Imagine landing a date with the girl you’ve been wanting to ask out for a long time. That’s always special, but now imagine that date including signing your first contract with an NFL team all while Dallas Cowboys General Manager Gil Brandt sitting across from you. It might sound like one of those wild dreams you have where a lot of things happen simultaneously, but that was a reality for Kicker Raul Allegre one day in 1983.
That was the beginning of a 9-year NFL career that would end with two Super Bowl Championship rings and an unforgettable legacy for football fans in Mexico.
Raul Allegre didn’t think about playing football until he was 18 years old. In fact, he didn’t even care about the sport. Growing up in Torréon, Coahuila, he played soccer. That changed when he traveled to the United States to study abroad to learn English and get a degree in engineering.
For him, it came down to two choices. Football or cross country running. He chose football once he realized for him, it wasn’t that hard to kick a football through the uprights. Allegre had a decent season with a team that wasn’t bound for much success, and he later went to the University of Montana.
Two years later, he transferred to the University of Texas where he wore the Longhorns uniform. For Allegre, football wasn’t more than a tool that would get him a scholarship to study engineering. His career in Texas wasn’t impressive from a statistical standpoint, but he made some big-time field goals during his time there.
When the 1983 NFL Draft arrived, Raul didn’t have a lot of hopes in getting drafted to play. After all, he wasn’t picked by any team in the USFL either. Indeed, he went undrafted. But a couple of teams were interested to sign him as an undrafted rookie; the Atlanta Falcons and the Dallas Cowboys.
After dwelling on both possibilities, Allegre picked the Cowboys mainly because of the signing bonus. After telling the team he was signing with Dallas, all that was left to do was signing the contract with Gil Brandt.
The only problem was, how can you cancel a date with a girl you’ve been wanting to go out for so long?
When the girl asked where they were going, I bet she was expecting something along the lines of “dinner and a movie.”
Instead, Raul Allegre replied, “We’re going to the airport.”
He was meeting Gil Brandt in the airport at Austin, where Brandt would be returning to Dallas after closing the deal. Fortunately for Allegre, the girl was excited about the whole thing because she was a Cowboys fan and well, she was meeting future Hall of Famer Gil Brandt!
Raul waited for the Cowboys GM while his date waited for them at a coffee shop. After Allegre explained the whole thing to him, Gil laughed about it and was more than okay with it.
Not only did Allegre closed his first deal with an NFL team, but he had a pretty successful date. I’m guessing getting your date to meet an NFL General Manager such as Brandt might make an impression or two.
To this date, Raul talks about how he still talks to Brandt and how they’re both in touch through social media.
Allegre ended up being traded before the season to the Baltimore Colts, where he played two years before going to the New York Giants, where he won Super Bowl XXI and XXV. He’s remembered as one of the most successful players in NFL history to have been born in Mexico.
Today, Allegre is on every fan’s TV when ESPN broadcasts primetime games every week.
You can listen to my interview in Spanish with Raul Allegre here.