Vasquez is All-Pro

Mexican-American Louis Vasquez, who is one of the reasons the Denver Broncos had the best record in the regular season and are the top seed in the AFC, was named to the Associated Press NFL All-Pro team.

Vazquez, who plays offensive guard for Denver and is one of several Latin American football players in the NFL, joins quarterback Peyton Manning as the only other member of the Broncos named to the All-Pro team, the most prestigious award team selected by the NFL. The NFL also selects players to play in the Pro Bowl, but the All-Pro team is the one team comprised of players from both AFC and NFC. Vazquez was one of nine AFC players chosen.

Vasquez is in his fifth season in the NFL. He was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He played college football for Texas Tech.

Latin American Football Players

Going as far back as 1935, when Aldo Richins, of Mexico, played in the NFL Championship with the Detroit Lions, the top levels of football competition have included Hispanics. Fellow Mexican-born Tom Fears, a member of both, the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame, played in the 1951 NFL Championship, further cementing the burgeoning fandom for NFL football with our neighbors to the south.

During the 1970's and 1980's, perhaps the heyday of classic rough and tumble football, Ted Hendricks, of Guatemala, was affirming his place as one of the greatest linebackers to ever play. He starred in four Super Bows -- one with the Baltimore Colts, and three with the Raiders -- also being inducted into the College and NFL Halls of Fame after retiring in 1983.

More recently, stars like Max Montoya and Anthony Muñoz -- both playing with the Cincinnati Bengals -- established Latinos as great linemen. Since 2000, Latinos have also stepped up on the offensive side of things, with quartebacks Jeff Garcia (San Francisco 49ers and four other teams to date) and Mark Sanchez (New York Jets), and a receiver like Victor Cruz, showing that just as in every other facet of American life, no football team is truly complete without some Latino talent and energy.

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