Clash McCoy

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Football Americano: Jim Plunkett

jim-plunkett

It’s incredible to believe that we are already in Week Five of the NFL season.  With all teams completing at least 25% percent of their schedule, the 2013 campaign is well underway.  Perennial Super Bowl favorites like the New York Giants and the Pittsburgh Steelers have had a rough go at it so far with many pundits declaring their seasons to be over.  If recent NFL history has told us anything though, it’s that everything in the league they play for pay should be taken week to week. However, time fades fast when the autumn wind rolls around.  The path to the Lombardi trophy becomes more and more difficult with every big bold L on the table.  Speaking of Lombardi Trophies, Friday on this blog means another post in our segment highlighting the accomplishments of Hispanics and Latin Americans in professional football, Football Americano.

Today we highlight the career of two time Super Bowl winning quarterback, Jim Plunkett. Jim Plunkett was born in San Jose, California to Mexican-American parents in 1947.  His father was partially blind and his mother was completely blind forcing Jim to work a series of odd jobs to help support his family.  However there was nothing he excelled in more than playing football.  After winning a passing contest and playing football in High School, Jim earned a scholarship to nearby Stanford University, where he would go on to become the first Latino to win the Heisman Award for the best college football player in 1970, beating out the likes of Joe Theismann at Notre Dame and Archie Manning at Ole Miss.  Before 1970, Plunkett had a chance to turn pro and earn a paycheck his family desperately needed but instead decided to graduate Stanford and set a good example for Mexican American youth.  It was in his senior season that he would lead Stanford to a coveted Rose Bowl victory.

Plunkett with the Heisman

Plunkett with the Heisman

Plunkett was drafted first overall by the New England Patriots in 1971 and played seven up and down years with both the Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers.  At this point in his career, he was considered somewhat of a journeyman, failing to meet expectations.  In 1978, he would sign with the Oakland Raiders and change that perception for good. After spending two years as a backup in Oakland, Plunkett got a chance to start when starter Dan Pastorini was injured and never looked back.  Plunkett lead the Raiders to nine victories in eleven games and eventually to the Super Bowl.  In Super Bowl XV, Plunkett’s exceptional play would earn him MVP honors in the Raiders victory of the Philadelphia Eagles.  With the victory, Plunkett became the first Latino, and minority quarterback to win the Super Bowl.  In fact, Plunkett and his coach Tom Flores became the first Latino quarterback/coach duo to capture this honor as well.  That season he would also earn the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award.

Plunkett and Tom Flores showing off their Super Bowl rings.

Plunkett and Tom Flores showing off their Super Bowl rings.

The Raiders would move to Los Angeles for the 1982 season and a year later in 1983 Plunkett once again lead the Raiders to the Super Bowl.  In Super Bowl XVIII, the Raiders crushed the Washington Redskins 38 to 9 earned Plunkett his second Lombardi trophy.  Plunkett would play with the Raiders until his retirement after the 1986 season.

si.com

Jim Plunkett on the cover of Sports Illustrated once again.

Despite many calls for his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Jim Plunkett has yet to get in.  He remains the only non-active quarterback to win two Super Bowls as a starter and not have a bust in Canton.  Perhaps future Hall of Fame voters will recognize this trailblazer the same way we do here.  Jim Plunkett is not just a Latino legend, but a football legend as well, and a hero to all of Raider nation.

Hope you enjoyed the lasted segment in our series, Football Americano.  Make sure to check out our previous entries here.

http://clashmccoy.com/category/football-americano/

And to check back every Friday this season for future segments.  Enjoy Week 5 everyone.

-Clash Out

#JimPlunkett, #Raiders, #FootballAmericano, #SuperBowlXV, #SuperBowlXVIII

photos courtesy of si.com, sfgate.com, raiders.com

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