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Fathers pass the legacy (and the ball) to their sons

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Recent posts by Eli Kaberon

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By Eli Kaberon

It's a tradition likely as old as football itself: Father and son, heading out to the yard to toss a ball around.

While millions of families engage in the pastime, there are a few who have turned the game of backyard catch into a career. According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, there have been 187 father-son tandems that have played pro football. Of those, both generations of players were quarterbacks in the NFL seven times. That exclusive list includes a handful of Super Bowl winners, a current and future Hall of Famer and even a nominee for vice president of the United States.

In honor of Father's Day, here are the seven father-son passing duos, ranked in order of total passing yards they've thrown for in their pro career.

1. Archie and Peyton Manning / 78,739 yards — Dad Archie was a good quarterback on some awful teams, playing 14 years, mostly with the Saints. Though he was twice named to the Pro Bowl, the elder Manning only won 35 career games. The second of his three sons, Peyton, the No. 1 pick in the 1998 draft, has been a bit more successful. In 13 pro seasons, the Colts QB has been named to the AFC Pro Bowl 11 times and won three PFW/PFWA MVP awards. He also led Indianapolis to a title in Super Bowl XLI.

2. Archie and Eli Manning / 46,557 yards — While his middle son is going to be remembered as an all-time great, Archie's youngest offspring isn't too bad himself. Also a No. 1 pick, Eli was selected first in 2004 by the Chargers before being dealt to the Giants during the draft. In his seven seasons in New York, Eli has helped the team reach the postseason three times, including the Giants' unlikely Super Bowl championship run in 2008.

3. Bob and Brian Griese / 44,532 yards — Bob Griese joined the Dolphins in 1967 and was immediately named the starting quarterback. Head coach Don Shula came aboard three years later, and together the duo helped Miami become one of the NFL's premier teams, winning Super Bowls VII and VIII before Griese retired in 1980. Bob was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990. His son, Brian, was a great college player, guiding the University of Michigan to the National Championship in 1997, but he couldn't duplicate his father's pro success. Brian played for four teams during his 11-year career, with his best season coming as a Bronco in 2000, when he led the NFL in passer rating at 102.9.

4. Phil and Chris Simms / 36,579 yards — Though he didn't post standout numbers, Phil Simms helped the Giants emerge as a powerhouse team in the 1980s, guiding it to a win in Super Bowl XXI. He was also the QB for much of the 1990 season that ended in another championship, but he broke his foot in December and missed the playoffs. After retiring in 1993, Phil has become a broadcaster and has been able to watch his son, Chris, play. The younger Simms has only started more than five games once since he was drafted in '03, and did not take a snap last season.

5. Jack and Jeff Kemp / 27,448 — Before passing bills as a nine-time House representative and being on a presidential ticket as Bob Dole's running mate, Jack Kemp was a passing star for the Bills. A seven-time Pro Bowler and one of the first great players of the AFL, Jack played from 1957-69, mainly in Buffalo. He finished in the top five in AFL passing yards five times prior to moving to politics. His son, Jeff, became a pro in '81 with the Rams, the team he earned the majority of his starts with during his 10-year career.

6. David and Charlie Whitehurst / 6,712 yards — Save for some limited action in 2010, nearly all of the Whitehursts' combined yardage comes courtesy of David, who led the Packers in the late 70s and early 80s. Problems throwing interceptions (51 in his career, compared to only 28 touchdowns) limited his success in Green Bay. Charlie's opportunity may come in 2011 after starting two games for the Seahawks down the stretch last year. The first four seasons of the younger Whitehurst's career were spent in San Diego, where Charlie never threw a regular-season pass for the Chargers.

7. Emery and Kent Nix / 4,196 yards — World War II interrupted Emery's career with the Giants, as he saw the field in 1943 and '46. He also played defensive back for New York. His son played six seasons, mostly with Pittsburgh in the late '60s.

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