Tom Flores airs one out in the wide open Raiders attack, a hallmark in the former AFL.
Tom Flores is a groundbreaking NFL figure. In 1960, Flores became the first Hispanic quarterback to start as a member of the Oakland Raiders. Two decades later, Flores led the Raiders to a pair of Super Bowl victories (XV, XVIII) as a head coach, becoming the first minority coach to do so.
Surprisingly, Flores remains only Hall of Fame eligible.
Flores and cast-off Jim Plunkett brought Super Bowl titles to Oakland and Los Angeles.
Tom Flores replaced Raiders head coach John Madden in 1979. Flores’ personality unlike Madden’s did not fit the traditional Raider mold. Flores was the quiet general in the midst of madmen — his will to win was the one requirement to lead an Al Davis franchise.
Flores was the backup to Len Dawson when the Kansas City Chiefs won the 1969 AFL-NFL World Championship Game (Super Bowl IV). Flores retired as one of only twenty players to play during the entire existence of the AFL.
In Oakland and Los Angeles, he solidified his legacy. The Raiders entered the playoffs as a wild-card in 1980. Oakland eventually marched into Super Bowl XV against a finesse Philadelphia Eagles team favored and deemed better by experts. The Raiders dominated the Eagles 27-10, and Flores won his first Super Bowl as a head coach.
Three years later in Super Bowl XVIII, Flores and the Raiders faced the high-powered offense of the Washington Redskins. Led by Joe Theismann, bruising tailback John Riggins and a talented receiving corp, the Redskins were the most prolific offense in league history. The Raiders, who were now residents of Los Angeles, shut down the Redskins attack with a dogged defensive effort in a stunning 38-9 victory.
At the forefront of the Raiders Super Bowl victories was former No.1 overall pick Jim Plunkett. After failed stints in New England and San Francisco, Plunkett was written off by everyone. This qualified the former Heisman Trophy winner for a job with the Silver and Black. Flores, who was given the opportunity to play in the AFL by Al Davis, reached out to Jim Plunkett. Plunkett is of Native American decent. Neither are in the Hall of Fame despite each having two impactful Super Bowl victories.
Flores career record (97-87) is not as gaudy as Bill Parcells and others, but his playoff winning percentage of 73 percent (8-3 record) is second only to Vince Lombardi (minimum 10 games).
Two Super Bowl victories as an underdog cannot be overlooked.
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Enjoy today folks.