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The Son of Mexican Field Workers, Tom Flores Became the First Latino Coach to Win a Super Bowl

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, the only Latino head coach currently in the NFL, is getting some much-deserved attention for leading his team to this year’s Super Bowl – and a nearly undefeated regular season record. If Rivera’s Panthers win the game, the Puerto Rican-Mexican Rivera won’t be the first Latino coach to win a Super Bowl. That distinction belongs to Tom Flores.

Flores actually has lots of “firsts” under his belt: he was the first Latino quarterback to start in the AFL, he was the first Latino head coach to win a Super Bowl and he was the first Latino general manager in the NFL.

Despite his success as a coach, the 78-year-old Flores hasn’t been inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Credit: George Rose / Getty

Tom Flores told ESPN: “The voters, whoever they are, are not interested in what guys have done in the past. It’s about the more recent years.” Here’s what Flores did in the past: after his playing days, he moved on to coaching, where he won a Super Bowl in 1977 as an assistant with the Oakland Raiders. Two years later, the Raiders hired him as their head coach. The following year, Flores guided the Raiders – with the help of Latino quarterback Jim Plunkett – to a victory at Super Bowl XV. But he wasn’t done. After the Raiders moved to Los Angeles, they became champions once more, winning the Super Bowl in 1984 in a rout of the Washington Redskins.

Along with Mike Ditka, Tom Flores is the only person to win a Super Bowl as a player, as an assistant coach, and as a head coach.

Credit: Getty Images

Tom Flores says he hopes Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera can also make history, since there are so few Latinos in the NFL. Flores told ESPN: “How many guys have had the opportunity that Ron and I had? That’s what makes it so special. The percentages are not in favor of this happening.”

READ: Ron Rivera, the Puerto Rican-Mexican NFL Coach Leading His Team to Historic Highs

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