Oakland Raiders legends may finally get the call in 2020
By Brad Weiss
There is a chance the Hall of Fame enshrines 20 new members in 2020, meaning some Oakland Raiders legends may finally get their call.
Throughout the history of the Oakland Raiders franchise, there has been movement, Super Bowl rings, and some incredible talent to put on the uniform. While the Raiders are represented in the Pro Football Hall of Fame by 26 men who wore the Silver and Black, there are a couple of legends who are still on the outside looking in.
While their days of being voted in as modern players is over, the hope each year is that they will get enshrined by the senior committee. One member of Raider Nation who has gotten a ton of backing in recent years has been Tom Flores, whose resume can stand up against nearly all of the other coaches enshrined in Canton.
If the Hall of Fame expands their member entry, he could finally get the call.
In a recent article by Kevin Patra on NFL.com, Hall of Fame President and CEO David Baker told SiriusXM NFL Radio that the Hall of Fame may consider enshrining 20 new members in 2020, as opposed to their normal eight. While it would have to be passed by the board, there are enough Hall of Famers to allow in, including some of the best to ever put on the Silver and Black.
Flores is not the only former Raider to warrant inclusion in the Hall of Fame. In fact, there are a handful of players who should be immortalized in Canton, including the likes of Phil Villapiano, Steve Wisniewski, Lester Hayes, Jim Plunkett, Todd Christensen, Jack Tatum, and Cliff Branch.
The AFC Rookie of the Year in 1971, Villapiano was a four-time Pro Bowler, and a key member of the Raiders Super Bowl XI winning team. Hayes was the 1980 Defensive Player of the Year, went to five Pro Bowls, and was a member of two Super Bowl winning Raiders teams.
Tatum is best known for the hit that paralyzed Daryl Stingley, but outside of that moment in time, he was one of the hardest hitting defensive backs the game has ever seen. A Super Bowl champ, Tatum was a three-time Pro Bowler, and was twice named a second-team All-Pro.
Plunkett became the first minority to lead a team to a Super Bowl win, and is still the only Latino to be named the game’s MVP. In fact, he led the Raiders to two Super Bowl titles as their starting quarterback, and based on his resume, he should be immortalized in Canton as well.
Christensen was an outstanding tight end during his time in the NFL, four times being named an All-Pro, leading the NFL in receptions twice, going to five Pro Bowls, and winning two rings. Branch was a member of all three Raiders Super Bowl winning teams, and was named an All-Pro in four straight seasons (1974-77).
During his time in the Silver and Black, Wisniewski was arguably the best offensive guard in the NFL, going to eight Pro Bowls, and being a member of the 1990s All-Decade Team. A two-time All-Pro, and six-time second-team selection, he is one of the better offensive linemen not enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
While it remains to be seen whether or not this will happen, there is no doubt that these former Raiders deserve their spot in Canton. Remember Ken Stabler did not get in until after he had died, and for the likes of Tatum and Christensen, they would share the same fate. There is time to make this right, and the extra selections may just get a few of these players in.