Some at RaiderRamble.com have mixed opinion about Tom Flores; However, I’ll be making the case for why he may not be a Hall of Famer.
When I think of Tom Flores, I think of the head coach that won two Super Bowls with the Oakland Raiders. I also think of the one coach that wasn’t able to get his team over the hill back in Seattle. Is he worthy of enshrinement? Isn’t he? There must be a point in between the Raiders and the Seahawks, but his legacy is more complicated than either being enshrined into the Hall of Fame or not.
Record wise, he won two Super Bowl and most retired coaches (Mike Shanahan and Jimmy Johnson are two exceptions) who did it are already in the Hall. Similarly, making it to the Super Bowl is a team effort, and sometimes the team can win a championship in spite of the head coach and out of all the pieces the previous coach put in place. There was a lot of talent, but that talent has to be coached.
There is another thing the Hall of Fame committee has to be conflicted about: Flores’ body of work.
He indeed won two Super Bowl with the Raiders, but he wasn’t as lucky in Seattle as he was in Oakland. The key players or lack thereof he disposed of with the Seahawks didn’t help him during his tenure there, but great coaches succeed and can put a decent and competitive team regardless of how much talent a team has. Flores never won more than six games as the Seahawks coach.
If he deserves to be in Canton, Flores’ tenure in Seattle should not matter as they have shown time after time that they will consider the higher points of a candidate’s career instead of their complete body of work. Kurt Warner comes to mind as he won the Super Bowl as soon as he became a starter and almost won another one when he was with the Arizona Cardinals, but there are a bunch of journeyman-like production in between.
The Hall of Fame committee has fumbled the process more than a handful of times. The most recent one being Terrell Owens who even though was one of the best receivers of his generation, has encountered opposition from many of the voters.
Dick LaBeau is another example that comes to mind as he waited decades to be even considered for the process. He finally made it a few years ago as a Senior Nominee. Still, he shouldn’t have waited that long as his achievements as a player (he was enshrined as a player) are only overshadowed by all the things he has accomplished as a defensive coach.
These are only two examples of how the Hall has not been able to recognize players, coaches, and contributors who were an integral part of the sport.
Moreover, it has been pointed out that Flores was the first Hispanic Head Coach and should boost his credentials. While it is true that he broke a color barrier, that shouldn’t give him an automatic pass to the Hall; he should receive the well-deserved recognition as the trail blazer that he is. However, being the first one should not give him a pass to excellence; it would be a disservice to all the work he put and the effort he needed to confront adversity. That determination and conviction should make him a candidate, what shouldn’t make him a candidate is being the first at something.
However, being the first one should not give him a pass to excellence; it would be a disservice to all the work he put and the effort he needed in order to confront adversity. That determination and conviction should make him a candidate, what shouldn’t make him a candidate is being the first at something.
Flores’ case is a particular one; HOF voters might have a dilemma in front of them. Just don’t take Flores’ enshrinement for granted.