Most certainly last year's pro football season for Latinos was definitely one of the most exciting, especially with the feats of rookie NFL quarterback Mark Sanchez leaving USC one year early to present his credentials as a future National Football League star. While Sanchez showed moments of brilliance winning his first three games, he struggled to stay on top of his game the remainder of the season but did manage to guide the New York Jets to the NFC Championship to defeat the San Diego Chargers in the 2009 playoffs. While often criticized much for his rookie mistakes, it wasn’t necessarily his passing that guided them to the NFC playoffs as much as it was the NY Jets league leading running attack; but Sanchez’ inspiring character and excitement for the game had much to do with a successful first season.
Hispanic football fans have much to be excited about next year and maybe for another decade or so as Mark Sanchez should mature into a true NFL Super star. His charm, personality and good looks will obviously garner him many commercials (which is good for companies wooing the Latino consumer) and Sanchez’ communications skills present potential for broadcasting and even movies down the line. It was a good article for Mark Sanchez but not necessarily for its writer Rob Kuznia, nor for Hispanic Business Magazine!
I don’t know Mr. Kunzia’s reporting background or how much football knowledge he may have; however, if a news reporter is going mention how only a few Hispanic quarterbacks have blazed a path of glory in professional football, how can you leave off the name of Tom Flores?
Yes, the names Tony Romo, Jim Plunkett and Joe Kapp bring back great memories of Hispanic quarterbacks (albeit one would have to have a deep interest in their ethnicity to know they are part Hispanic), unlike names like Jeff Garcia and Tony Gonzalez, recognizable Latino names. But, how do you leave off the name of Tom Flores?
Tom Flores, who is still a great part of professional football as a color man on the Raiders Radio Network, along with Greg Papa, was the first Hispanic quarterback to play professional football when he was signed by the Oakland Raiders in 1960 in the old American Football League. Flores wasn’t a dominating quarterback but still held most of the passing records for the Raiders for many years. He would later play for the Buffalo Bills and was the backup quarterback to Len Dawson on the 1970 Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs. Later as an assistant coach to John Madden he helps guide that 1977 team to a 32 to 14 Super Bowl victory against the Minnesota Vikings for his 2nd ring. Flores then win his third Super Bowl Ring in 1984 when then wild card Oakland Raiders rally against three formidable opponent in the playoffs and go on to crush the Philadelphia Eagles 27 to 10 after resuscitating former New England quarterback Jim Plunkett’s career in 1982. Tom Flores continues his coaching greatness and gets his 4th Super Bowl ring in 1985 by beating the Washington Redskins 38 to 9, this time as coach for the Los Angeles Raiders. Hall of Famer Marcus Allen is the MVP of that game. For that matter, the majority of Raiders that are in the NFL Hall of Fame are there to a great degree because of Tom Flores unique brand of inspiring his players.
If a noted magazine such as Hispanic Business can forget to mention in a legitimate story one of the greatest trail blazing Hispanics football heroes we have ever had, why should main stream media and the Hall of Fame voters even care?
Joe Ortiz, President
The Official Tom Flores Fan Club