When you think about the number of NFL players there have been over the course of its existence, there is no surprise that you would get relatives of players that play in the league as well. But like in everything, there is seeing something done many times and there is seeing something done at the highest levels.
Below are the cream of the numerous crop of NFL lineage that has been witnessed over the decades in the NFL. All of these five families have shown either excellence in what they do or are just a member of a group of family to grace the NFL.
5. The Harbaughs
John Harbaugh: Has Been the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens since 2008. Has a career 62-30 record including an 8-4 playoff record.
Jim Harbaugh: Drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft. Played in the NFL till 2000. 1x Pro Bowl selection. Is currently the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Has a career record of 27-8-1.
The Ryans may hold the edge in the family coaching ring of honor but with these two brothers both making names for themselves, that edge may be short lived. Both Harbaughs have the chance to add a Super Bowl victory to their belt as their teams face each other in the first ever brother vs. brother championship game. Whichever the outcome, a Harbaugh is certain to get a Super Bowl ring as well as bragging rights at family functions.
4. The Hasselbecks
Don Hasselbeck: Played tight end for 10 seasons
Tim Hasselbeck: Played with four different teams over four seasons.
Matt Hasselbeck: Three-time Pro Bowler that included six postseason appearances. Has been in the NFL since 1998.
While not the greatest of players, the Hasselbecks were solid players on the field. Matt Hasselbeck led the way with the most productive career that was highlighted by being the back-up to Brett Favre before striking out on his own role, leading the Seattle Seahawks to a Super Bowl birth against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Though he fell short in that game, Matt will ultimately go down as a successful NFL quarterback if not a great one.
3. The Ryans
Buddy Ryan: 55-55-1 record as head coach but is known for creating the 46 defense as a defensive coordinator in Chicago.
Rex Ryan: 38-32-0 head coaching record. Is currently the head coach of the New York Jets.
Rob Ryan: Currently a defensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams.
Coaching is definitely in the Ryan blood as father Buddy Ryan did a fairly good job of passing on his coaching genes to his sons Rex and Rob. While Rex is the bigger name of the two and the only son to have a head coaching gig, Rob has had his time in the sun and is considered a solid defensive coordinator.
2. The Mannings
Archie Manning: Played 15 years in the NFL with two Pro Bowl appearances. 35-101-3 career record as a quarterback.
Peyton Manning: Drafted number one in the 1998 draft. 12X Pro Bowler, 4x NFL MVP, 6x AFC Player of the year. One SuperBowl victory.
Eli Manning: Drafted number one in the 2004 draft. 3X Pro Bowler. Two SuperBowl victories.
While Archie Manning was a solid quarterback over his career, both his boys are going to have Hall of Fame written all over them. The edge in overall skill has to go to older brother Peyton, whose mastery of the offensive side is one of the greatest the sport has ever seen. However, in terms of hardware, little brother Eli has the edge as he has two great postseason runs under his belt that led to championships as opposed to his brother's one. That earns Eli the ultimate bragging right.
1. The Matthews
Clay Matthews Sr.: Played four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.
Clay Matthews Jr.: Played 19 seasons and was a 4x Pro Bowl selection..
Clay Matthews III: A first round pick that is currently playing for the Green Bay Packers. Is a 4x Pro Bowl selection.
Bruce Mathews: Played 19 seasons and was a 14x Pro Bowl selection.
Kevin Mathews: Signed in 2010. Currently plays for the Tennessee Titans.
Casey Matthews: Drafted in 2011. Currently plays for the Philadelphia Eagles.
When you talk about something being 'in the blood', you rarely get as good of an example as the Matthews, who must have pigskin coursing through their veins. A three generation heritage of quality NFL players spread out among different family members has any male sports fan clamoring to take their daughters down to wherever the Matthews live and arrange a marriage. Considering track record, any kid that union creates would ultimately have a great show at landing a NFL gig.
Photo Credit: getty
James LeBeau is a contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.