Winning The Super Bowl As A Player And A Coach


Winning the Super Bowl as a Player and a Coach

The Super Bowl is a tough game to make it to, much less win. It’s the goal of every player and coach, but not everyone can achieve it. There are only three men who, as of 2007, had won the Super Bowl as both a player and a coach.

The first to accomplish this was Tom Flores as Head Coach of the Raiders in the early 1980’s. Flores had also been Quarterback for the Raiders as a player.

A few years later this feat was accomplished again when the 1985 Chicago Bears won it all. Their victory over the New England Patriots gave Mike Ditka his Super Bowl victory as a coach; he’d already been a Super Bowl winner during his playing days with the Dallas Cowboys.

The NFL had to wait over twenty years for another man to join the ranks of Tom Flores and Mike Ditka; in 2007 Tony Dungy joined this exclusive club. Dungy’s Indianapolis Colts beat the Bears in Super Bowl XLI, and he had been a Super Bowl winner as a player with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The odds of winning the Super Bowl for any player are not very good, all those players and all those teams can make it difficult. Many great players have excelled on their teams and in the regular season, or even the playoffs, only to not be able to win the big game. Now, the odds of one of those Super Bowl winners to go on into a coaching career and then coach his team to a Super Bowl victory have got to be huge. Truly a great accomplishment for Tom Flores, Mike Ditka, and Tony Dungy.

2 comments

  1. Joe Ortiz says:

    TOM FLORES:
    Mark:

    My name is Joe Ortiz and have the honor to be the President of the Tom Flores Fan Club. It was good to see you posting the above information about Tom. As you may already know, Tom was recently included among 125 Preliminary Candidates for the NFL Hall of Fame. Many of his fans are encouraging the voters for the finalists for the Class of 2008 to induct Tom, a genuine NFL legend.

    Following is an article about Tom that appeared in a local paper in the Coachella Valley, where Tom resides:

    Coachella Valley Resident is Pro Football’s Living Latino Legend
    By
    Joe Ortiz

    Tom Flores signs autograph for an adoring fan while he and his wife Barbara enjoy a bowl of menudo at the Rincon Norteno Restaurant in Indio, California

    Tom Flores succeeded John Madden (who now hosts Sunday Night Football) as head coach of the Professional Football Oakland Raiders in 1979 and guided the team through 1987. Flores led the Los Angeles Raiders to two World Championships – Super Bowl XV, 27-10 over the Philadelphia Eagles; and Super Bowl XVIII, 38-9 over the Washington Redskins. He was instrumental in the rebirth of QB Jim Plunkett’s career. Plunkett, Heisman Trophy winner, was the quarterback during those Super Bowl wins, and was named Most Valuable player of Super Bowl XV.

    Flores, who played quarterback for the Raiders from 1960-61 and 1963-1966, became the first Hispanic head coach in National Football League history in 1979. He was also the first quarterback in Raiders history to throw for 400 yards in a game. Flores currently handles analyst duties for the Oakland Raiders radio game broadcasts. He makes his home in Indian Wells, California with his lovely wife, Barbara.

    During the off season, one of Flores favorite places to enjoy a super bowl of menudo is the Rincon Norteno Restaurant in Indio. This author joined him there one crisp Wednesday morning and filed this conversation.

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    JO: There is no doubt to most football fans that Tom Flores is the pioneer in a sport that has very few Hispanics among its ranks. Do you have mixed feelings about this fact?

    TF: No. I don’t have mixed feelings about this, its reality. Hispanics by their physical reality are not real big for pro football. There have been exceptions like Anthony Munoz (who played for USC and the Cincinnati Bengals), Jim Plunket (Heisman Trophy winner at Stanford and Super Bowl quarterback with the Raiders), and myself. Hispanics have been very successful in soccer, boxing and baseball, but pro football has become such a big man sport. But that’s changing; you now have guys like Oscar Lua (from Indio High school) and others who will make a big impact in pro football.

    JO: You grew up in the Fresno area, which is pretty much an agricultural community like the Coachella Valley. Was your life growing up then a poor one or similar to what many Hispanics experienced during that era?

    TF: It was a different era then. My brother and I were real young; we had no running water, no refrigeration, my crib was a bread box. After the (2nd world) war, my dad became a share cropper. Unfortunately, the Japanese (Americans) were placed in internment camps. By today’s standards we were considered poor but I never realized it because we always had food. We didn’t know what we didn’t have because we didn’t have it. I didn’t know (or experienced) any racism, because in those days, whether you were Anglo or Hispanic, everybody worked in the fields.

    JO: What has been the most significant motivating force behind your accomplishments?

