On Tuesday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the Senior Committee’s two finalists for induction into the 2021 Hall of Fame class. Each year, the committee selects one player and one coach/contributor. The player pick this year is former Cowboys receiver Drew Pearson. The coach is none other than Las Vegas Raiders legend, Tom Flores.
Now, technically he is not in yet, he still needs support from 80 percent of the 48 Hall of Fame voters. However, this is usually more of a formality than anything as the senior committee picks are almost always a given.
A Pivotal Piece of Raiders and NFL History
It is impossible to talk about the history of this franchise without mentioning Flores. He’s literally been there since day one. He was the starting quarterback in the franchise’s first-ever game. After his playing career ended, Flores joined the Raiders’ coaching staff. He was the offensive coordinator when they won their first Super Bowl in 1976. As head coach, John Madden’s successor, Flores led the Raiders to two more Lombardi trophies.
Flores was also a pioneer for minority head coaches in the NFL. He was the first minority head coach to win a Super Bowl He’s the first and only Latino head coach to win a Super Bowl. Also, he’s the only minority head coach with two Super Bowl rings.
Why Has it Taken so Long?
Flores’ induction has been way overdue. One would think he would have been inducted a while ago, given his resume. So what has kept him out? One Hall of Fame voter that has publicly voiced his reasoning surrounding Flores is Peter King. The Football Morning in America writer cites Flores’ 14-34 record as head coach of the Seattle Seahawks as grounds for exclusion. This feels like a pretty cheap argument. Essentially, Flores would’ve been better off having retired from coaching for good after his tenure with the Raiders. It sounds like he’s being punished for taking on a reclamation project with a struggling franchise. It should be noted that King has shown bias against the Raiders. The other Hall of Fame voters might not share his sentiment.
Regardless of how criminal his exclusion has been, Flores is now a finalist. Given that he is the only coach that the senior committee put up, the vote where he needs 80 percent should be a formality. It appears the Hall of Fame is finally going to do the right thing. Luckily, Flores is still alive and well, and Raiders fans can look forward to a great induction speech.
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Top photo: Mario Longoria