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The Oakland Raiders vs. The Pro Football Hall of Fame

Updated on August 3, 2014

What's the deal?!

What?
Ryan... Are you serious?
We're talking about a team associated with 23 Hall of Fame players and coaches.
If anything, the Hall of Fame has been very kind to the Raiders... Right?

Well... You're not wrong.
There are definitely some members of the Silver and Black resting eternally in Canton, Ohio.

But not everybody.
There are a few Raiders who are inexplicably absent from the NFL Hall of Fame.
Some people blame the NFL. They claim that the NFL's front office has had it out for the Raiders ever since Al antagonized Pete Rozelle in the 70's and 80's.
Some people blame the Raiders for the aggressive and often illegal style of defensive play.
But I have a different theory.
Do you know how Hall of Famers are chosen?
There isn't a big machine that balances historical relevance and statistics and spits out a Hall of Fame class.
There isn't a council of legendary NFL players who meet up once a year and choose new members of their exclusive fraternity.

46 writers meet up and decide which players get to join the Hall of Fame and which don't.
Not former players.
Not former coaches.
Not former owner.
Writers.
Every NFL team sends a sportswriter, as well as a writer from the esteemed Pro Football Writers of America group, and then thirteen at large writers.
I don't get that.
Why not gather up all of the living hall of famers and let them choose?
Some guys give their mind, body, and soul to the game, and limp into retirement, and then they never get their name called because a few writers, who have never played the game don't think their worthy.
Guys like Warren Sapp are more presentable because they work for the flashy NFL Network while Charles Haley rides the bench.
Even though Haley had better career numbers and turned the tide when he hopped from the 49ers to the Cowboys in the 90's. I'm serious. When Haley joined the Cowboys, they'd go on to win three of the next four Super Bowls.
But Charles Haley doesn't work for the NFL Network, so...

I can't tell you about other NFL teams and their snubs, for while I know a few, I don't hold them as nearly or dearly as I do my Oakland Raider legends.
Here's my list of the six best Oakland Raiders that don't have a bust in Canton.

Feel free to listen to this as you read.

Honorable Mention- Bo Jackson

I really tried my hardest to try and make this work.
I tried to find any loophole to exploit so I could just brag and brag and brag about the most explosive player in NFL history.

Unfortunately, he just didn't have the numbers.
Unfortunately, he only played for four shortened seasons.
Now Gale Sayers only played 5 seasons before injury ended his career, but the Bears asked him to do a lot more than Bo did, and he did it by himself. I probably couldn't justify slipping him into there.
He only played in four shortened seasons, and never reached 1,000 yards rushing.
He came close in 1989, rushing for 950 yards despite only playing in 11 games.
Keep in mind that he was splitting carries with Marcus Allen, losing reps to the passing game, and coming in immediately baseball.
He never averaged less than 4.3 yards per carry. Compare that to Super Bowl champion Marshawn Lynch and his 4.2 yards per carry in 2013.
That was a solid year for Lynch, and the absolute worst season that Jackson had.
Bo Jackson was an amazing player, and easily the best character in video game sport history.
But if he gets in, then we have to put everybody with incredible potential in.
If I make an argument for everybody with potential to be put in the Hall of Fame, then I become the very thing I'm opposing in this article.
If I made an exception for Bo, then I'd be just as bad as the writers who kept the next few All-Stars out of Canton.

Rich Gannon

WHAT?!
BUT RYAN, RICH GANNON BARELY EVEN PLAYED!
HE WAS A BACK-UP FOR MOST OF HIS CAREER!
HE DOESN'T BELONG IN THE HALL OF THE IMMORTALS!

Calm down hypothetical angry guy, I'm going to respond.
His numbers speak for themselves.
60% completion percentage, 28,743 yards, 180 touchdowns, and 104 interceptions.
4 pro bowls, 2 time all-pro, 2 time league MVP, 2 time pro bowl MVP, and 2 time QB of the year, and 1 time AFC Champion.
During his 6 year run with the Raiders, Gannon compiled 17,858 yards, 114 touchdowns, and 50 of his interceptions.
If you're still unimpressed, let me compare him to Cowboys legend, Troy Aikman.
Over the course of Aikman's career, 32,924 yards 165 touchdowns, and 141 interceptions.
While Aikman threw for 4,181 more yards, he also threw 51 less touchdowns and 37 more interceptions.
Now, Aikman is a Hall of Famer. He's in the Hall of Fame.
Are his three Super Bowls enough to cover an 88 TD-to-INT difference?
I don't think so.
Not to mention, the guy wasn't playing with crazy talent.
He got Tim Brown and Jerry Rice towards the end of their careers, and if it weren't for Jon Gruden getting traded or a certain fumble getting all "tucked" up, he would've won two straight Super Bowls.

