When the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced an expanded class in 2020, former Raiders coach Tom Flores thought that was his ticket to Canton. Although Flores had been passed over before, as a two-time Super Bowl winner, he thought he’d make it with more spots available this year.
He didn’t. Instead, two other coaches were chosen, and they just so happened to be the two coaches who work on network studio shows, Jimmy Johnson and Bill Cowher. That gave the Hall of Fame a perfect opportunity to get some publicity with President David Baker making the announcement live on the air during playoff games, but it also served as a dagger to the heart of Flores.
Flores told ESPN he was “kind of disgusted” by the manner in which he was snubbed. Flores also said Baker told him he would be “almost a shoo-in” to make the Hall of Fame when the special 20-man class was announced, and that no one ever called him to tell him he didn’t make it, he just learned when Cowher and Johnson were announced as the two new Hall of Fame coaches on TV.
“It happened. What can I do about it? I don’t have a choice,” Flores said. “My fans are still my fans — they’re still going to make a lot of noise. A lot of people are really pissed off about this whole thing. A lot of people are pissed off for other guys that didn’t make it, either. I can’t say I’m exclusive in that respect.”
The 82-year-old Flores may have just missed his last chance to make the Hall of Fame.