Super Bowl XLV Preview: Clay Matthews III To Write His Name in NFL History?

Jarrod ArgobrightCorrespondent IFebruary 4, 2011

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 23:  Quarterback Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears runs the ball ahead of Clay Matthews #52 of the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter of the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

It has been argued by many that Clay Matthews III, linebacker for the Green Bay Packers, should have won defensive player of the year.  Certainly he has the numbers to back up the claim, as he finished the season with 13 and a half sacks, five tackles for loss, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. 

Matthews, for his part, is the ultimate teammate, saying that the only thing that currently matters is helping his team win this Sunday's Super Bowl against the Pittsburgh Steelers.  It doesn't even bother him that the player he lost to in the voting for defensive POY, Troy Polamalu, plays for the team he will be facing.

Yet when these two teams face Sunday for what will be the NFL's 45th championship game, Matthews will be playing for something that no one else in his family has been able to accomplish.

Indeed, there are still probably more than a few people alive today who remember his grandfather, Clay Matthews, Sr.  More notable are Matthews' father, Clay, Jr, who played for 18 seasons as a linebacker for both the Cleveland Browns and the Atlanta Falcons, and his uncle, Bruce, who spent almost 20 seasons as an offensive lineman with the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans.

The Matthews clan has made a name for itself in football, as Bruce earned multiple Pro Bowl selections and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Clay Matthews, Jr. has also appeared in multiple Pro Bowls, yet he still has not been selected to the Hall of Fame.

But it is the younger Clay who will have his chance this Sunday to accomplish what the elder Matthews men could not, winning a Super Bowl.  Bruce came closest to accomplishing this feat when, in January of 2000, his Tennessee Titans fell six inches short of tying the St. Louis Rams.

So while all the normal hoopla of Super Bowl week surrounds the two teams as the descend upon Dallas, don't be surprised if it is a family affair for the Matthews, with bragging rights on the line for Clay the III.