Palm Desert, CA
NFL fans thought they had a game to watch Sunday night. But the Hall of Fame Game was canceled due to poor field conditions.
However, Saturday night in Canton, Ohio fans celebrated a new class in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In fact, the very place fans sat for Saturday’s ceremonies was deemed too slick and hard to play on.
So the game was canceled, but for many fans, that hardly diminished the weekend.
Canton, Ohio is where pro football was born. So every year, fans sojourn to the small town an hour outside of Cleveland to get a look at the game’s history.
This year, a few men who laid fresh ink in record books were honored, and for good reason. But for some reason, we’re still waiting to hear the name of a very special local man.
Former Raiders head coach, Tom Flores, is a desert resident and NFL pioneer.
He won Super Bowls as a player and an assistant coach, then took over the Oakland Raiders in 1979 and in his second year as the head man, led a Wild Card team to a Super Bowl victory. That was the first time that had ever happened.
In doing so he became the first Hispanic head coach to win a Super Bowl.
That was in 1980. And he wasn’t done.
For the 1982 season, the Raiders moved to Los Angeles. All Flores did was follow up with another Super Bowl win the following season.
In total, Flores has 4 Super Bowl rings.
He’s the only person in NFL history to win a ring as a player and multiple rings as a head coach.
In 9 seasons as the Raiders head coach he had only 2 losing records. In contrast, the current Raiders haven’t had a winning record in more than a decade.
As the Raiders head coach he won more than 60% of his games.
So why isn’t Flores in the NFL Hall of Fame?
How can this glaring oversight continue?
Well the answer may be complicated as the selection process is highly subjective.
Could it be a generational gap?
Reality is, there is not a single player on LA’s current team, the Rams, that was even alive when Flores and the Raiders won the only Super Bowl for the city.
Perhaps it’s the perceived anti-Raider bias the NFL has held onto for years due to long legal battles with former owner, Al Davis.
But at some point the NFL has to get it right.
This year, it made strides.
The first African-American head coach to win a Super Bowl, Tony Dungy, was inducted.
Hopefully next year, the first Hispanic head coach to win a Super Bowl, the first man to lead an unlikely wild card team to the Lombardi and the only man to find immense success as a player and head coach should be as well.
And certainly the inductions that included NFL legend Brett Favre, former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr, and greats from the Steelers, Colts, Rams and more, were well earned.
But it’s time the NFL looks at our local resident, coach Tom Flores, and puts him in his rightful place, as a true pioneer in NFL history.
Speaking of history…
For the first time in the 87-year PGA Tour history, hundreds of thousands of rounds of professional golf, and Jim Furyk stands out as the only man to ever card a 58. He carded ten birdies and an eagle. And actually his try for a 57 on the 18th hole ran by the cup, leaving him with a tap-in for a 58.
Now, the PGA Tour has seen six 59’s before, including one by Furyk at the BMW Championship in 2013.
And from one of the funkiest swings in golf to one of the prettiest swings in baseball: Happy birthday to the game’s best player, Angels center fielder Mike Trout turned 25 Sunday. He has more home runs at this age than all-time home run leader Barry Bonds had at 25.
He’s number 27 in your program, but number one in this girls heart.
In other baseball news, Alex Rodriguez announced his retirement from baseball. He remains one of the game’s most polarizing players as his career statistics would suggest a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but his career is marred by controversy surrounding performance enhancing drugs.
Ichiro Suzuki knocked his 3,000th hit in MLB. The 42-year-old phenom just keeps producing.