Growing up and seeing a family member experience so much success can have a tough effect on an athlete. When one member of the family goes into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame, any offspring who shows up later has a lot to live up to. Some NFL players even see one of their brothers have success in the league and when it's their turn to shine, they simply can't live up to the foundation their family laid before them. Sometimes it's a question of talent not quite running throughout the family, while other times, a player does indeed have a lot of success, but it just doesn't measure up to what their family members did.
Today, we're going to be looking at some football players who couldn't quite live up to what their father did in the pros, as well as some players who fell short of the lofty expectations their siblings set.
From Green Bay Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers' younger brother, Jordan, to the late Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton (1954-1999) and his son, Jarrett, we're pretty sure you'll recognize at least a few of the times that I'll mention in my list. Let's take a look at 10 NFL players who lived in their father's shadow and 10 who lived in their brother's. Don't forget folks, there are many football families, but that doesn't mean that every male in the household will be able to make a name for himself as an NFL player.
20 Father's: Chris Long (Howie Long)
Chris Long may have never lived up to the lofty expectations of him being a second overall pick (drafted by the Rams in 2009) but nevertheless, he has experienced some success in the league. He's won a Super Bowl with two different teams (the 2016 Patriots and the 2017 Eagles) and he's provided some value to his teams rushing the passer. However, his father Howie was a bonafide star for the Oakland Raiders back in the '80s and early '90, making it to eight Pro Bowls and winning Defensive Player of the Year in 1985. While Chris can hang his hat on a solid career, no one will ever confuse him with a Hall of Famer.
19 Brother's: T.J. Watt (J.J. Watt)
Yes, J.J. Watt is also the older brother of T.J. Watt. The 24-year-old followed his older brother's footsteps as a college football player at Wisconsin and was later drafted 30th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2017 NFL Draft.
T.J., is the youngest brother out of the three Watt boys, so there's still plenty of time for him to become a big time star in the league. But odds are, he won't win Defensive Player of the Year twice, like J.J.. While it has been documented that the Watt boys had learned to turn their competitive drives to help each other get better in their respective positions, T.J. hasn't enjoyed quite the same amount of fame that his brother has, yet.
18 Father's: Brian Griese (Bob Griese)
Yes, it's a good thing that Brian Griese found work after football as a color commentator for ESPN College Football, but he's still known as "Bob Griese's son" to a lot of fans of the Hall of Fame quarterback.
Brian played college football at Michigan and then became a third-round pick of the Denver Broncos in the 1998 NFL Draft. Yeah, Brian had a rookie season that most guys can only dream about, but he wasn't a standout player on the Super Bowl XXXIII roster. It was actually John Elway who led the Broncos to a championship in 1998.
Brian was more of a career journeyman than an actual mainstay.
17 Brother's: David Carr (Derek Carr)
While many are now having their doubts as to whether Derek Carr himself is a true franchise quarterback, he's already shown more as a pro than his older brother David did.
Derek is the Raiders' starting quarterback and garnered a lot of attention after an MVP caliber season in 2016 and subsequently signing a five-year, $125 million contract extension with $40 million fully guaranteed.
David, on the other hand, has been dubbed as "one of the biggest draft busts in NFL history." The former quarterback was drafted first overall by the Houston Texans in the 2002 NFL Draft, but became a free agent after just four years in H-Town, and never found a stable job as an NFL player after that. So now, he's clearly in Derek's shadow.
16 Father's: Jerry Rice Jr. (Jerry Rice)
Jerry Rice Jr. is the only son of Hall of Fame quarterback Jerry Rice. Having the best wide receiver in NFL history as a father obviously cast a huge shadow on his son, especially given that Rice Jr. played the same position, and shared the same name.
The 27-year-old may be a young man, but he's already a former wide receiver after going undrafted in the 2014 NFL Draft following a career at UCLA and UNLV, respectively.
Rice Jr. signed with the Washington Redskins in 2014, but was waived by the team in May 2015. Rice Jr. would get a couple more tryouts in the NFL before After that, the UNLV alumnus went to the CFL, only to be released by the Montreal Alouettes a year later.
15 Brother's: Boss Bailey (Champ Bailey)
Remember 12-time Pro Bowler Champ Bailey? Probably. Does anybody remember former Detroit Lions and Denver Broncos cornerback Boss Bailey? Probably not.
