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Raiders Hall of Fame: Lester Hayes, Jim Plunkett, Phil Villapiano among those who should be elected

With Cliff Branch finally in, it’s time for more greats to join him in Canton

Oakland Raiders v Washington Redskins
Jim Plunkett
Photo by Owen Shaw/Getty Images

The voting committee of the Pro Football Hall of Fame has done a decent job in recent years of making up for past omissions as Raiders legends such as Ken Stabler, Tom Flores, and now, this year, Cliff Branch, have been finally elected into the Canton, Ohio museum,

That, of course, is good news, but the Hall of Fame voters still have work to do when it come to honoring Raiders’ greats, Let’s look at some of the Raider’s biggest Hall of Fame omissions, in alphabetical order:

George Atkinson:

The former safety may never get in, and frankly, other Raiders’ legends should get in before him. But Atkinson, 75, was an underrated player and was a big part of a great Raiders’ defense spanning 1968-77.

Los Angeles Raiders v San Francisco 49ers
Todd Christensen in 1982
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Todd Christensen:

The tight end’s career took off when he joined the Raiders (his third team) in his second NFL season. He played for the Raiders from 1979-88 and was named to five Pro Bowls and won two Super Bowl rings. What a great player. Christensen died at age 57 in 2013.

Dave Dalby:

The center, who played for the Raiders from 1972-85, was completely underrated. It didn’t help that he replaced Hall of Famer Jim Otto and played on the same line with Hall of Famers Gene Upshaw and Art Shell. Dalby, who died tragically in 2002 at the age of 51, was on all three Raiders Super Bowl teams. He was a stud,

Lester Hayes:

“The Judge” was a great player. He was a game-changing cornerback. He was the NFL Defensive Player of the year in 1980 and many people think it was the best season ever registered by a defensive back. Hayes, 67, was a five-time Pro Bowl player and won two Super Bowl rings. He was a great player and is a great character. Get the Judge to the Hall of Fame.

Jim Plunkett:

The general rule is if a quarterback has won two Super Bowls, he gets into the Hall of Fame. That has not been the case for Plunkett, 74. He led the Raiders to their last two Super Bowl wins. The former No. 1 overall draft pick by the New England Patriots, the Heisman Trophy winner from Stanford saw his career take off as an injury replacement for Dan Pastorini in 1980. He was a gritty winner and deserves a bronzed bust. In fact, I believe he should be the next Raider elected.

Oakland Raiders
Phil Villapiano and John Madden
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Phil Villapiano:

The man they call “Foo” was a bad ass. He was one of the heart-and-souls of the great 1970s Raiders’ squads. He was a true Raider. He was a hard hitter and he was tough as a $2 steak. Villapiano, 72, won a Super Bowl ring and was named to four Pro Bowls. Get Foo into Canton.

Jack Tatum:

He was simply one of the most feared hitters in the history of the game. The swaggering safety symbolized 1970s NFL football. No one wanted to get tackled by the man they called “The Assassin.” He won a Super Bowl ring and he was named to the Pro Bowl three times. You can’t tell the history of the NFL without mentioning Tatum., who died in 2010 at the age of 61,. His legacy deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

There are other former Raiders who deserve consideration for election into Canton. To me, though, the list starts here. Who do you think should be the next Raiders’ legend to get elected?