Tribute to Aztecas Dorados de Monterrey

In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, we thought it would be fitting to pay tribute to the Aztecas Dorados de Monterrey (Mexico Golden Aztecs) – the first and only sports franchise from Mexico to ever play in a U.S.-based professional league. The Aztecas Dorados played nine games in the Continental Football League (CFL) in 1969 – four exhibition games and five regular season games.

The CFL existed for five seasons from 1965 until 1969. Established as a ten-team league with franchises primarily located in the east, the CFL expanded in its third season to include the Aztecas Dorados and several Texas-based teams.

The Aztecas Dorados were originally slated to play their games in Olympic Stadium in Mexico City. The venue had a seating capacity of 83,000 and was fresh off hosting the 1968 Summer Olympics. However, the franchise and the city could not reach an agreement on ticket prices so the team headed north for the 52,000-seat University City Stadium in Monterrey.

Although attendance at exhibition games was strong, only 5,000 showed up for the first – and last – home regular season game – a thrilling 34-33 win over the Oklahoma Thunderbirds.   After a four game road trip, during which the club tried again, unsuccessfully, to negotiate terms with Mexico City, the franchise folded.

The Aztecas Dorados was owned by San Antonio business Billy Joe “Red” McCombs.   Yes, the same Red McCombs that went on to own the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, and Minnesota Vikings.  The Aztecs Dorados were actually his first foray into sports ownership.  Although Mr. McCombs may not have fond memories of the turbulent 1969 season, we imagine there were several lessons learned that made his future sports holdings that much more successful.

Thus, like so many other defunct American Football teams and leagues from over the years, the Aztecas Dorados and the individuals who attempted to launch a franchise in Mexico certainly played a role in defining the great game that we know and love today.