Tom Flores is living proof that hard work pays off. In 1958, Flores graduated from the University of the Pacific, but after two years of failed attempts at getting into the NFL, he ended up on the AFL's Oakland Raiders as a quarterback. Flores, who is the child of Mexican-American parents, eventually earned a starting spot, making him the first Hispanic player to ever accomplish such a feat.
Nicknamed "The Ice Man," Flores wasn't an elite quarterback, but he was an exceptional leader, who helped lead the Raiders to three seasons over .500 in his six years under center. In 1969, Flores served as Len Dawson's backup for the Kansas City Chiefs, who went on to defeat the Minnesota Vikings, 23-7, in Super Bowl IV.
When Flores hung up his cleats for good in 1970, he expanded on his love for the game by transitioning to coaching. He landed a job as an assistant coach with Oakland under John Madden. In 1977, the Raiders ended up in Super Bowl XI where they defeated the Vikings, 32-14. Two years later, Madden called it quits and handed the keys over to Flores, who brought two Super Bowl titles to the Raiders.
In addition to becoming the first Hispanic head coach to win a Super Bowl, Flores became the second person in league history to win a championship as a player, assistant coach, and head coach. In an interview with ESPN, Flores reflected on his accomplishments and what it meant being Hispanic. "There are a lot of things I did that were influential, looking back," he said. "I'm proud of these things."