<
>

Latinos' Super Bowl history is then and now affair

Super Bowl 50 features Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera, who is of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage, as the second Latino coach to guide a team to the big game. It is worth noting that the first, Mexican-American Tom Flores, also got to the milestone of winning it all. The two coaches share a background as players in the professional game, Flores as a quarterback and Rivera as a linebacker. Although the duo are the only Hispanic coaches to reach the championship, there is a long history of Latinos in Super Bowl games. Rivera, for example, has a ring as a member of the 1985 Chicago Bears. Flores has one too, but as a backup quarterback who didn't play when the Kansas City Chiefs won in 1970.

SUPER BOWL 50: The Panthers feature Colombian Fernando Velasco and center Ryan Kalil, who is of Mexican-Lebanese heritage. On the Denver Broncos squad, Mexican-American Louis Vasquez and Max Garcia, of Mexican and Puerto Rican background, are key players on the offensive line. Vasquez was on the Broncos squad with running back Knowshon Moreno and offensive lineman Manny Ramirez in the Super Bowl two years ago, when Denver was demolished by the Seattle Seahawks.

WITH SUPER BOWL RINGS: Latinos have been on the winning side of the Super Bowl many times. Guatemalan-American Ted Hendricks, a linebacker, is arguably one of the greatest NFL players of all time; he played in four Super Bowls and won each one. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Tom Fears won the NFL championship in 1951. Quarterback Jim Plunkett won the Super Bowl twice for the Oakland Raiders while playing under Tom Flores. Kicker Raul Allegre hailed from Mexico and was crucial to the New York Giants' 1987 season and Super Bowl XXI win. Argentine Martin Gramatica, another kicker, helped his teams win two Super Bowl titles. Efren Herrera, again a kicker, helped the Dallas Cowboys win Super Bowl XII. Tackle Manny Fernandez was part of the only undefeated NFL season in history, and he helped the Miami Dolphins win Super Bowl VII. Another tackle, Tony Casillas, helped the Cowboys win their back-to-back Super Bowl championships. Receiver Victor Cruz, whose mother is Puerto Rican, caught a crucial touchdown for the New York Giants in their Super Bowl XLVI win.

WITHOUT RINGS: On the other hand, there are quite a few Hispanics who reached the Super Bowl but failed to take the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Anthony Muñoz and Max Montoya played in two Super Bowls (XVI and XXIII) for the Cincinnati Bengals and lost both. Quarterback Joe Kapp lost to the Chiefs in Super Bowl IV. Tight end Aaron Hernandez, who is of Puerto Rican heritage, played for the Patriots in their Super Bowl XLVI loss. Mexican-American Robert Garza played center for the Chicago Bears when the team lost in 2006. Kicker Eduardo Castaneda played on the Arizona Cardinals squad that lost in 2009.

The Super Bowl is on CBS at 6:30 p.m ET Sunday. The game will be broadcast in Spanish on ESPN Deportes.

Follow the Hispanic sports scene with One Nación!