Legendary Raiders coach and player TomFlores was snubbed once again by the Pro Football of Fame and the time has come for his induction.
If you watched the NFL Divisional Round this past weekend you were treated to emotional moments captured on live TV where former coaches Bill Cowher and Jimmy Johnson were informed of their acceptance to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. They were special moments that we shared with these two men and they surely evoked a number of emotions for fans of the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers.
For Raiders fans however, a different set of emotions were invoked, mainly anger and disappointment that Cowher and Johnson’s acceptances meant that Tom Flores was on the outside looking in once again.
With all due respect to both Johnson and Cowher and their impressive resumes, there is absolutely no reason that either of them should have been accepted before Flores. When only comparing their coaching resumes, Flores has more wins than Johnson and a better playoff winning percentage than Cowher.
Take a look at this comparison thanks to Pro Football Reference:
We of course acknowledge that Cowher has significantly more wins than Flores and a much better regular season winning percentage, but the point is that they all deserve to be in. One may look at the coaching achievements of all three men and consider it an even case for them all to be inducted with Johnson given a slight edge for winning percentage and Cowher for longevity and wins, but when you factor in their playing career the snub is even more apparent.
Jimmy Johnson never played a snap in the NFL but was a talented defensive lineman at the University of Arkansas. He made a huge splash as the head coach of the notorious University of Miami teams in the 1980’s but this should have had no bearing on his candidacy for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Bill Cowher was primarily a special teams player for five seasons before moving in to coaching so that should have had very little bearing on his candidacy as well.
Tom Flores in contrast was an NFL QB for nine seasons and even won a Super Bowl as a backup for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1969. Flores didn’t light up the boxscore as a player but was an AFL all-star in 1966 and more importantly was the QB for the Raiders in their inaugural season so his place in history is set from that perspective. If Flores’s coaching resume was not enough for Hall of Fame voters then the addition of his playing career should have been more than enough to put him in.
Where Flores stands out above many of his peers is in the most important category of all, Super Bowl victories. Flores was an assistant coach on John Madden’s lone victory in Super Bowl XI but was running the show for the Raiders’ other two victories in Super Bowl XV and XVIII. There is a short list of coaches who have even been to two Super Bowls and a much shorter list of coaches that have won the NFL’s ultimate prize.
Eight of the men on this list have been inducted in to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the rest should surely follow in the coming years. The question now becomes when is it going to be Tom Flores’s turn? Does Flores, his family, and Raiders fans have to wait until he is inducted posthumously like Ken Stabler?
The Pro Football Hall of Fame serves two purposes, to highlight the incredible achievements of players, executives, and coaches but perhaps more importantly, to tell the story of pro football from its inception to the present. Simply put, there is no way to tell the story of the Raiders, one of football’s prestige franchises, without Tom Flores.
There is no way to tell the story of the AFL without one of its great players and there is no way to tell the story of the NFL in the 80s without Tom Flores and those incredible Raider teams. The time has come and gone for Flores to get that gold jacket and take his rightful place among his peers in Canton, Ohio.