Is the argument that he didn't play well enough for long enough?
Because if that's the case, I don't want to hear Kurt Warner's name brought up either.
Because Kurt Warner played badly enough to get kicked off of three NFL teams.
Not, oh, it was time to move on, oh, 4 touchdowns to 15 interceptions over his last two seasons in St. Louis, 6 touchdowns to 4 interception in one season for the Giants, and I'm too scared to play anymore for the Cardinals.
If Warner goes in, then there's no reason that Gannon doesn't get in.
I mean, it's not like Warner works for a certain network and he'll get a push or anything...

Tom Flores

Why not?
Seriously. What didn't Flores do?
2 Super Bowl wins in 4 years, 2nd highest win percentage in the playoffs in the NFL (Minimum of 10 games) at 8-3, had a higher winning percentage than Bill Walsh (.610 over .609).
He took Jim Plunkett to two Super Bowls... and won.
He didn't have Joe Theismann or Ron Jaworski, like the two teams that he destroyed in Super Bowls.
So why not?

Marv Levy, Bud Grant, and George Allen never sniffed the Lombardi Trophy, and yet they're in.
Seriously.
George Allen?
A completely forgettable coach who lives in Joe Gibbs' shadow and is best known for his paranoia is in the Hall of Fame...
But not the two time Super Bowl champion head coach in Tom Flores.
Not only do his numbers reflect his excellence, but he's also the very first minority Head Coach to win the ring.

Historical relevance? Check.
Win percentage? Check.
Super Bowl Win? Check. Check.

So what's the deal?
His teams were too good?
Then get rid of Bill Walsh, Chuck Noll, and John Madden, because they all had amazing teams.

Get outta here with that.

Tim Brown

With Brown, I don't think it's a matter of if, I really think it's a matter of when.
With last year and Cris Carter, I can understand.
But this year? He absolutely should have been in.
Andre Reed?
What a freaking joke.
Let's just compare some stats.
Andre Reed's Career Stats- 951 catches for 13,198 receiving yards and 87 touchdowns, with 5 returns for 12 yards.
Tim Brown's Career Stats- 1,094 catches for 14,924 receiving yards and 100 touchdowns, with 375 returns for 4,555 yards and 4 touchdowns.

So, lets just add it up.
Who has more...
Catches? Brown.
Yards? Brown.
Touchdowns? Browns.

Let's look deeper.
Pro Bowls?
Brown had 9, Reed had 7.
1,000 yard seasons?
Brown had 9, Reed only had 4.

And surrounding talent??
Reed played with Jim Kelly for most of his career.
Jim. Freaking. Kelly.
Who did Tim Brown play with?
Okay, he did catch passes from Rich Gannon... for the last 5 years of a 17 year career.
Other than Gannon?
He caught passes from Jeff George, Donald Hollas, Wade Wilson, Jeff Hostetler, Vince Evans, Billy Joe Hobert, Todd Marinovich, Jay Schroeder, and Steve Beuerlein.
You should only be able to recognize four of the names on that list, and none of them are for good reasons.
Jeff George? Bust. Huge arm but a turnover machine.
Jeff Hostetler? Proved that Phil Simms wasn't all Bill Parcells thought he was in New York, a one hit wonder.
Todd Marinovich? The original Johnny Manziel, except a physical freak, who burned out on football.
And Jay Schroeder... Enough said.

Tim Brown put up monster numbers with mediocre talent, and if he isn't the next wide receiver into the Hall, they should burn the building to the ground, because it has no credibility.

Cliff Branch

Bob Hayes- 371 catches, 7,414 yards, 71 touchdowns, 1 Super Bowl Championship.
Lynn Swann- 336 catches, 5,462 yards, 51 touchdowns, 4 Super Bowl Championships.
Cliff Branch- 501 catches, 8,685 yards, 67 touchdowns, 3 Super Bowl Championships.

