I suppose the Pro Football Hall of Fame Senior committee can’t step in and save the day for a long snubbed Raiders player every year. They did so with regard to Ray Guy in 2014 and then Ken Stabler in 2016. But not so for the 2019 class. Their lone nominee — who almost always gets in — is Chiefs safety Johnny Robinson.
The rule is a player must have been retired for at least 25 years. Knowing the senior committee is the only chance for some long egregious Raiders Hall of Fame omissions, there was some hope they would once again save the day, but it was not to be.
There are several former Raiders who are deserving of a senior committee nomination. But there are two who really stand out the most — Tom Flores and Cliff Branch.
Flores has four Super Bowl rings and received two of those during his nine seasons as head coach of the Raiders from 1979-87. He was an assistant coach on the Raiders Super Bowl II team in 1977. His first ring was as a player with the Kansas City Chiefs.
He was also the NFL’s first minority head coach, making him a trailblazer, which should count for something, even if, as a two-time Super Bowl winning head coach, he shouldn’t need anything extra. He retired following the 1994 season, making this his first year of Senior Committee eligibility.
For Branch’s part, he had three Super Bowl rings with the Raiders and upon his retirement he was the NFL’s all-time leader in playoff receptions (73). He retired in 1985, so this is his 9th year of Senior Committee eligibility.
This is to say nothing of players like Jack Tatum and Lester Hayes who also can’t get a sniff from the Hall of Fame despite their illustrious careers.