Underrated Raiders HC Tom Flores Getting Limelight

Former Raiders head coach Tom Flores is finally getting his due after years of flying under the radar due to his low-key demeanor.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame just announced the California native would finally be getting enshrined in Canton. Arguably the second most successful head coach in the Raiders’ history, Flores’ cultural and social impact also transcended football. He was the first minority head coach to win a Super Bowl and the first quarterback of Mexican descent to start in the AFL. Flores also led the Raiders to two of the three organization’s Lombardi trophies, a distinct honor in the organization’s history.

Paul Gutierrez of ESPN put Flores’ winning ways into perspective recently. He pointed out Flores’ .610 winning percentage is higher than many other coaches in Canton had, including Bill Walsh, Tom Landry, and Chuck Knoll. His postseason record is also superb when you remember that only Vince Lombardi’s 9-1 record is better. Gutierrez later adds that Flores’ success also laid the foundation for future head coaches as a Super Bowl-winning coach elaborated.

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Dungy: Raiders’ Flores was a football man all the way

Tony Dungy credited Flores for having a cultural impact on the NFL that some outside the Raiders’ fan base may not be familiar with. Dungy recalled his playing days with the Pittsburgh Steelers and noting the stark differences in the team’s coaching staff. The Raiders had Flores as head coach with Willie Brown and Art Shell as assistant coaches, a Latino, and two African-Americans. Meanwhile, the Steelers had no minority assistants, as Dungy recounted.

Flores’ coaching prowess often took a step back to the legendary players and personas he led. The Raiders’ mystique has always been larger than any individual as the late Al Davis preferred. Nevertheless, Dungy looked back on one of many examples of Flores’ impact on the field.

In 1977, during a playoff game versus the Baltimore Colts, Flores called John Madden, and what followed altered the game. As the Raiders’ receivers coach, Flores told Madden to Look for Ghost to the Post. The resulting call led to Ken Stabler hitting Dave Casper for a completion that led to tying and promptly winning the game in overtime.

Dungy praised Flores’ professionalism and low-key demeanor as the reason why people don’t hear stories like the one above. Judging from Dungy’s observations, it obvious that Flores let the winning do the talking for him. A consummate professional, Flores was truly an embodiment of the moniker Just Win Baby. No flash, he just got the job done and now, he’s taking his rightful place.

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*Top Photo: Richard Mackson/USA Today

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