The odds that anyone makes the NFL are astronomical. The odds that brothers have the drive, athleticism, skill, and luck to both make the league are unfathomable. While the odds are against two brothers making it all the way to the pinnacle of pro football, it does happen occasionally, and the New York Jets Quincy and Quinnen Williams are perfect examples of this.
The Williams brothers, both third-year NFL players, reunited for the first time since high school on the Jets this season. In Week 4, the two siblings made history by teaming up to terrorize the Tennessee Titans’ Ryan Tannehill.
Quincy and Quinnen Williams go from Alabama to the Big Apple
Quincy Williams and his “little” brother Quinnen Williams took very different paths to the NFL.
The brothers grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, and both attended Wenonah High School. That’s where their paths to pro ball diverged.
At 5-foot-11, 225 pounds, Quincy left his home state to play linebacker at the FCS school Murray State in Kentucky. He redshirted his first year on campus and, in his next three seasons, started more games and made more tackles every year, per GoRacers.com. In 2019, the Jacksonville Jaguars picked the athletic but raw linebacker in the third round.
Quinnen Williams might be Qunicy’s younger brother, but he’s not a little brother by any means at 6-foot-3, 303-pounds. Coming out of high school, he was a unanimous four-star recruit, and the No. 1 ranked defensive lineman in the country, according to RollTide.com.
Quinnen stayed in-state and attended the University of Alabama, where he played for Nick Saban. He redshirted his first year and was a rotational player in his first season. In his second season, the younger Williams brother broke out. He won the Outland Trophy as the best interior lineman in the country and was first-team All-America and All-SEC.
The New York Jets took Quinnen No. 3 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft.
After two seasons in Jacksonville, the Jaguars cut Quincy, and the Jets swooped in and signed their star lineman’s older brother for the 2021 season.
Quincy and Quinnen Williams made history for the New York Jets against the Tennessee Titans
While brothers making the NFL is rare, siblings playing on the same team is even rarer. It does occasionally happen, though. Lyle and Glenn Blackwood both played for the Miami Dolphins in the 1980s, and more recently, the McCourty twins, Jason and Devin, both played for the New England Patriots.
This season, the Williams brothers are not only playing on the same team. They are both starting for the New York Jets.
Last Sunday, against the Tennessee Titans, the brothers got their first win together since high school, they both played well, and they made history.
Both Quincy and Quinnen Williams sacked Tennessee QB Ryan Tannehill in a Jets 24-27 overtime victory in front of their home crowd. This represented the first time ever that brothers recorded sacks in the same game for the same team.
Quinnen said of his brother’s first career NFL sack, “It’s dope, just knowing that he got his first sack. I try to get sacks every week. That’s my job,” per ESPN.
It had to be a proud moment for their father Quincy Williams, Sr., and their youngest brother Giovanni and sister Ciele. The Williams brothers’ mother, Marquischa Henderson Williams, died in 2010 of breast cancer, which makes the fact that her sons made history at the beginning of the NFL’s Crucial Catch – Intercept Cancer campaign.
The best brothers in NFL history
While the New York Jets’ Quincy and Quinnen Williams are making NFL siblings history, they have a ways to go to become the best brothers to ever play in the NFL.
There have been a handful of excellent brothers in the NFL over the years. In addition to the Blackwood’s and the McCourty’s, Dustin and Britton Colquitt are both excellent NFL punters, defensive end Chris and offensive lineman Kyle Long followed their dad Howie into the NFL, and Thomas and Julius Jones were both solid running backs in the early 2000s.
There are two excellent sets of brothers playing in the NFL today. Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce are both All-Pros at their positions. Arizona Cardinals DE J.J. Watt and the Pittsburgh Steelers pass-rushing LB T.J. Watt have also both made All-Pro teams while racking up a combined 155.5 career sacks.
Twin brothers Tiki (New York Giants running back) and Ronde (Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back) Barber and the pass-catching duo of WR Sterling and TE Shannon Sharpe are in the mix for best retired NFL brothers of all-time.
Still, these four excellent sets of brothers ultimately come in second, third, fourth, and fifth in some order.
The best-ever NFL bros have to be Eli and Peyton Manning. The two were among the best QBs of their generation and have four Super Bowl titles between them. They also get bonus points for hilarious commercials and Saturday Night Live appearances, as well as their excellent new Monday Night Football alternate broadcast.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference