Well, how about that? Super Bowl brothers! Not unlike Soul Brothers! I was listening to my local talk radio the other day and the two hosts were amazed at the fact that two brothers would be squaring off as coaches in this year’s Super Bowl. “What are the odds,” they asked? They wanted to get a mathematician to calculate the odds on this first-time occurrence. To me, yeah, it is special but when you take a closer look around the NFL, it could actually happen quite often. Call it the National Family League.
First, you’ve got the twins, Rex and Rob Ryan. Rex is the one with the tattoo and Rob is the one waiting for five minutes to pass so that he can get his next job. Sure, right now, Rob is just a defensive coordinator, but the move to head coach can happen overnight.
How about Chuck and John Pagano? Chuck’s the head coach of the Colts and John runs the defense in San Diego — and is a riser in the coaching ranks.
The Bengals give us a couple of options. Defensive line coach Jay Hayes and his brother, tight ends coach Jonathan Hayes. The tight end Hayes played 12 seasons in the NFL and has coached in the league for 10 years now, while his brother Jay has coached for the Steelers, Vikings and now the Bengals. The wildcard on the staff is offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, who made the rounds interviewing for vacant head coaching positions recently. If Jay bags a head coaching job it wouldn’t take much effort for brother John to step out of the Monday Night Football booth and back onto the sideline.
A recent addition to the list of possible sibling combatants are the Garretts, Jason and John. Jason will no longer calls plays in Dallas and his brother, who was the Cowboys’ tight ends coach and passing game coordinator, just relaocated to Tampa as the receivers coach.
There’s another possible bit of fun for the National Family League. Father-Son Day used to mean taking your kid to work for a day. Now it is the way business is done in he NFL.
Mike and Kyle Shannahan in Washington got the Redskins back into the playoffs with RGIII. Pete Carroll bounced the Redskins out of the playoffs, with his son Nate Carroll serving as a defensive assistant. Veteran running backs coach Jim Skipper just signed on with the Carolina Panthers, while his son Kelly holds down the same position with the Oakland Raiders. Norv Turner signed on with Cleveland Browns and his son Scott Turner will coach the wide receivers. Former Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin let his dad go from USC and it didn’t take long for Monte to land back in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys.
We always talk about those coaching trees, where the assistants of legendary coach turn into winners themselves. Well, some apples don’t fall far from the tree for a more obvious reason. So how about a hearty salute to old Jack Harbaugh, father of Jim and John!
– James Lofton
James Lofton is the analyst for Westwood One’s coverage of Sunday Night Football. Next week, James will be positioned on the San Francisco 49ers sideline as our NFC reporter. Our game day coverage from New Orleans begins with Super Bowl Preview at 3 PM Eastern and continues with Super Sunday and the pregame show at 4 PM Eastern. For complete details, click here.