There is nothing in this world more enjoyable than sports, and there is no better way to enjoy sports than with your father. For the Sports Debaters, we can give all the credit for our love and interest in sports to our fathers Bruce and Peter. So first off, Happy Father’s Day! Memories from your first catch in the back yard, to the first sports team you ever tried out for, to the first trophy you ever won will stay with you forever and we just want to thank our father’s for pushing us and always being there for us for these momentous occasions. You may have seen either Bruce or Peter commenting on our articles trying to keep us on our toes and we couldn’t appreciate it more. This article is dedicated to them!
The baseball great Harmon Killebrew once said, “My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say”, “You’re tearing up the grass.” “We’re not raising grass,” my dad would reply, “we’re raising boys.” This is the sort of thing our fathers would have said, followed with a quick apology of course, so that is why this article is being written for them. Below is a handful of the greatest father-son athletes in their respective sports. The list is nearly endless so we chose one combination from 5 different sports and we would love it if you added to the comments page with famous duo’s that you think deserved to be on this list.
FOOTBALL: Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning
Three unbelievable quarterbacks with a combined 15 Pro-Bowl selections and 3 Superbowl victories, the Manning’s are without question the greatest father-son’s trio of all time. I know this article is for duo’s but how can you leave this family off of it. Archie had the unfortunate disadvantage of playing for a terrible team his entire career. Even though he had a losing record for his career, he was still respected as a very good quarterback. As for Peyton and Eli, if you don’t know about them then you are probably on the wrong website. Peyton is set to begin the second part of his career with his new team the Denver Broncos and Eli is coming of winning his second Superbowl. Both Eli and Peyton have proved to be not only great athletes on the field, but they both showed their surprisingly funny comedy chops in numerous commercials as well as both hosting Saturday Night Live.
BASEBALL: Ken Griffey Sr and Jr
These two amazing athletes not only mastered the same sport, but they actually played on the same team for a short period of time. Ken Griffey Sr. started his career with the Cincinnati Reds where he went on to make 3 all-star teams and won back-to-back World Series (1975-76). After traveling through the Yankees, Braves and back to the Reds, KG Sr went on to finish his storied career with the Seattle Mariners. His final move to Seattle was historic because it paired him with his son Ken Griffey Jr. I am sure that even Senior would admit that his son definitely had one up on him. Junior, or “The Kid”, was one of the best all-around baseball players of all time. 6th on the list for most home runs ever and 10 Gold Gloves playing Center Field make Junior a shoe-in for Cooperstown. After his retirement, the Associated Press went on to say, “In his prime, Ken Griffey Jr. was unanimously considered the best player in baseball.”
BASKETBALL: Joe and Kobe Bryant
Joe “Jellybean” Bryant was the greatest NBA player to ever wear the #23…just kidding, but he did go on to have an above average career both playing and coaching. Drafted out of La Salle University by the Golden State Warriors, Jellybean went on to play for 3 different NBA teams and 5 different teams overseas between Italy and France. He has most recently found himself as a coach in the WNBA for the Los Angeles Sparks during the 2011-12 season. Now I don’t know if you have ever heard of his son, Kobe Bryant, but he is pretty good. Kobe has won 5 NBA Championships and continues to be one of the best players in the NBA year after year. He has made 14 all-star games and went on to win the NBA MVP back in 2008. Kobe will go down as not only one of the best players in Lakers history, but NBA history as well.
HOCKEY: Bobby and Brett Hull
Bobby Hull is considered the greatest left winger to ever play the game and arguably the best player period. Bobby was famous for his blonde hair, blinding skating speed, and having the hardest shot, which is how he earned the nickname “The Golden Jet.” He won the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Black Hawks back in 1961 and went on to lead the league in goal scoring a remarkable 7 times in the sixties. Bobby was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983. Bobby’s son Brett wasn’t too shabby himself. Brett has the third most goals in NHL history (741), with one of them being the game winning goal on Dominik Hasek to win the 1999 Stanley Cup, which was the first one in the Dallas Stars history. Brett went on to win the Cup with the Red Wings in 2002 and was appropriately nicknamed after his father as “The Golden Brett.” Brett joined his father in the Hall of Fame in 2009.
NASCAR: Dale Earnhardt Sr and Jr
Dale Earnhardt Sr is without question one of the greatest race car drivers of all time. During the course of his career, Earnhardt won a total of 76 races, including the Daytona 500 in 1998. He earned seven championships, which is tied for the most all time with NASCAR great, Richard Petty. His aggressive driving style earned him the nickname “The Intimidator,” as well as leading to his tragic death after a horrific crash while racing in the 2001 Daytona 500. His son continued the family legacy by building a respectable career of his own. With an estimated net worth of $300 million, Junior has gone on to win the “Most Popular Driver Award,” a record 9 times. Junior won the Daytona 500 in 2004 and has done his best to honor his father in everything that he does.
