The Oakland Raiders’ history is a very illustrious one. Since the beginning of the Raiders franchise in January 1960, fourteen members of the organization have been inducted into the Football Hall of Fame as Raiders. Twelve players, former head coach John Madden, and legendary Owner Al Davis represent the franchise in the ‘Hall’.
Twelve other players and executive Ron Wolf that at one time donned the Silver & Black are also in the Hall of Fame, representing a different team. However, there are plenty of Raiders that still deserve that famous Gold Jacket. As such, here is a list of the top five Raiders not in the Hall of Fame.
5. Jack Tatum, S
Jack Tatum was one bad dude. So bad that he got the nickname “The Assassin”, which is by far the most intimidating nickname in all of sports history. The Assassin was so terrifying he was No. 6 on NFL Network’s Most Feared Tacklers, ahead of some guys named Ray Lewis and Jack Lambert.
Tatum only made three Pro Bowls but nabbed 37 interceptions during his career. He was a member of the 1976 Super Bowl Championship team and who can forget the iconic image of Tatum standing above Vikings receiver Sammy White after delivering on the hardest hits in the NFL’s history. Tatum embodied what it meant to be a Raider and installed fear in all he played against.
4. Greg Townsend, DE
Greg Townsend may be the most underrated player of all time. Townsend is the Raiders’ franchise leader in sacks and it isn’t close. Howie Long, a Hall of Famer, comes in second and trails Townsend by more than 20 sacks.
Townsend finished with 109.5 total sacks, 107.5 as a Raider, but somehow only managed to make two Pro Bowls. He was also first-team All-Pro Associated Press twice. Townsend also won a Super Bowl in his rookie season in 1983. Townsend managed to quietly have over 100 sacks in his career and it’s a shame he has been left out of Canton as he most certainly deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame.
3. Lester Hayes, CB
Unfortunately for Lester Hayes, he has seemingly been blacklisted by the Hall of Fame because of his use of the one time legal yet iconic substance “Stickum”. Hayes is associated with Stickum so much that he is mentioned on its brief Wikipedia page.
On the field, he was a shutdown corner. Lester Hayes snagged 39 interceptions and was Defensive Player of the Year in 1980, a season where he logged 13 inceptions. Along with being tied with Hall of Famer Willie Brown for most interceptions as a Raider, Hayes also made five Pro Bowls and one All-Pro Team. Hayes won two Super Bowls with the Silver & Black, ’80 and ’83. Hayes is yet another Hall of Fame snub.
2. Cliff Branch, WR
Based on statistical evidence alone, wide receiver Cliff Branch should be in the Hall of Fame and had a more impressive career than multiple other WR’s currently enshrined. He was a four-time Pro Bowler, All-Pro first team three times, and won three Super Bowls with the Raiders. Branch finished his career with 501 receptions for 8685 yards and 67 touchdowns.
Lynn Swann had 336 receptions for 5462 yards and 51 touchdowns, he is in the Hall of Fame. Bob Hayes had 371 receptions for 7414 and 71 touchdowns, he is also in the Hall of Fame. To conclude, Branch won three Super Bowls, made three All-Pro 1st teams, and has a statistically more impressive career than multiple wide receivers in the HOF, case closed.
1. Tom Flores, Head Coach
There isn’t a single valid reason to support Tom Flores not being in the Hall of Fame. In his nine years of coaching the Raiders, Tom Flores’ record is 83-53. Flores also led the Raiders in two Super Bowl victories, 1980 and 1983. After his first Super Bowl triumph, he became the first minority head coach to ever win a Super Bowl. In the playoffs, Flores went 8-3.
The only hiccup on his resume is his stint in Seattle. He spent three years there and his teams went 14-34. He is one of only three eligible coaches with two or more Super Bowl wins not in the Hall of Fame. Head Coach Tom Flores deserves a spot etched out for him in Canton. Unfortunately, Flores was not even a semifinalist for the 2018 Hall of Fame class.