For the past the past three years, the Raiders have had it pretty good with regard to legendary players getting the call. Long time snubs Ray Guy and Ken Stabler finally got in – though posthumously for Stabler – thanks to the Senior Committee. As did Tim Brown and Ron Wolff. But the list of players who still can’t even get a sniff of the list of nominees is pretty long.
Most notably WR Cliff Branch, TE Todd Christensen, C Dave Dalby, QB Rich Gannon, CB Lester Hayes, CB Terry McDaniel, LB Matt Millen, QB Jim Plunkett, S Jack Tatum, DE Greg Townsend, and DT Ted Washington.
And before you think none of these players have any chance of being inducted, Ray Guy and Ken Stabler are proof otherwise. It had gotten to the point where the modern era committee just stop bothering to nominate them, knowing they had no chance. These players could get their chance from the Senior Committee someday as well. Although not this year. This year there is one Senior Committee nominee — Kenny Easley.
Here's a refresher on each of the snubs:
Cliff Branch at one time had the most career post season receptions in NFL history. He was part of all three Raiders Super Bowl teams. His fellow receiver, Fred Biletnikoff is in the Hall of Fame. Yet Branch is not even getting nominated anymore.
Todd Christensen went for five Pro Bowls, was a two-time All Pro. The only tight end to ever lead the Raiders in receiving four-straight seasons. One of those seasons was the 1983 Super Bowl winning season in which he had 1247 yards. He was part of both Raiders Super Bowl wins in the 80s.
Dave Dalby spent 14 years in the NFL, all with the Raiders. He was the Raiders starting center for all three of their Super Bowl wins. He made one Pro Bowl.
Rich Gannon spent 18 years as an NFL quarterback and was a journeyman backup for most of it. He had a three-year stint as a starter in Minnesota, a stop in Washington, and four years as a part time starter in Kansas City. His career took off in 1998 when Jon Gruden brought him in to run his offense in Oakland and he rose to NFL prominence. He went to four Pro Bowls as a Raider and was twice named first team All Pro. In 2002 he was named league MVP and led the Raiders to the Super Bowl where they would lose to Gruden's Buccaneers.
Lester Hayes was one of the greatest cornerbacks of all time. He and Hall of Famer Michael Haynes made up a lethal tandem in the Raiders' secondary. A five-time Pro Bowler and one-time All Pro, he spent his entire career with the Raiders and was on both Super Bowls in the early 80s. He gets a bad rep for his generous use of Stick-em during games.
Terry McDaniel was a former first round pick by the Raiders. He spent the first ten years of his 11-yard NFL career with the Raiders. He went to five-straight Pro Bowls from 1992-96. He finished with 35 career interceptions
Matt Millen spent 11 seasons in the NFL. He came to the Raiders in 1980 the season the won Super Bowl XV. He was a part of their Super Bowl XVIII team as well. He went to a Pro Bowl in 1988, his final season with the Raiders. He then joined the 49ers and won his third Super Bowl. After two seasons in San Francisco, he headed to Washington and won a Super Bowl his first season there. After his fourth ring, he retired from the NFL. Millen was a nominee in 2016 and missed the cut this year.
Jim Plunkett was the starting quarterback for both Raiders Super Bowls in the 80s. His career numbers aren't fantastic but he won when it counted. He is the only eligible two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback not to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Jack Tatum was one of the most feared defenders to ever roam the defensive secondary of any team. He embodied the knock-around style of the Raiders teams of the 70's. Hall of Fame safeties such as Ronnie Lott and Rod Woodson have said they emulated Tatum in their style of play. And yet the man who set the standard is not even a nominee.
Greg Townsend spent the first 12 of his 13 NFL seasons with the Raiders. He had double digit sacks in seven different seasons, finishing with 109.5 sacks in his career. He made two Pro Bowls.
Ted Washington spent 17 seasons in the NFL with seven different teams, making four Pro Bowls and one named All Pro once during that time. He played two seasons for the Raiders in 2004-05.