Cliff Branch is a 4 time Pro Bowler, 4 time first team All-Pro, 3 time Super Bow Champion.
He has 165 more catches, 3,223 more yards, and 16 more touchdowns than Swann.
Let me spell that out.
One hundred and sixty-five more catches.
Three thousand, two hundred and twenty-three yards.
Sixteen touchdowns.

Is that one Super Bowl championship really worth all that?
And don't even get me started on "Bullet Bob"
Bullet Bob Hayes gets so much attention for "revolutionizing the deep threat" and it couldn't be more wrong.
A. If you asked me who the first deep threat in the NFL was, I would say it was Lance Alworth.
Ya know, the guy who ran the 200 yard dash in 21 seconds? There's no denying that Hayes had wheels, but he didn't play until 1965, 3 years after Alworth debuted with the Chargers.
B. Cliff Branch was a product of Al Davis' imagination. When Al discovered Alworth as an assistant coach in San Diego, he knew he wanted to take the vertical game to the next level, and he needed a speedy burner of his own. On a team that revolutionized the deep ball, Cliff Branch taught the world that "Speed Kills" and is one of the few NFL players in NFL history with a faster 200 yard dash than Alworth.

I don't know if Branch could play in today's NFL, but in an uncivilized time when receivers weren't asked to run complicated routes, Branch ran the deep route better than anyone.
HIs absence from the hall of fame is a travesty, and I honestly can't think of a reason why he hasn't been inducted. The closest thing I've found is that he didn't go over the middle very often, in which case, I hope the voters will exclude Randy Moss when he becomes eligible.

If Lynn Swann and his inferiority are allowed to be in the Hall of Fame and Cliff isn't?
Then maybe the voters need to get a visit from George Atkinson.
(cough... soft... cough)

Lester Hayes

This one astounds me.
People openly acknowledge that he's a talented cornerback, and that he and Mike Haynes made one of the very best corner tandems in NFL history.
The reason that they have for keeping him out of the Hall of Fame is that he used Stickum.
For those of you who aren't aware, Stickum is a sticky substance that players used to lather their hands in to help them catch the ball.
No team is more notorious for using the now-illegal substance than the Oakland Raiders.
But why keep Hayes out?
Biletnikoff used it and not only is he in the Hall, but they've named the award for best wide receiver in college after him.
Hayes had 13 interceptions in 1980, the year that he won defensive player of the year and the Raiders crushed the Eagles in the Super Bowl.
There are four reasons why this bugs me.

1. When Hayes used Stickum, it wasn't illegal. Dick Butkus couldn't play with today's rules. Mel Blount couldn't play with today's rules. Yet both of those guys are in the Hall of Fame! Why punish a guy for using something that would improve his game that wasn't illegal? It's not like he kept using it after they banned it.

2. Every year, somebody brings up the receiving gloves that are used in the NFL today. Name one NFL receiver or corner that doesn't wear the gloves. Go ahead. I'll wait.
You can't. Know why?
Because the science has evolved to the point where it's almost impossible to drop the ball if you focus enough to grip. Don't believe me? I found sources.
Most people will argue that the gloves are actually more effective than Stickum ever was. Sucks to know that by the NFL's standards, Calvin Johnson and Richard Sherman will never have a shot at the Hall of Fame.
By. Their. Standards.

3. Stickum doesn't turn you into Spiderman. Your hands have to be in the right place to intercept the ball. So maybe the stickum helped him catch the ball, but it didn't help him position himself to properly make the catch or at the very least break up the pass. Interceptions are only valuable if you're shutting the receiver down. I don't care how many interceptions Patrick Peterson has if he gives up 4 times as many touchdowns (he did last year, look it up). Hayes was still making plays, regardless of if it helped him catch the ball.

4. In 1981, Stickum was banned from the NFL and Hayes stopped using it.
So... If he was "only good because he used stickum" then his game should've gone to crap, yes?
Uh. No. He went to the next four Pro Bowls, was a second team All-Pro, won another Super Bowl, and was a member of the All-Decade team.

I hope the voters lay off the mental stickum and let The Judge make his home in Canton.

Ken Stabler

When you mention Raiders that aren't in the Hall of Fame, is there a bigger name than Kenny Stabler?
Kenny Stabler has more career touchdowns than Troy Aikman.
Kenny Stabler is a four time pro-bowler, first team all-AFC, first team All-NFL, league MVP, AFC player of the year, Super Bowl Champion, and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's all decade team for the 1970's.
Despite all of that, there's an empty spot on the walls of the Hall of Fame.

