The NFL has a great following in Mexico, which is considered the country with the largest number of followers of this sport outside the United States, so it is not surprising that there are also several semi-professional, professional and collegiate leagues for its practice.
You can read: Naranjeros preseason calendar ready
Contrary to what many people think, there are several players of Mexican origin who have managed not only to be part of an NFL team, but also to play for several seasons, although it is worth mentioning that, for the most part, they are athletes who counted with both nationalities and were developed in programs in the neighboring country.
With the start of a new regular season so close (the preseason has already started) and with two Mexicans in the current rosters of NFL teams (Isaac Alarcón with Dallas and Alfredo Gutiérrez with 49ers), we will give a brief review of some of the names that made history for our country in this beloved sport.
We cannot begin this journey without the beginning of everything, because the one born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, (of an American father and a Mexican mother), was the first player born in our country to reach the NFL, as most of them, out of a United States program, as he played for UCLA.
He was selected in the 1948 Draft by the Los Angeles Rams, where he played for nine seasons as a wide receiver, getting called up to the Pro Bowl and elected All Pro in 1950.
Fears, passed away in 2000 in California and has been a member of the Hall of Fame since 1970.
The case of José Septién is curious, because being the son of a famous footballer in the 1950s and who even wore the national shirt at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, he found his way into sports in American sports, although always using his feet.
The kicker who made his college career with Louisiana-Lafayette was selected in the 10th round of the 1977 Draft by the New Orleans Saints, but built his career with the Dallas Cowboys with whom he played from 1978 to 1986.
With the “Lone Star” team, the Mexico City-born was Dallas’s leading scorer during those nine years, connecting 162 field goals in 226 attempts.
With the Cowboys he played Super Bowl 13 in which they lost to Pittsburgh Steelers, in 1981 he was elected All Pro and in 2000 he was part of the Dallas 40th anniversary team.
We continue with the success in the kickers position, because if we talk about players who touched the sky in that position, the name of Raúl Alegre comes out in the contest.
The native of Torreón, Coahuila, is considered one of the most emblematic players in our country who has played in the NFL where he was on three teams: Baltimore / Indianapolis Colts (1983-85), New York Giants (1986-91) and New York Jets (1991).
Alegre left the University of Texas and lived his best moments with the Giants with whom he conquered two Super Bowls (21 against the Denver Broncos and 25 against the Buffalo Bills) and in his career he scored 137 field goals of 186 attempts .
Unlike the first three cases, Rolando Cantú’s site was not earned by having a successful career in the NFL, but by achieving something that has always seemed impossible and that only he (so far) has achieved: playing a official match without having gone through a university in the United States.
The offensive guard, trained in the Borregos del Tec de Monterrey of Onefa and before having a chance at the highest level, he had a brief stint in the defunct NFL Europe with the Berlin Thunder in 2004.
Cantú was part of the Arizona Cardinals squad between 2005 and 2006, his only game against the Indianapolis Colts, becoming the first Mexican out of Onefa to play a regular season game in the NFL, something that was a watershed. and it shows today.
The NFL is in preseason for its 2021 season and has the news of having, not one, but two players from Onefa who are trying their luck with teams from that league.
The most advanced case is that of Isaac Alarcón, who, after spending a season in the Dallas Cowboys practice squad, the offensive lineman (tackle) has progressed by leaps and bounds, as the one from the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey has already played two games this preseason, seeking to earn a place in the first team.
The novelty for this 2021 was the arrival of Alfredo Gutiérrez to the San Francisco 49ers, who, like Alarcón, arrived as part of the NFL’s International Program, which gives promising young people from various countries the opportunity to try their luck with a team from that league.
Since its inception in 2017, it has put 10 players on different NFL teams, who join the teams and seek to win a contract, although not all do.