What has been the pinnacle of every Owner, Coach and Player's career?
The one crowning achievement that defines an individual in the NFL? Teams are bought and sold, Coaches are one losing season away from being replaced and players records will eventually be broken.
The one honor in the NFL that remains immovable are the bust's of all the enshrined players that fill the rooms of one iconic building in Canton Ohio. The NFL Hall Of Fame.
This is the only Oracle of the NFL for individual achievments and excellence that surpasses win-loss records and Superbowl wins. Whoever is chosen to be a part of this elite assembly is a part of NFL immortality.
However, the process of recieving this great honor is seriously flawed. The Raiders, Ray Guy and Cliff Branch have done their part in the annals of football history to receive the Holy Grail of football.
Each has overcome insurmountable odds. Each have been a part of redefining their position and were living highlight reels.
Two other Raiders are being left out too. Two that shared a common bond that many have forgotten. Who fought every week to prove that they were winners, and defied the odds that tried to hold them back from the ultimate goal...and that was before they arrived in the NFL. They are Tom Flores and Jim Plunkett who are both Mexican-Americans.
Here is one of the most passionate posts and arguements from a Raider fan that has the honor of sharing the same heritage of two of the greatest people to ever grace the NFL:
"I am a Mexican male living in Mexico. Yeah, I know, you thought I was goin' to say California, Texas, Washington, Minneapolis or Whatever, anyway I'm a long time fan of the NFL. I am a Raider fan.... Boo bitch moan, whatever.... I get the NFL hating Mr. Davis and all the history between them and all...but why punish the players? Why do fans not care? A few years back you would have thought the second coming of Jesus was at hand when the first African American head coach went on to the Superbowl.... What was that, Superbowl 41? I heard commentators say that the first African American coach a Superbowl is a shoe in for the Hall Of Fame....
Last time I was in the States, about 8 years ago(on a student visa), we Mexicans were considered a minority. Or am I wrong? Somebody correct me if I am...anyway, I remember a (Mexican-American) head coach name Tom Flores who lead the Raiders to an upset in Superbowl XV...or was it XVIII? Am I wrong or was it BOTH!? Wasn't it Jim Plunkett who was his starting QB? A (Mexican-American) as well. Wasn't He a ( Superbowl) MVP?
Why does the league never talk about this? I've yet to find a single artcle. Do they feel that it is common for a coach of Mexican Descent to win SuperBowls? When was the last time we saw a Mexican coach?...Do they not realize the uniqueness of how special those SuperBowls (were)? That will never happen again. Where does the NFL place those feats in the "Golden Moments"(in NFL History). Nowhere as far as I can tell.
Shouldn't THEY be in the Hall Of Fame? Or at least mentioned?
Maybe I'm biased as I am Mexican, either way, thank you Mr. Al Davis for giving men the opportunity to excell regardless of their age or race. You are and will always be my personal hero."
"Give me your Tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, your wretched refuse of your teaming shore. Send these to me, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp by the golden door"
Tom Flores and Jim Plunkett's families heard this cry from a country that embedded these words on a Statue Of Liberty, and soon the same voice cried for them too. Except this time from a coach who later became the owner of an NFL franchise in California called the Oakland Raiders.
Now working for Al Davis, who proudly wore the label of "Rogue Owner" and "Outcast", they set out and proved themselves by overcoming the odds and embracing the misfit role that they so often endured growing up.
In January of 1981, Flores lead the Raiders to a Superbowl victory, a team that started 14 new players including Superbowl MVP and comeback player of the year award winner Jim Plunkett.
The underdog Raiders were the first wild card team to ever hoist the Lombardi, defeating the Philadelphia Eagles. Three years later the Raiders returned to the Superbowl once again as underdogs, and once again winning it all, this time defeating the defending champion Washington Redskins.
These days, their destiny no longer rests in their hands, but rest in a handful of others known as the Hall Of Fame panel.
Flores and Plunkett wait patiently, they have honored the NFL and have proved that they deserve to be enshrined along with the others that have preceeded them. Canton awaits too. With open arms.