Fans of Raider Nation are hoping that when the 2021 Class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame is announced on Feb. 6, that two more legends of the Silver and Black will be headed for enshrinement in Canton, Ohio.
Last week, defensive back Charles Woodson was named one of 15 modern-day finalists for this year’s class, which also includes former Raiders defensive lineman Richard Seymour.
Seymour, who was with the Raiders from 2009-12, made his name playing on three Super Bowl championship teams with the New England Patriots from 2001-08.
Earlier, Tom Flores was named a finalist by the Hall of Fame’s Coach Committee.
“I’m just enjoying this moment,” said Woodson, who played for the Raiders from 1998-2005 and 2013-15, in addition to being with the Green Bay Packers from 2006-212. “I’m sitting there watching those highlights and what you immediately do is start re-living some of those moments out there playing on the football field.
“For me, it’s not lost on me to be here in this moment, to be a Hall of Fame finalist in the first year. It takes a lot to get here to this point and for the guys who are at this point you really had to make an impact on the game. I’m proud of that. I'm excited to be in this moment and I’m just going to enjoy it.”
Several media headlines announcing the finalists said the 15 named were headed by Woodson and quarterback Peyton Manning, who won Super Bowls with the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos.
Both are in their first year of eligibility.
Woodson was selected by the Raiders with the fourth overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, was 1998 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, was first-team All-Pro four times, second-team four times, made nine Pro Bowls, and played for the Packers’ Super Bowl XLV champions.
Flores, starting quarterback for the original Oakland Raiders in 1960 out of the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., later coached the Silver and Black to victories in Super Bowls XV and XVIII.
After being been passed over as a finalist twice before, Flores hopes his third time is the charm.
“My feeling now is I’m not getting too overconfident,” said Flores, the first Hispanic quarterback and coach in NFL history who won Super Bowls as a player (with the Kansas City Chiefs), assistant coach, and head coach. “I am the only (coach) on the ballot of the old-timers, so I would say my chances are better than pretty good.”
Flores had a 105-90 coaching record with the Raiders (1979-87) and Seattle Seahawks (1992-94), including 8-3 in post-season games. He was 91-56 with the Raiders, including a 27-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XV and a 38-9 rout of the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII.
His 1980 his Raiders became the first wild card team to win the Super Bowl by beating the Eagles.
In addition, Flores as a head coach was 6-1 against Don Shula, 3-1 vs. Chuck Noll, and 2-1 in games against Bill Walsh and Bill Cowher, all of them in the Hall of Fame.
There are 26 members of the Raiders in the Hall of Fame, led by the former owner, coach and general manager Al Davis, coach John Madden and scouting executive Ron Wolf.
Those who played for the Raiders who are enshrined at Canton include center Jim Otto, quarterback Kenny Stabler, cornerback Willie Brown, guard Gene Upshaw, tackle Art Shell, tight end Dave Casper, quarterback-kicker George Blanda, wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff, running back Marcus Allen, defensive end Howie Long, linebacker Ted Hendricks, wide receiver Tim Brown, cornerback Mike Haynes, punter Ray Guy, safety Ronnie Lott, tackle Bob Brown, safety Rod Woodson, tackle Ron Mix, wide receiver Jerry Rice, running back Eric Dickerson, wide receiver James Lofton, defensive lineman Warren Sapp and wide receiver Randy Moss.
Raiders fans believe there are so many Raiders already in the Hall of Fame it's kept wide receiver Cliff Branch, cornerback Lester Hayes, safety Jack Tatum, linebacker Phil Villapiano, guard Steve Wisniewski, and tight end Todd Christensen from being voted in.
And it’s probably too late for running back Clem Daniels, wide receiver Art Powell, quarterback Daryle Lamonica, and fullback Hewitt Dixon, who were superstars in the American Football League in the 1960s.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s selection process by-laws provides that between four and eight new members will be selected. The Class of 2021 will be enshrined on Sunday, Aug. 8, in Canton.
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