Tom Flores endeared himself to one generation of Raiders fans as a Super Bowl-winning head coach.
For other generations, Flores was the grandfatherly voice in the announcing booth who presided over significant wins and many draft busts who should have never worn the silver and black.
Now 83, Flores is returning to the Las Vegas Raiders in a historical way.
Tom Flores was a groundbreaking player and head coach
A star quarterback at the then-College of the Pacific, Tom Flores went undrafted in 1958.
Flores signed with the Oakland Raiders, a charter member of the American Football League, in 1960 and became the first Hispanic starting quarterback in professional football. Although Flores was born in America, his parents came from Chihuahua, Mexico.
Flores went 30-31-3 in six seasons with the Raiders and completed 49.4% of his passes for 11,365 yards, 92 touchdowns, and 83 interceptions. After three injury-plagued seasons with the Buffalo Bills, Flores signed with the Kansas City Chiefs midway through the 1969 season.
Flores sat on the bench while Kansas City won Super Bowl 4.
Flores spent 1971-78 as an assistant coach, the final seven of those as the Raiders’ receiver coach, before he succeeded John Madden as the Raiders’ coach in 1979.
The NFL never had a Mexican head coach before Flores took the Raiders’ reins. Tom Fears, who coached the New Orleans Saints from 1967-70, was the first Latino head coach in NFL history.
Flores has earned serious Hall of Fame consideration
Coaching the Raiders both in Oakland and Los Angeles, Tom Flores went 83-53 in nine seasons leading the silver and black.
Flores led the then-Oakland Raiders to a victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 14. Three seasons and with the Raiders now in Los Angeles, Flores guided them to a victory in Super Bowl 17 over the Washington Redskins.
Flores moved to the Raiders’ front office in 1987 and became the Seahawks’ president and general manager in 1988. Fores became Seattle’s head coach in 1992 and went 14-34 in three seasons.
Despite winning two Super Bowls as a head coach, Flores still hasn’t entered the Hall of Fame. Of eligible coaches with two Super Bowl victories as a head coach, only Flores and George Seifert haven’t been enshrined in the Hall of Fame through 2020.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame named Flores as a coaching finalist for the Class of 2021. Flores must receive votes from 80% of the 48 voters to enter Canton.
Tom Flores is returning to the Raiders in a historic way
Although he never returned to the sidelines after Seattle fired him, Tom Flores stayed close to football. Flores called Raiders games on radio from 1997 through 2018.
Now 83, Flores is returning to the Raiders in a major way. Flores will join Brent Musburger and Lincoln Kennedy in the Raiders’ broadcast booth for their first game in Las Vegas on Monday, September 21.
Flores told the Raiders’ official website that owner Mark Davis and team president Marc Badair invited him to return to the booth for one night.
“When Marc Badain called me to say he and Mark Davis would like me to come to the first game, I was thrilled. I wanted to go to the game, knowing that it was going to be limited, and when they asked that I be in the radio booth I got excited — I was like a little kid for Christ’s sake.”
Las Vegas hosts Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints at Allegiant Stadium, the Raiders’ new home.
ESPN will air the Raiders’ home opener on Monday Night Football.