- Programming note: You can see the full episode of "Race In America: A Candid Conversation" on NBC Sports Bay Area on Thursday, Feb. 11 at approximately 11 p.m. PT after the conclusion of "Warriors Outsiders."
Tom Flores blazed a trail in the NFL for future players and coaches of Latino descent like Ron Rivera.
The Washington Football Team head coach joined NBC Sports Bay Area's "Race In America: A Candid Conversation," and delivered a passionate message to the longtime Raiders head coach following his election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"It's well-deserved, it's a long time coming, and it's well deserved, and I want to thank you for being an inspiration," Rivera told Flores. "An inspiration to me and to all those who are like me. Coaches of Latino heritage, we really do appreciate who you are coach, and it really is awesome, and I really do appreciate what you've meant to me throughout my career.
"Again thanks for being a role model, thank you for being a mentor, thank you for being who you are, thanks coach and, again, congratulations."
Flores was the first minority coach to win a Super Bowl with the Raiders' Super Bowl XV victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. Flores won two other Super Bowl titles as a coach, including another as the Silver and Black's head coach in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Flores joined six others in the 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame class, including longtime Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson. He also was inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.
For a player like Rivera, who grew up in Northern California and played college football at Cal, to see Flores find so much success in the NFL as the first Latino head coach clearly inspired him to pursue his own head-coaching dreams.
Rivera was the Carolina Panthers' head coach from 2011 to '19, and took over as Washington's newest head coach prior to the 2020 season.