NFL’s Pro Bowl Shaping Up as Father-Son Affair

NFL stars Clay Matthews, Peyton Manning and Matthew Slater are following their dads to the Pro Bowl.

A trio of football players (no, not that football, we mean American Handegg) will be going where their fathers were before them: The Pro Bowl.

The 2013 Pro Bowl rosterincludes Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, New England Patriots gunner, special teams captain Matthew Slater, and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who all have family ties with the sport and event.Matthews, Slater and Manning are three of only six active players who are part of a father-son duo to each make it to a Pro Bowl. While we can’t chalk it up to anything more than coincidence, we do love seeing dads come out of the woodwork from time to time.


AP Photo/David Stluka

Clay Matthews III wasn’t always a giant human being. His father, the defensive coordinator for Clay’s Southern California high school team (oh, and a four-time Pro Bowler for the Cleveland Browns) refused to start his son because he wasn’t as big as some of the other players. After working hard (and working out), Clay followed his father’s footsteps, becoming a walk-on at USC (2004-2008). Matthews was then drafted in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. To date, his career achievements include not just a Pro Bowl appearance, but an All-Pro selection and a Butkus Award. Oh, and he helped the Packers win Super Bowl XLV.

The Pro Bowl line doesn’t stop at dad, Clay Matthews Jr. Uncle Bruce Matthews was lineman for the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans and played in a record 14 consecutive Pro Bowls. And though not a Pro Bowler, grandfather, Clay Sr., also did his time in the NFL, playing for the San Francisco 49ers in the 1950′s.


Matthew Slater also has roots in Southern California. After a storied run on his high school team (and after securing still-standing records for the 100 and 200 meters on the track and field team), Slater moved onto UCLA (2003-2007), where he turned an injury-hampered start into school records for kickoff returns (34), return yards (986), and return touchdowns (3) in 2007. Slater was drafted in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots.

AP Photo/Winslow Townson

Matthew’s father, Jackie Slater, is a former NFL Hall of Fame offensive lineman who played 20 years for the Los Angeles Rams (okay, okay…his final year was for the St. Louis Rams). Jackie was a seven-time Pro Bowler.


Peyton Manning had a celebrated high school career in New Orleans. He surprised friends and family when he chose to attend the University of Tennessee instead of Ole Miss, his father’s alma mater. Peyton had a somewhat rocky college career in Tennessee, his team consistently underachieving despite Peyton piling up numerous individual achievements, including first-team All-American, the Maxwell Award, the Davey O’Brien Award, the Johnny Unitas Award, and the Best College Player ESPY award. Peyton even finished his degree in three years, and opted out of entering the 1997 NFL Draft, where he was projected to be the top pick.

Entering the 1998 NFL Draft instead, Peyton was picked first overall by the Indianapolis Colts. He had a successful career there, including 11 appearances in the Pro Bowl and MVP of Super Bowl XLI in the Colts’ win over the Chicago Bears. Peyton would later return to the Super Bowl in 2010, but lose to the New Orleans Saints. This season marks Peyton’s 15th year in the league, with a new team, the Denver Broncos.

Peyton’s father, Archie Manning III, played in the NFL from 1971 to 1982 for the New Orleans Saints, Houston Oilers and, finally, the Minnesota Vikings. His commendations include an All-Pro selection and two Pro Bowl appearances.


As mentioned, Matthews, Slater and Manning make up only three of the six active father-son duos to be selected to the Pro Bowl. The three others are Gill and Jairus Byrd, Kellen and Kellen Jr. Winslow, and – get this – Archie and Peyton’s brother, Eli Manning.


The following post was originally published at 8BitDad.

Photo: Michael Conroy/Associated Press

About Zach Rosenberg

Zach Rosenberg is a husband and father living in Southern California. He is co-founder of
fatherhood news site, and a contributor to You can also find him on Twitter @zjrosenberg.

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