Raiders

Part II: Glaring Omissions of Raiders in the NFL Hall of Fame

Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders history is filled with many football greats and legends. From its owner, to trendsetting coaches, and players synonymous with greatness. While the list is quite extensive, there are some names in Raiders’ history that are missing from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Here’s the second part of our countdown, you can look back at the first part here.

Without further ado, here are the top three of the Magnificent Seven that should be in Canton.

  1. Lester Hayes

Widely regarded as one of the best, if not the best, shut down cornerbacks of all time. Hayes was selected to five consecutive Pro Bowls between 1980 and 1984, as well as being selected to the NFL 1980s all-decade team. Referred to as “The Judge” or “Lester the Molester” and for good reason due to his amazing talent and physical style. Hayes’ career numbers speak for themselves. In his 10-year career, he intercepted 39 passes, returning four for touchdowns. He had a career-high 13 in 1980 when he was awarded AP Defensive Player of the Year.

During Super Bowl XVII, Hayes shut down both Charlie Brown and Art Monk who were Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann’s favorite targets that year. Hayes shut down whoever was on his side of the field, forcing Theismann to all but abandon the left side of the field.

Perplexingly enough, Mike Haynes, a long time Raiders cornerback who formed a cornerback tandem with Hayes, is in the Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, Hayes has been denied his gold jacket although Haynes does have seven more career interceptions. On the other hand, Hayes scored two more touchdowns than Haynes during their careers. In the end, having one in without the other is doing the Hall of Fame a disservice.

Related: The Original Legion of Boom Wore Silver and Black

And Then There Were Two…

  1. Cliff Branch

Branch, a three-time All-Pro, spent his entire 14-year career with the Raiders and was on all three Super Bowl teams. Between 1974 and 1977, he was selected to four straight Pro-Bowls. He collected 501 receptions for 8,685 yards, eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark twice, and lead the league in receiving touchdowns in 1974 and 1976.

Branch, was the record holder for career playoff receptions and receiving yards, until Jerry Rice came along and broke them. What’s most frustrating is Lynn Swann is in the Hall of Fame and Branch is missing. Branch is definitely just as, if not more qualified than Swann. Branch’s career lasted from 1972 to 1985, meanwhile, Swann’s career was five whole years shorter (1974 to 1982).

Between 1974 and 1982, Branch is on top of all major categories: receptions, yards, and touchdowns. Branch’s name is also missing from the NFL 1970’s all-decade team which is a shame in of itself, but with Branch being a semi-finalist in 2004, 2010, and 2011 there’s no reason his name should not be posthumously inducted into Canton.

Number One Is…

  1. Tom Flores

Why, oh why, is Flores not in the Hall of Fame? Flores won two Super Bowls in 1980 and 1983, took the Raiders to the playoffs five times, finishing his coaching career with a 97-87 regular-season record, and 8-3 postseason record. His 83 victories are second to only the great John Madden in franchise history. Flores, Mike Shanahan, and George Seifert are the only non-active head coaches with multiple Super Bowl victories, not in the hall.

Flores is the first Hispanic starting quarterback in football history and the first Hispanic head coach as well. As one of the most iconic coaches in not just Raiders history but NFL history, it’s high time Flores gets to put on his gold jacket before it’s too late.

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*Top Photo: Focus On Sport/Getty Images

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