    TF: That’s a tough question. I don’t know, I’ve always liked everything. I liked schools. I liked every sport I even took part in, I liked music; I was in the band, glee club. My father worked hard and we worked hard at everything we did. Everything in life is a challenge and we were taught to rise to the occasion. I didn’t have any role models, although we did hear about boxers like Joe Louis and Jessie Flores, and baseball players like Bob Feller and a guy named Mike Garcia (who came from the Fresno Valley) and played for the Cleveland Indians. We didn’t have any TV in those days, but I did enjoy the football stories on those news reels they showed in theatres, but I had no real sports idol.

    JO: What kind of, if any, racism or discrimination did you experience in your football career, either in high school, college or the pros?

    TF: I never really experienced discrimination in football. All the players on the team had the same goal, the same cause, which is to win games. Away from the game, in the social world, I did experience some but it was mostly (in high school) about dating, but nothing in college or in the pros.

    JO: If we were to carefully examine your records and achievements in pro football, as a player, coach and general manager, I’m certain we would find people with less accomplishments that have been inducted into the pro football Hall of Fame. Does this bother you and/or do you feel their may be some latent racism behind you not being inducted so far?

    TF: I don’t think there is any racism, but I do think there is some ignorance. I’m proud of my accomplishments, the first Hispanic quarterback and coach, and President and General Manager of a pro franchise (Seattle Seahawks). Some of the voters (and the system) are outdated. For example, there is a voter who has stated publicly that he would never vote for a punter. That’s ridiculous! There should be no discrimination against a player regardless of his position. Our great (former Raiders) punter like Ray Guy deserves to be inducted. I won’t mention the writer, but he does work for Sports Illustrated.

    JO: I understand you have spoken to some of the athletes on our local football teams in the Valley; what pearls of wisdom did you share with them to hopefully achieve as successful career as you have had in Pro Football?

    TF: Some kids today are not thinking about tomorrow (after their football careers); if they have a dream, I encourage them to fulfill their (pro sports) career, to go for it. But if its math, engineering or something else, to go for that too, try to be number one in whatever you do. If you can’t be number one, go for number two, but go for your dream as best as you can.

    JO: You are involved with many community-based projects to help under-privileged kids, including your very own Tom Flores Foundation. What inspired you to become involved with these endeavors?

    TF: I believe we (successful sports or public figures) need to always give back to the community. Above that, it feels good to do good, watching the results of your efforts down the road. Whether it’s giving money out of my own pockets or donating time, it’s very gratifying. However, I believe that giving of your time is sometimes more valuable than giving money. I’ve been involved in volunteering going back to my high school and college days. When I became successful, I decided to not only give my time but money to help under privileged kids. I didn’t have any money back when I was a kid, but I definitely had time to give to worthy causes. We both love volunteer work, including my wife Barbara who volunteers at Martha’s Kitchen.

    JO: The Coachella Valley (as we stated earlier) is similar to the Fresno area; did this have any influence in your choosing to live in the desert?

    TF: The reason we’re here is because of my wife. After we left Seattle (where I was President and General Manager of the Seattle Seahawks) my wife did not want to any longer live in a cold place and she wanted to live in this beautiful Valley. We love the people here, the atmosphere and serenity of the Valley. We have some cousins here, made many new friends and besides, they have great Mexican Restaurants here, like the Rincon Norteno.

    JO: Joe Gibbs of the Washington Redskins and you and were voted ‘coaches of the year’ in 1982. Gibbs recently came back to coaching. Although you are still involved in Pro Football to a great degree, as the color commentator for the Raider’s Radio Network, do you miss calling the shots and being down on the field with the guys? Any chance you may return as well?

    TF: I’ve thought about returning; I sometimes think about what I would do when I watch the games on Sunday. I do miss the action, the camaraderie with the players. But then, you wake up the next day, as I sit in my living room in Indian Wells, looking out at the beautiful golf course, I say to myself, “Nawww, it’s not too bad of a life here. However, if some team owner offers me a 3 or million dollar contract, I would have to consider it.”

    Hispanic football fans always felt a great deal of pride when Tom Flores was either tossing the football or managing the Raiders, and they can still feel his presence when they hear him doing the commentary on the Raiders radio network. Obviously they would love to see him back in the coaching ranks and definitely would love to see him voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Either way, Coachella Valley sports fans are definitely proud to call him a fellow CV citizen and they may be lucky to catch a glimpse of this legendary football great, chowing down a bowl of menudo at one of the Valley’s Mexican restaurants.

    -30-

    Joe Ortiz is a former radio-TV talk show host, with the distinction of being the first Mexican American to host an English-language, commercial radio talk show. He is the author of two new books entitled The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation.

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