Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rich Saul: Help A Brother Out, Wouldja?

Rich Saul was a six-time All-Something center -- someone has to play the position, remember -- who should not be confused with his brother Ron, though we're not sure why not.

Actually, the fact that there is a Saul brother (as opposed to a Skoal brother) to not confuse begs a different question, namely: which positions are most conducive to brothers (biologically related siblings if you please, not, you know, brothers)? If your hunch was that the positions most conducive to multiple family members of the same generation (oh, heck, let's just call them brothers) are those requiring only the ability to be consistently large, you would be right.

According to the Football HOF's list of football-playing brothers there are 157 offensive linemen who are brothers with other players -- most often other offensive linemen (though not always; leave us not forget the dynamic tandem of center Dan Turk and punter Matt Turk). This is 47 more than the next closest category, running backs, but when you figure that for what is now the majority of football history a team has played two running backs and five offensive linemen, the percentage is higher of running backs who are brothers with other players.

The overall lesson appears to be that large runs in the family, but running runs in the family, too.

As for the best of the brothers, the Matthews brothers and the Upshaws get the nod over the more highly publicized modern pairs like the Barbers, the Sharpes, the Mannings, and the Joneses, but here's a dark-horse pair to consider: Charlie Taylor and his half-brother Joe "Turkey" Jones. Taylor was a no-doubter HOFer and Jones played great D-line for the Browns and other teams for a decade. Once you get intergenerational, though, it's no contest: The Matthewses rule the day.

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