What arguments are there against him?

His numbers after he left Oakland were
average.
Average? Maybe.
His numbers with New Orleans and Houston were fair from impressive.
Like the 3 touchdown, 5 interception season that Namath had with the Rams?
What about the 3 touchdown, 7 interception season that Unitas had with the Chargers?
Are we forgetting that Jerry Rice played for the Seahawks and only had 25 catches?
News flash, players don't always end their careers with a Super Bowl win and a ride off into the sunset, sometimes they fall apart.

Well, he had a very nasty relationship with the media.
The fact that his relationship with the media has anything to do with Hall of Fame consideration makes me physically ill. Bill Belichick is absolutely awful with the media, is he going to get snubbed too?

He reallllllly liked to party, I mean, there are some crazy stories about him and the ladies.
Yes, he's the only football player in the history of the NFL to have a reputation as a party animal. There wasn't a bathroom controversy with Ben Roethlisberger or anything. Jacoby Jones didn't get knocked out by a stripper named "Sweet Pea" earlier this year. And it's not like the media is hero-worshipping some kid out of Texas A&M who has never taken a snap in the NFL or anything.
But those guys aren't in the Hall of Fame, right?

What about someone they called "Broadway Joe?"
I mean, Namath didn't earn that nickname through musical theatre, Joe Namath loved the ladies. A lot, enough so that Roger Staubach's most famous clip reads, "I enjoy sex as much as Joe Namath, I just prefer it with one girl."
But Namath is in the Hall of Fame and Stabler isn't.

Oh but Ryan, Namath and the Jets upset the Colts!
I'm sure the 200 yards that Namath threw in that game were a huge part of them winning.
I mean sure, the Colts QBs threw 4 interceptions, and Unitas didn't even get into the game, but a drunken brag by Namath the night before makes him the big hero.
Who cares if Stabler actually threw a touchdown in the Super Bowl that he won, and he did it against 2 hall of fame pass rushers.

And the numbers.
Joe Namath's Career Stats- 27,663 yards, 173 touchdowns, and 220 interceptions.
Kenny Stabler's Career Stats- 27,938 yards, 194 touchdowns, and 222 interceptions.

Stabler had more yards and touchdowns, with only 2 more interceptions over his illustrious career. Stabler won 66 percent of his games, while Namath only won 48 percent. Stabler completely 60 percent of his passes over the course of his career while Namath barely completed 50.
That means that while Stabler completed the majority of his passes and won most his games, all of Namath's passes were coin tosses and he lost significantly more games than he won.
As for the historical value of being the first QB to throw for 4,000 yards and the QB of the first AFC team to win a Super Bowl, let me drop a few names on you.
"The Sea of Hands"
"The Holy Roller"
"Ghost to The Post"
"The Immaculate Reception"
Those four plays and big games have been replayed more than some fluke win, and actually changed the way the game is played.

QBs like Dan Fouts and Bob Griese never sniffed an MVP, and Fran Tarkenton was about as good in the clutch as you and I are, but all three have a bust in Canton.
Hell, Fouts and Fran Tarkenton never won a Super Bowl.
IN FACT, Tarkenton played against Stabler in Super Bowl 11 and couldn't handle the heat.

I'm not sure why the media has decided to blackball "The Snake" or any of the other Raider legends, but the Silver and Black faithful will not rest, will not let go until the Hall regains it's credibility and welcomes these legendary icons into Canton.

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    • profile image

      steve van pelt 2 years ago

      Talking about lester hayes and his stickum,if thats the reason he's not in the hall than freddy shouldn't in either and I'm a huge raiders fan.

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 3 years ago from Auburn, WA

      Great article. Love the passion. I'm shocked that Stabler is not in. Until last month, I thought he was. Totally agree on Flores, Branch and Lester Hayes. It's a crime they have not been inducted. Hayes was not loved by the league or press. Branch was a quiet leader, and so was Flores. Flores has the same number of Super Bowls as Coughlin and had a far better regular season record as well. Yet, they are always talking about Coughlin is a borderline HoFer. Are you kidding? And I'm a Giants fan. Never hear about Flores. But with Gannon and Jackson, it's a no. If Bo had played a few more seasons, he would have been a first ballot guy. Voted up and shared. Keep up the good work.