With new Hall of Fame rules, which Raiders deserve to be enshrined?

CANTON, OHIO – The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s proposal to increase the number of Seniors, Contributors and Coaches candidates as part of a special Centennial Class of 2020 was approved by the Hall’s Board of Trustees during its annual meeting today.

The measure is intended to honor the NFL’s Centennial Celebration through a special Centennial Class that will be comprised of 20 members in 2020. The group will include five Modern-Era players, 10 Seniors (a player who has been retired for more than 25 seasons), three Contributors (an individual other than a player or coach) and two coaches.

Raiders alumni who are long overdue who could and should receive consideration with this one-time exception are:

-Tom Flores, two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach, 83-53 regular season record, 8-3 postseason, with the Raiders, winning records over Don Shula (6-1), Don Coryell (11-5), Chuck Noll (2-1), Tom Landry (2-1) and Bill Walsh (2-1).

-Cliff Branch, fourth all-time leading receiver in NFL playoff history, three-time Super Bowl champion, third-leading receiver in Raiders history, four-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro.

-Jim Plunkett, two-time Super Bowl champion, Super Bowl XV MVP, fifth all-time in passing in Raiders history, 1980 Comeback Player of the Year.

-Lester Hayes, 1980 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, 13 interceptions in 1980 tied with single-season NFL record, his 39 interceptions are tied for the all-time lead in Raiders history, two-time Super Bowl champion, five-time Pro Bowler, one-time All-Pro, eight postseason interceptions. 

-Jack Tatum, 37 career interceptions, 30 with the Raiders, Super Bowl XI champion, three-time Pro Bowler. 

The Hall of Fame Board passed the resolution that will suspend the Hall of Fame’s current Selection Committee By-Laws for the Class of 2020 election cycle only.

A large list of Modern-era nominees will include only players (whose careers ended less than 25 seasons ago) and will be announced next month. That list will be reduced to 25 semifinalists in November and to the 15 Finalists in early January 2020. 

The Hall’s Selection Committee will then meet in Miami on “Selection Saturday,” the day before Super Bowl LIV, to discuss the merits of each Finalist. Voting will progress to a series of reduction votes that will result in the election of five Modern-Era Enshrinees.

The determination of the Seniors, Contributors and Coaches Finalists will run parallel to the Modern-Era player selection process. The Hall will assemble a special 25-person Centennial “Blue-Ribbon” panel who will review the backlog of deserving Seniors, Coaches and Contributors. The Blue-Ribbon Panel will be comprised of Hall of Fame Selectors, Pro Football Hall of Famers, media members, football historians and industry experts.

A tentative timeline for the election process by the Blue-Ribbon panel includes the compilation of a comprehensive list of nominated Seniors, Contributors and Coaches by no later than September. A reduction vote by the panel to 20 Seniors, 10 Contributors and 8 Coaches will be announced in the fall.

The special panel will then meet in person to vote for 10 Seniors, 3 Contributors and 2 Coaches. The final slate of 15 will be voted on as one singular unit by the Hall’s Selection Committee when the group meets on “Selection Saturday.” The Centennial slate will need to receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent to earn election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

The Centennial Class will be formally enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame during the annual Enshrinement Ceremony and the Centennial Celebration in Canton in September 2020.

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