It was unique when Bob and Mike Golic did it in 1978 and 1984 respectively.
This, however, is astronomically unlikely to occur again at Notre Dame.
With the selection of center Nick Martin as one of five Irish captains for the 2015 season, Notre Dame now has siblings (Zack in 2012-13) that have served as two-time captains.
“It’s very cool,” said Nick Thursday night with the news still unbeknownst to family members. “We know it’s special, but it might be one of those things that (you don’t fully appreciate) until down the road. It’s a sense of pride.”
Nick Martin learned from the best. He arrived at Notre Dame as a freshman in 2011 as Zack was in the second of an incredible four straight seasons of starting every game for the Irish.
Nick, who worked at tackle before becoming an interior lineman, watched, listened and learned.
“When I was younger, my brother and Chris Watt were unbelievable leaders,” Nick said. “When you’re younger and you have people like that, not only on your team but in your position group, you’ve got to learn from them. If you don’t, you’re not doing it right.”
Big brother Zack and Watt weren’t the only positive influences on the shaping of Nick’s football life.
“I learned from my older brother Josh and my dad about on how to handle situations,” Martin said. “That’s where it starts.”
With each question pertaining to the uniqueness of having four defensive captains and just one on the offensive side of the ball, Martin repeatedly deflects the notion that he’s the lone leader on his unit.
“As Coach (Brian Kelly) has said, there are a lot more guys that could (be captains),” Martin said. “This team has unbelievable leaders and everyone knows that, which is good because you always have a guy to turn to.
“Ronnie Stanley, Malik (Zaire), Chris Brown…Everyone knows (they’re leaders). It’s not a secret. There are a lot of leaders on the offensive side.”
Martin didn’t hide in his role as captain in 2014, but it became progressively more difficult to serve as a leader as he battled a nasty thumb injury that forced his move from center to guard.
“Nick Martin was named a captain last year and he had to fight through a very difficult injury,” Kelly said. “It was difficult most of the season just to get healthy.
“You can see this year how he’s been able to lead not only the offensive line but the entire offense. It’s great to watch him lead and be such an integral part of what we’re doing offensively. (He’s) a great representative on and off the field.”
Martin never did talk much about the thumb injury last season, which is a badge of honor that Harry Hiestand’s offensive linemen wear. Never let the opponent know you’re hurting. Move forward and don’t look for excuses. If you can play, you’re not injured.
“I had to zone in and really focus on my game, and sometimes (the injury) made it difficult (to lead),” Martin said. “But you have to be the same guy every day and be consistent. If you’re the guy they turn to, you’ve got to be ready to go.”
With the opener against Texas looming, Martin isn’t spending much time admiring his captain accomplishment. But he does have a sense for what the achievement with his brother Zack represents.
“It’s special, especially at a university like this,” Martin said. “With this tradition, it puts a lot on your shoulders, but that’s what you want.
“You represent not just yourself, not just your coaching staff, not just the fans, but the ex-players. At a place with this kind of tradition, it’s unbelievable.”
So, too, is the incredible accomplishment of Zack and Nick Martin.