Tom Flores is thrilled to get back in the game.
For 21 years, the legendary Raiders head coach sat in the broadcast booth calling games, mentally putting himself in the huddle, and on Monday Night Football against the New Orleans Saints he'll put the headset on for the first time since 2018.
Coach Flores has been a part of numerous milestones in Raiders' history and broken several barriers throughout his career in the NFL, so it only feels right he joins the Raiders' radio crew for the team's first game in Las Vegas.
Raiders Owner Mark Davis makes it a priority to acknowledge the members of the team who helped paved the way to where it is today, which is why he and President Marc Badain decided to reach out to Flores about the opportunity to call the first game in Las Vegas.
"When Marc Badain called me to say he and Mark Davis would like me to come to the first game, I was thrilled," Flores said. "I wanted to go to the game, knowing that it was going to be limited, and when they asked that I be in the radio booth I got excited — I was like a little kid for Christ's sake."
From 1997 to 2018, Flores called games as a member of the Raiders' broadcast crew, and he's excited to be a part of it once again. Sixty years is a long time to be associated with one team and Flores is happy to have made some magical memories on the field as a quarterback, head coach, and in the broadcast booth during that time.
At each stage of his journey, Flores has enjoyed the feeling of being in the huddle, physically or mentally, and it's something he's looking forward to doing once again.
"When I was in the booth doing the broadcasting for 21 years, it was like being in the ball game," Flores recalled. "I would put myself in the huddle mentally and broadcast from there, of what I was seeing from there. It was a great extension of my on-the-field career, which I extended when I stopped playing for 10 or 11 years to go coaching, and I was still on the field coaching. I would do the same thing as a coach, I'd put myself in the huddle. It was a continuation of my passion and my love for the football team that 60 years ago I started for."
Monday night, when Flores steps into the pristine new booth at Allegiant Stadium, he'll be accompanied by Lincoln Kennedy and Brent Musburger, two people he has a wealth of respect for.
Flores' relationship with Lincoln Kennedy goes back to his days as a Washington Husky, before becoming the Raiders' tackle in the early 2000s, and through the years the duo has been able to work together as members of the Raiders' broadcast team.
"Coach was a pleasure to work with," Kennedy told raiders.com. "Learned a lot from listening to him and we had great chemistry. Looking forward to him helping call this game for the Las Vegas Raiders".
Even though Flores has never worked with Musburger, the two have known each other since Flores' early days in the NFL.
"He was a broadcaster in my very first Super Bowl, my second year as head coach," Flores said. "I've known him way back and we've had a good relationship. The last year, we had some good times where we sat around and talked about the team. Even though I wasn't up in the booth, I'd see him in the hotel before the game or after the game, so I've known him a long time."
September 21 will be another milestone added to a long list of achievements throughout Flores' illustrious career, and it will be one very dear to him. For the first time in years, he'll be back in the huddle, covering the team and sport he loves, as the Raiders begin their next chapter in the Entertainment Capital of the World.