5. Tom Flores, 1960-1966
W-L Record: 30-30-3
Playoff W-L Record: 0-0
Passing Stats: 11,635 yards, 49.4% completion rate, 92 TD’s, 83 INT’s
While better remembered as the two-time Super Bowl winning coach of the Raiders and exemplary member of the radio broadcast team, Tom Flores was also the first starting quarterback in Raider history, beginning his pro career with the Raiders in 1960. Flores started 26 games for the Raiders in his first two years, leading the Raiders to a 9-19 record. He sat out all of 1962 with an injury, but returned in 1963 and unseated starter Cotton Davidson in week six, leading the Raiders to eight consecutive wins to close out the season, including throwing 11 TD’s in the last two games of the year to finish the season with 20 TD passes.
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Nicknamed the “Ice Man” for his calm demeanor, he had an up and down career with the Raiders, often being benched in favor of Cotton Davidson or Dick Wood, but continued to be productive and get wins in most of his starts. In 1966, Davidson began the year as starter but Flores replaced him and led the team to a 7-2-1 record by throwing for over 2,600 yards and 24 TD’s, earning him a trip to the AFL All-Star game.
Flores was traded by the Raiders to the Bills in 1967 (for, among other players, Daryle Lamonica) and finished his career with the Chiefs after the 1970 season. He is the sixth leading passer in Raiders franchise history, the fifth leading passer in AFL history, and one of only twenty players to have played in the AFL for its’ entire existence. He was the first Hispanic starting quarterback in NFL history, and is presence on the Raiders during the height of the Chicano movement of the 1960’s is cited as a reason for the historic support the Raiders have had in California’s Chicano community. Flores was also the original arm upon which Al Davis devised and tested his concept of the vertical offense, which was the pioneering offensive style upon which the AFL’s legacy – and Davis’ – was built.