named NFL MVP five times and a 10-time All-Pro, among several other accolades that cement the Manning legacy atop the NFL.