For those of you who don't recall the latter, Boss received honorable mention All-America honors at Charlton County High School, thanks to USA Today. Boss became a three-year starter at Georgia and then a Lions' second-round pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. Boss spent four years in Detroit and one year in Denver before being released by the Broncos in June 2009. Boss didn't have much of a career in the NFL, while seeing his brother have a Hall of Fame career.
14 Father's: Nate Montana (Joe Montana)
Nate Montana is the son of Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, who was best known for being a member of the San Francisco 49ers from 1979 to 1992. Unlike the 49ers rosters we've seen the past few years, San Francisco was a dynasty back then. SF won a total of five Super Bowl championships, four of which featured Joe in his prime.
Nate, however, was unable to walk in his father's footsteps (how could he?) for a lengthy amount of time. Well, Nate did play high school and college football, but he went undrafted in the 2013 NFL Draft and never signed with an NFL team after that.
13 Brother's: Mike Golic (Bob Golic)
Mike Golic is a talented man who serves as the current host of Golic and Wingo on ESPN Radio. However, Mike didn't have much of a career in the NFL, a league he played in from 1985 to 1993.
Mike's the younger brother of Bob Golic, a former NFL player who was a star defensive tackle. Not only that, Bob was a three-time Pro Bowler from 1985 to 1987 and a two-time All-Pro in back-to-back years of 1985 and 1986. Like Mike, Bob pursued an entertainment-related career in his post-retirement life, but Bob was definitely a more memorable NFL player compared to his younger brother.
12 Father's: Kellen Winslow II (Kellen Winslow Sr.)
Kellen Winslow II is the second for a reason. Winslow II played the same position—tight end—as his father, but never stacked up to Kellen Winslow. Winslow has been dubbed as one of the greatest tight ends of all-time. Winslow played his entire NFL career with the San Diego Chargers from 1979 to 1987 and was named to five Pro Bowls along with four All-Pro teams.
Winslow II never played for the Chargers, but it didn't really matter anyway. Winslow II's longest stint was with the Cleveland Browns from 2004 to 2008 soon after they selected him sixth overall in the 2004 NFL Draft. Winslow II was a decent TE for the most part, but he wasn't that great like his dad.
11 Brother's: Marcus Vick (Michael Vick)
Most fans probably don't even remember Marcus Vick and after seeing the electrifying player Michael was, we can't blame them. Marcus's NFL career amounted to playing one game for the Miami Dolphins back in 2006.
Marcus was a versatile football player who could've play quarterback, wide receiver and return specialist. After a college football career at Virginia Tech, Marcus declared for the 2006 NFL Draft, but went undrafted. A lot of personal troubles got in the way of what he could've done to better his career, but unfortunately Marcus couldn't stay out of trouble and didn't get the second chance his more talented brother got.
10 Father's: Matt Simms (Phil Simms)
Football runs in the Simms family, but I'm sorry to say that Matt hasn't reached the level of his father, Phil, or even his older brother, Chris; both of whom had longer careers in the NFL as quarterbacks.
In a nutshell, Matt played three years of high school football at Don Bosco Preparatory High School, concluded his college football career at Tennessee and went undrafted in the 2012 NFL Draft. Yes, Matt signed with a few teams, but he was either released or waived by those teams. Matt currently plays for Memphis Express of the AAF, so he's still playing football, but obviously, he's not in his dad's league.
9 Brother's: Jamie Sharper (Darren Sharper)
Unlike most of the other brother pairs on the list, Jamie Sharper, the less talented brother, is the older brother of Darren Sharper. The latter was a five-time Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl XLIV champion, but his post-retirement life was far from the greatest as has been well documented the past couple of years.
Both brothers were second-round picks. While Jamie was a XXXV champion, he still floats around in Darren's shadow when it comes to media coverage surrounding him and his accomplishments in and out of football. At least Jamie's post NFL life seems to have gone better.
8 Father's: Chris Simms (Phil Simms)
Let's take a look at Matt Simms' brother Chris Simms.
Chris, as we've mentioned in a previous entry, also played as a quarterback in the NFL. Chris played college football at Texas, became a third-round pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, and spent seven years in the NFL before being cut by the Tennessee Titans' roster in 2010.
Chris managed to surpass Matt, but not Papa Simms, also known as Phil. Phil was a former New York Giants QB, two-time Super Bowl champion, Super Bowl XXI MVP, two-time Pro Bowl selection and 1986 First-Team All-Pro. Phil wrote up quite a resume and Chris just wasn't able to follow through.
