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Tom Flores takes major step toward Pro Football Hall of Fame election

Jim Plunkett is thrilled for his former coach

Super Bowl XVIII - Washington Redskins v Los Angeles Raiders
Tom Flores
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

It appears that Tom Flores’ long overdue wait for election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame may soon end.

In a major development, the Pro Football Hall of Fame senior committee named Flores as the lone coach nominee for election in 2021. The vote will be Feb. 6, the day before the Super Bowl.

For all intent and purposes, the senior committee decided that Flores should be the coach to be voted in next. John McClain, a longtime committee member, noted on Twitter that it is essentially a “rubber stamp” vote at this point. Flores needs 80% of the vote, but he is not competing against anyone.

“I hope this is really it,” said Jim Plunkett, who was Flores’ quarterback when he led them to the two Super Bowl wins, in a phone interview with Silver and Black Pride on Tuesday morning. “Tom’s preparation sticks out. He left no stone unturned. He had the best preparation of any coach I had in my 17 years … this is so deserving for Tom.”

Flores’ failed candidacy has been controversial for the last several years. Many league observers and fans were stunned to see former Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson and former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher elected earlier this year in front of Flores.

Oakland Raiders
Jim Plunkett, Tom Flores
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Flores coached the Raiders to two Super Bowl victories (XV and XVIII). Flores, who was also a quarterback for the Raiders, was 91-55 in nine seasons as the Raiders’ coach and was he was 8-3 in the postseason. He and Mike Ditka, who is in the Hall of Fame, are the only two people to win a Super Bowl as a player, assistant coach and as a head coach. Flores earned his ring as a backup quarterback with the Kansas City Chiefs and he was on John Madden’s staff when the Raiders won Super XI.

Flores was the first Hispanic coach in NFL history and the first to win a Super Bowl. Flores, 83, has expressed his disappointment in not getting elected in recent years. Now, barring something unexpected, Flores will be enshrined into the Canton, Ohio, museum in August, 2021.

He was one of several Raiders who have been snubbed by the Hall of Fame in recent years. Now, the next Raiders who should get a chance for election include deceased receiver Cliff Branch and Plunkett.

“This is just a great day for all of us,” Plunkett said.