We hope you enjoyed reading all of these great father-son duos in sports and we encourage you to call your fathers on a daily basis and remind them that it is them who have helped form who you are today. We also want to give a shout out to our grandfathers Herbert Simon and Eugene Riback, for they have been fathering way longer than our dads. Feel free to let us know about any other duos that you feel were unjustly left off this list and we just want to wish every father out there a Happy Father’s Day!
As a life long New York Jets fan, I have always suffered from an inferiority complex inflicted upon me by the New York Giants. My first few years of life took place in the Lawrence Taylor era and my earliest football memory is the Giants winning the Super Bowl in 1991. Since I’ve been alive, the Giants have played in 5 Super Bowls, winning 3 of them. The Jets have made it to three AFC Championship games, losing all of them but taking great pride in the fact that they made it as far as they did. As a result of my jealousy, I have always had a difficult time giving credit to the Giants. However, if there is one individual that is deserving of any accolades that may be thrown his way, it is Head Coach Tom Coughlin, and the Giants stepped up and finally took care of him yesterday.
Even though there has been rumors of Coughlin being fired almost every season he’s been a member of the Giants organization, he has always weathered the New York media storm. As recently as this past December, prior to the game against the Jets, the media was calling for his head if he was unable to lead the G men to the playoffs. Fast forward 6 games, including a Super Bowl victory later and Coach Coughlin is on a short list of the best coaches in the NFL. He has come a long way since being criticized by the likes of Tiki Barber, Jeremy Shockey and Michael Strahan for his militant demeanor. Coughlin has shown he contains the ability to adapt to an ever-changing league, and flat-out coach football players, putting his team in position to succeed year after year.
The Giants rewarded Coughlin with a three-year contract extension worth an additional $20 million on his current contract. Coughlin responded to the deal by saying “It has always been my belief that it is an honor and a privilege to be the head coach of the New York Giants, I’m thankful to John Mara and Steve Tisch and their families for their support and the recognition of what our players and coaches have accomplished. And I’m grateful for the working relationship Jerry Reese and I have. We’ve got a lot of work left to do.” In true Coughlin fashion, he ended the statement by saying that even though he has won 2 championships in the past 5 years, he will not get complacent, as he understands the demand of coaching in New York.
Coughlin is tied for 19th in regular season wins in NFL history. He has a career 142-114 regular season record, coupled with a 12-7 postseason mark. As all football fans know, not only did he win the Super Bowl in both 2007 and 2011, he did so in improbable fashion both years, as the Giants overcame obstacles that practically mirrored one another. If you ask most people who the best head coach in the league is, the answer would most likely be Bill Belichik. However, Coughlin seems to out coach him every time their teams matchup, including twice on the biggest stage. It is rare that any individual deserves 20 million dollars for any given profession, but in this case, I believe Coughlin has earned every penny the Giants are willing to give him.
Though many Jets fans enjoy Rex Ryan for what he is, we all understand that a major part of the attraction is his buffoonery. In every press conference, Ryan does everything he can to make the game about him, not the team. Ryan states that he brings all the attention onto himself to alleviate the pressure from his team, however it appears to me that Coach Ryan just plain loves being in the spotlight. Also, his foul language and propensity of flipping off fans at media sessions allows him to be popular with some sects of NFL fans, though it would be extremely difficult to find anyone willing to label him classy. Tom Coughlin is the polar opposite of Rex Ryan. Coughlin always carries a team first attitude, constantly stating that his team’s play is about the players, not him. Off the field, Coughlin has reached out to help others throughout his career. On May 23rd, Coughlin received the U.S. Army’s Outstanding Civilian Service Award for all of his work he has done in honoring veterans and active military members, including traveling to Afghanistan in the offseason a few years ago to pay his respects to our troops in person. In 1996, after Coughlin was introduced to a child with leukemia, and touched by his tragic passing, he started the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund to help support families with children who are suffering from leukemia and other types of cancer. Coughlin has helped to raise $5 million, and has touched the lives of over 1,000 families. When was the last feel good story anyone has heard involving Rex Ryan? No, satisfying men with foot fetishes by providing pornographic video of his wife does not count.
Coughlin has reached the pinnacle of his profession while so many others would have folded under the extreme pressure he has faced. He has outlasted all the players that have criticized and attempted to sabotage him in. He has the respect of his players, coaches, ownership and anybody affiliated with the NFL, and is an example of what every head coach should strive to be. With all that said, we all know that if the Giants get out to an 0-3 start this season, the “Fire Coughlin” chants will ring throughout Metlife Stadium. However, as he always does, Coach Coughlin will survive and eventually have the last laugh, even if his classy nature does not allow him to fully enjoy it.