Primary players: Bruce Matthews, Clay Matthews Jr., Clay Matthews III
Years active: 1950-present
Did you know: Bruce Matthews and his brother Clay Jr. hold the records for most NFL games by an offensive lineman and linebacker, respectively.
Bottom line: No other family can match the depth and excellence of the Matthews clan, which makes them the first family of football.
Three different generations (so far) have passed through the NFL dating back to Clay Sr., who played four seasons in the 1950s with service time in the Korean War in between.
His eldest son Clay Jr. was a four-time Pro Bowler ,who has the third-most tackles in NFL history, while younger son Bruce is on the short list for the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history. Bruce racked up 14 Pro Bowls, an NFL record, and played all five positions along the line.
The third generation consists of Clay Matthews III, who is the Packers’ franchise leader in sacks and could be headed to Canton as well. Clay’s cousin Jake is a Pro Bowl lineman with the Falcons, and two other third-generation Matthews have also played in the NFL.
Rounding out the Matthews family is a non-Matthews, Troy Niklas, Bruce’s nephew by way of marriage.
So eight different players from a single family have played in the NFL.