Borregos Stadium is capable of hosting over ten thousand fans. Eight towers of floodlights light up the gridiron where the Borregos of Monterrey, the football team to beat in Mexico, play their “Major League” games (Mexico’s top college football level). On the night of November 22 last year, the stands were filled with students ready to watch the Borregos beat the UDLAP Aztecas and be crowned national champions.
Inaugurated in 2019, the stadium was built to attract top-tier athletes. Athletes such as Isaac Alarcón, the newest member of the Dallas Cowboys.
Since 2010, when the Premier Conference was born, the Aztecas had been crowned four times. The Monterrey Borregos had done it three times.
The Borregos were hosting the Aztecs after finishing the regular season with eight wins and only one loss. ¿The one defeat? They suffered it in the fourth week of the season against the Aztecs in a game that ended 17-10. UDLAP would lose the rematch six weeks later 28-22 to end the regular season.
They were now facing each other for the third time that year. This time, in the National Championship. At Borregos Stadium, the best of college football in Mexico was about to be seen.
And in the middle of it all? Wearing number 73, Isaac Alarcón. The best offensive lineman in the country. 2019 Premier Conference National Championship in Estadio Borregos, Monterrey, Mexico This week, Offensive Lineman Isaac Alarcón was assigned to the Dallas Cowboys through the NFL’s International Player Pathway program. In an attempt to find talent around the world, the league began this program in 2017. Since then, players from many countries have had the opportunity to seek a place in the NFL.
Some have even been part of a team’s active rosters. In 2018, Nigeria-born British Efe Obada was the first participant in the program to be activated for a regular-season game. When he did, he got a sack and an interception, winning the NFC defensive player that week.
Obada remains a member of the Carolina Panthers, playing in all 16 games of the 2019 season and accumulating 24 tackles.
Germany’s Jakob Johnson is another example of success on the International Player Pathway. After Patriots Fullback James Develin suffered an injury in 2019, Jakob was promoted to the active roster. He played in four games in New England, three as a starter.
For the 2020 season, nine players attended practices in Florida in front of NFL scouts hoping to be assigned to a team. This year, the NFC East was randomly chosen as the division that would host four players from this initiative.
For the Dallas Cowboys, the international player will be Isaac Alarcón. The former Borrego may remain with the team until training camp ends. When that time comes, the team will have several options to keep him: Keep Alarcón in the active roster, which would be a dream come true for the 21-year-old, 6’6″ offensive lineman.
Keep him in the practice squad using the International Player exemption. He would not count against the practice squad player limit, essentially giving the team an “extra spot” but the team wouldn’t be able to promote him to the active roster in the 2020 season.
Keep him in the practice squad without the International Player exemption. He’d count against the player limit but would be eligible to play in 2020.
Alarcón, months after winning his second national championship in Mexico, will be training with the Dallas Cowboys and will not lack support.
“Maybe Mexico can play at the highest level of football, too.” Isaac Alarcón on NFL Mexico
When the news that Isaac Alarcon would join the Dallas Cowboys was published, millions of Mexicans were happy. “One of us” would play with the best at the highest level football has to offer.
In Mexico, it is estimated that there are more than 20 million NFL fans. Behind only the United States, it is the country with the most supporters of this exciting league. Since the team was established in 1960, the Cowboys have captured a large portion of the Mexican public through their presence on national television.
To this date, no game in the history of the NFL has drawn as many fans as a preseason duel between the Houston Oilers and the Dallas Cowboys in 1994 at Azteca Stadium, when 112,736 people occupied the seats – yes, a preseason game.
Two professional football leagues have recently started in Mexico, and both are in expansion mode. One of the pioneering teams, the Chihuahua Caudillos, hosted an unprecedented 18,000 people in their stadium for their kickoff game just a couple of months ago.
Little by little, faith in Mexican football talent is growing. A year before Isaac Alarcón’s participation, Máximo González, former Defensive End for the Monterrey Borregos, was the first Mexican player to participate in the International Player Pathway program.
“As Isaac says, the level of American football in the United States is not too far away from what we have in Mexico. Isaac is the clear example of that and that dreams come true,” Máximo told Inside The Star.
Throughout history, several Mexicans have played in the NFL. Raul Allegre was born in Torreón and had a nine-year career as a kicker, where he won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants. Rafael Séptien, born in Mexico City, played 10 years in the NFL also as a kicker.
Offensive Guard Rolando Cantú stands out for playing in the NFL without having played in a US college and being the first Mexican to play in the league at a position other than kicker.
With a college football system on the rise after the merger of the two best conferences in the country a few months ago, Mexican talent could be closer and closer to the next Mexican player in the NFL.Now, it’s Alarcón’s chance.✭✭✭✭✭ “I want to be an example for my country. I want to bring hope to Mexicans… I want to knock that door so hard that it opens, and that it doesn’t just open to me, but opens for all those Mexican players.” Isaac […]