7 Brother's: Eric Moss (Randy Moss)
Eric Moss is the older half brother of Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss. As fans should already know, Randy was one of the best receivers in NFL history and arguably the greatest receiver of his generation. Randy is a six-time Pro Bowl selection, four-time All-Pro selection and a 1998 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Also, Randy was also a five-time NFL receiving touchdowns leader.
Eric, however, had a short-lived career in the NFL. Eric played as an offensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings in 1997, but he never suited up for a game. Eric had a brief stint with the Scottish Claymores as a guard in NFL Europe in 1999 before parting ways with football.
6 Father's: Anthony Dorsett Jr. (Tony Dorsett)
The Dallas Cowboys obviously have a decorated history at running back, from Emmitt Smith, to Herschel Walker to Tony Dorsett. Dorsett was one of the premier running backs of his generation and is a Hall of Famer, winning a Super Bowl with the Cowboys, making four Pro Bowls and being a First-Team All-Pro.
His son Anthony played in the NFL as a safety and obviously had something to offer, but never grew into a star. He managed to make two Super Bowls, losing them both, once as a member of the Tennessee Titans, and another while with the Oakland Raiders.
5 Brother's: Tim Hasselbeck (Matt Hasselbeck)
Tim Hasselbeck is the younger brother of Matt Hasselbeck. Both brothers played in the NFL as quarterbacks, but Matt had the upper hand in football as he played in the league for 15 years compared to Tim's six years.
Tim didn't accomplish a lot of things in the pros after playing college football at Boston College, but at least he can be proud that he was a Scanlan Award Winner in 2000 and World Bowl X champion in 2002.
Still, Tim doesn't hold a candle to his three-time Pro Bowl selection older brother who led the Seattle Seahawks to six postseason appearances, as well as a Super Bowl appearance during his tenure from 2001 to 2010.
4 Father's: Bryan Cox Jr. (Bryan Cox Sr.)
To be fair, Bryan Cox Jr. is only 24 years old, so there's plenty of time for him to hone his skills on the field; but he hasn't been anywhere near his father, Bryan Cox, in his career thus far.
The 24-year-old was rated the No. 66 player in the state of Florida in high school, committed to Florida and went undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Cox Jr. was promoted to the Panthers' active roster in September 2017, but he hasn't made much headlines for his performances as a defensive end. Cox fared well with three Pro-Bowl selections and three All-Pro nominations in his 11-year career in the NFL.
3 Brother's: Jordan Rodgers (Aaron Rodgers)
Fans know who Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is, but if one doesn't watch much reality television, they likely haven't heard of his younger brother Jordan Rodgers, who starred in season 12 of The Bachelorette.
Aside from reality TV, Jordan is a former quarterback who played in the NFL and CFL in a two-year span. Jordan went undrafted in the 2013 NFL Draft following a college career at Vanderbilt. That's not to say that Jordan was a bad player, but he just sputtered in the pros. Today, Jordan works as an analyst on the SEC Network, while his brother continues building a HOF resume.
2 Father's: Jarrett Payton (Walter Payton)
Time to switch gear to the other side of the Midwestern rivalry between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears. Jarrett Payton is the son of the late Walton Payton, but never amounted to the greatness of his father. It would've been darn near impossible to do so, considering how Walter is arguably the greatest running back to ever play the game.
Jarrett played college football at Miami (Fla.), but went undrafted in the 2005 NFL Draft. The only NFL team that Jarrett played for was the Tennessee Titans in 2005. Other than that, Jarrett played for quite a few CFL and IFL teams.
1 Brother's: Eli Manning (Peyton Manning)
This was something that the media always ate up. Peyton Manning is undoubtedly one of the best QBs to ever play the game but when Eli Manning was being hyped up as the no.1 pick in the 2004 draft, many felt he could eventually surpass his brother, who had already ascended as a top star in the NFL by 2004.
Eli of course, has his two Super Bowl rings, which came via huge victories over Tom Brady, featuring two signature game winning drives, but when looking at Peyton's body of work, there's really no comparison.
There's debate as to whether Eli will make it to the Hall of Fame, but there's no debate that Peyton's going to Canton. Thus, Eli will have to forever live in Peyton's shadow. At least they each have two rings.