At that time, they'll give dad a gift only 159 sons have presented before -- following in his footsteps as NFL players.
Dallas Cowboys linebacker BOBBY CARPENTER is one of those rookies.
When he takes the field against Jacksonville on Kickoff Sunday on September 10, it will be the payoff for all the hard work and dedication instilled in him by his father ROB, a 10-year NFL running back for the Houston Oilers (1977-81), New York Giants (1981-85) and Los Angeles Rams (1986).
Rob Carpenter ingrained those traits in his son early, on and off the football field. At an age where the internet, cable TV and cell phones are the norm in households across America, the elder Carpenter would not permit such "distractions" under his roof. This low-tech upbringing helped mold Bobby - an Ohio State graduate (BS, Economics) -- into the type of prospect NFL coaches and scouts love: a versatile, hard-working athlete who is physically and mentally mature.
While many kids were sitting in front of their TVs, Bobby was outside tossing the football with his brothers, or studying game tape as early as the seventh grade - all under the watchful eye of his dad, who also was his coach from junior high until graduation from Lancaster (Ohio) High School.
''People always ask me about a special play by Bobby or one of his games that stands out in my memory, but I don't really have one," says Rob. ''His big plays -- the sacks, the interceptions, the hits -- that's all fine and good, but really, I just like watching him every play. Every play he's in a 'football' position. Coaches love to see that in a player."
One coach who will love to see Bobby in position on the field and studying film off it is his new head coach BILL PARCELLS, who also coached Rob 20-some years ago with the Giants. Like his father, Bobby already has been tabbed a "Parcells Guy" by the media, and while the rookie shows a deep sense of respect towards the reference, he is not quite prepared to assume the label and responsibility that comes with it before proving himself on the field.
"I wouldn't characterize myself as one of those guys yet," says Bobby. "I believe that's something that's got to be earned, but I'm looking forward to the opportunity. My dad says Bill Parcells always valued hard work, and that's something that I'm going to bring to the table every day."
The other rookies this year who can join the NFL fathers-sons list are Oakland linebacker THOMAS HOWARD, son of former Kansas City and St. Louis Cardinals linebacker THOMAS, SR.; Miami running back GERALD RIGGS, JR., son of former Atlanta and Washington running back GERALD, SR.; Seattle guard ROB SIMS, son of former Cleveland defensive tackle MICKEY; and San Diego quarterback CHARLIE WHITEHURST, son of former Green Bay quarterback DAVID.
There's another rookie son on an NFL roster who does not quite fit the above category, yet is also an offspring of a famous father - St. Louis Rams rookie JOHN DAVID WASHINGTON, a running back from Morehouse College. Pop is well-known actor DENZEL WASHINGTON, who has starred in numerous films and won Academy Awards for Best Actor in the police drama Training Day in 2001 and Best Supporting Actor for Glory in 1989. He also portrayed intense football coach HERMAN BOONE in Remember the Titans.
"Remember the Titans was real,'' laughs J.D. in equating the toughness shown by his father in the movie with real life when he coached his son in Pop Warner. "That wasn't acting. That is what it was for me, too. When he coached, he was tough. We were hitting all the time.''
* * * *
There have been 147 father-son pairs and threesomes that have played in the NFL. The list includes names such as DORSETT (Tony and Anthony); FARR (Mel, Sr.; Mel, Jr.; and Mike); JONES (Dub and Bert); KIICK (George and Jim); KRAMER (Jerry and Jordan); KLECKO (Joe and Dan); MANNING (Archie, Peyton and Eli); MATTHEWS (Clay, Sr.; Clay, Jr.; and Bruce); METCALF (Terry and Eric); and SHULA (Don, Dave and Mike).
The Patriots have a history of father-son combinations over the years. Here are a list of past and present Patriots father-son duos and threesomes (with current players denoted by an asterisk):
Julius DE 1971-87 New England Patriots
Keith LB 2001-02 Dallas Cowboys, 2003-05 Philadelphia Eagles, 2006 Carolina Panthers *
Sam, Sr. G 1972-80 New England Patriots
Sam, Jr. DT 1994-99 Seattle Seahawks, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens, 2002 Oakland Raiders, 2003-2005 Buffalo Bills, 2006 Cincinnati Bengals *
Hank G 1955, 1958 Green Bay Packers, (1956-57 military service), (Head Coach: 1978 New
England Patriots, 1985-86 Buffalo Bills)
Chuck LB 1993-94 Miami Dolphins
Chuck RB 1973-79 Minnesota Vikings, 1980 New England Patriots
Jay LB 1999-01 Buffalo Bills, 2002-04 Houston Texans, 2005 Oakland Raiders, 2006 New
Orleans Saints *
Tom LB 1972-74 Denver Broncos, 1974 Kansas City Chiefs, 1975-77 San Diego Chargers, 1978
Daniel TE 2002-present New England Patriots *
Herb T 1951 New York Giants
John G 1973-85 New England Patriots
Charley T-GDE 1977-82 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1983-88 Los Angeles Raiders
Richard DB 1970 Philadelphia Eagles, 1971 New Orleans Saints
Richard LB 1990-91 New England Patriots, 1992-93 Buffalo Bills, 1994 Denver Broncos,
1995-98 New Orleans Saints, 1999 Oakland Raiders
Don TE 1977-83 New England Patriots, 1983 Los Angeles Raiders, 1984 Minnesota Vikings,
1985 New York Giants
Matt QB 1998-2000 Green Bay Packers, 2001-present Seattle Seahawks *
Tim QB 2002 Philadelphia Eagles, 2003-04 Washington Redskins, 2005-present New York
Joe DL 1977-87 New York Jets, 1988 Indianapolis Colts
Dan DT 2003-present New England Patriots *
John DT 1966-67 Boston Patriots
John DB 1990-98 Chicago Bears
Kris TE 1997-present Carolina Panthers *
Richard DT 1969-70 Green Bay Packers
Brandon T 1993-95 New England Patriots
George II T 1931 Providence Steam Roller (grandfather)
George III DT 1965 Boston Patriots (father)
Jim C 1994-97 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1998 Detroit Lions, 1999-00 Cleveland Browns, 2001
Philadelphia Eagles, 2002 Indianapolis Colts (son)
Jack LB 1960, 1962-65 Boston Patriots, 1966 Miami Dolphins
Coleman DE-DT 1993-94 New York Jets, 1994-96 New York Giants
Gerhard RB 1960-61 Boston Patriots
Scott WR 1987-90 Miami Dolphins, 1990 San Diego Chargers
Mosi RB 1978-1990 New England Patriots, 1991 L.A. Rams
Lofa LB 2005-present Seattle Seahawks *
Ed DT-LB 1967-69 Boston Patriots
Ed RB 1992-94 Indianapolis Colts, 1995 Pittsburgh Steelers
Ted LB 1973-82 Houston Oilers
Ted NT-DE 1991-93 San Francisco 49ers, 1994 Denver Broncos, 1995-00 Buffalo Bills, 2001-02
Chicago Bears, 2003 New England Patriots, 2004-2005 Oakland Raiders, 2006 Cleveland