First woman, first Hispanic talk coaching and trailblazing in NFL

Tom Flores recalls what it was like to play for Al Davis and replace an icon like John Madden while all the time silently carrying the hopes of the Hispanic community.

WelterJenArians

(Photo courtesy of Arizona Cardinals)

Talk of Fame Network

On this week’s show the guys continue their Hispanic Heritage Month series talking about what life was like for the NFL's first Hispanic starting quarterback, who also happened to become the first Hispanic head coach in NFL history and the first to win not one but two Super Bowls.

Tom Flores is one of only two men to have won Super Bowls as a player, assistant coach and head coach. The other was Mike Ditka.

The owner of four Super Bowl rings, Flores recalls playing for $100 a game for the Bakersfield Spoilers after his college career was over and a shoulder injury cut short tryouts in the Canadian League and with the Washington Redskins. He might have stayed there, he tells the Talk of Fame Network on its latest broadcast, had the AFL not come and launched him into professional football.

“The AFL called and I didn’t owe anybody anything, I didn’t own a car so why not?’’ Flores said of his decision to give pro football a last shot with the Oakland Raiders in 1960.

He became one of only 20 players to play in the AFL for the entire 10 years of its existence before embarking on a coaching career that would allow him to make history both on to the sidelines and in the Hispanic community.

“I have to be honest,’’ Flores said. “I do wonder (why I've never been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame). I felt I accomplished a lot with my career. Winning two Super Bowls, one in Oakland and one in L.A. (as the second winningest head coach in Raider history). Working for Al Davis, for one, I should be in the Hall of Fame…but I seemed to get overshadowed by his shadow. It was never my team. It was his team. I accepted that. But there’s a lot of things I did in this league.’’

Flores recalls what it was like to play for Davis and replace an icon like John Madden while carrying the hopes of the Hispanic community. Flores also tells for the first time what he had to go through to get Davis on the phone when he wanted to draft Marcus Allen in 1982 and why he fervently believes Ken Stabler was a Hall-of-Fame quarterback.

Speaking of trailblazers, The Talk of Fame Network also visits with Jen Welter, the first female assistant coach in NFL history. Welter spent the summer as a coaching intern with Bruce Arians’ Arizona Cardinals and visits TOFN as part of its October series Women in the NFL.

“Bruce Arians is one of the most progressive coaches in the NFL,’’ Welter says. “He brought me in to what could have been a difficult situation, and his staff and players all said they were so excited to be part of history. It’s the highest level of football and they gave me the highest level of respect. I consider them family.’’

Welter tells how she went from a rugby player at Boston College to playing 12 years of women’s professional football to becoming the first female position player to play professionally in a men’s league. Soon after she was named as an assistant coach with the Texas Revolution of the men’s Indoor Football League.

She points out that growing up she never had the dream of one day being part of the NFL but now believes young girls around the country may because of her breakthrough. She also thinks this will not be the end for women in football.

“Coach Arians said he’d love to have me back,’’ Welter said. “So how far off can it be?’’

Your Hall-of-Fame hosts, Rick Gosselin, Ron Borges and Clark Judge, explore the week’s events around the NFL, including the question of whether Philadelphia Eagles’ coach Chip Kelly is headed back to college football. The Hall-of-Fame guys also preview “Deflategate II’’ -- this weekend’s showdown between the angry New England Patriots and the deflated Indianapolis Colts -- with Bob Kravitz of WTHR-TV, the reporter who broke the Deflategate story, stopping by to visit on the eve of the Patriots-Colts showdown.

In our weekly "Dr. Data" segment, Rick points out there have been 85 interim coaches since 1960 but only 17 managed to win more games than they lost and only seven rallied their teams to division titles or better. The good Doc wonders if Miami’s Dan Campbell will become the eighth…or the 69th.

Ron state’s the Hall-of-Fame case for Clark Shaughnessy, one of the most innovative minds in NFL history. It was Shaughnessy who resurrected the T-formation and brought it into the NFL in the 1940s, effectively creating the modern-day quarterback position under center. Three times a Hall-of-Fame finalist in the 1970s, Shaughnessy disappeared from the field after he failed to get in. Ron thinks it’s time for his revival.

There's also a Hall of Shame vs. Hall of Fame debate, as well as the first of our residential debates on a wide range of topics, including how many, if any, teams should end up in L.A. and how to fix what has become an alarming number of officiating errors. And let's not forget the weekly two-minute drill, where the boys cover topics in rapid fire fashion, and Borges’ “Borges or Bogus’’ segment asks “Could Vince Lombardi survive in today’s touchy-feely NFL?’’

That and much more on this week’s edition of the Talk of Fame Network available on 85 stations around the country, on the TuneIn Radio app, on iTunes podcasts and at talkoffamenetwork.com.

Listen now!

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