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Tom Flores “pleasantly surprised” to be the Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist

Tom Flores, who coached Raiders to two Super Bowl championships, was announced Tuesday as a semifinalist in modern times for…

Tom Flores, who coached Raiders to two Super Bowl championships, was announced Tuesday as a semifinalist in modern times for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019.

Flores also won the championship rings as a backup quarterback with Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl IV, and as assistant coach under John Madden with Raiders in Super Bowl XI.

Flores compiled a record of 83-53 in nine seasons with Raiders and was the first Latino coach in NFL history. Raiders won the Super Bowls XV and XVIII under his guidance.

His last season as NFL head coach was 1994 with Seattle Seahawks. Flores advanced to the last 25 for the first time in the Hall of Fame process. A group of 102 nominees was announced in September.

Flores is a polarizing candidate, with a passionate support team and others who believe in their entire workpiece lack the consistency required for a gold jacket. Achieving this stage is a step forward for Flores, as important as anyone outside Al Davis to control Raiders through a golden area.

In order to be eligible for the Hall of Fame, a nominated player or coach must not have participated as an active player or coach for five consecutive seasons.

Flores, 81

, and the former Miami line star Zach Thomas are the only previously eligible people who voted as semi-finalists for the first time. Thomas career ended in 2008.

The last 25 includes three first year old players: Cornerback Champ Bailey, tight than Tony Gonzalez and security Ed Reed.

Former Tampa Bay and Denver Security John Lynch in his second year as 49ers general manager, was announced as semifinalist for the seventh consecutive year. Lynch, a nine times Pro Bowl selection, made it to final 15 five times.

Wide recipient Isaac Bruce is the only other semi-finalist with 49er band. Bruce finished his career with 49ers in 2009. He made four Pro Bowls during his 14 seasons with Rams. Bruce ranks fifth full time with 15,208 receiving laps.

Defensive line-man Richard Seymour, a seven-time Pro Bowl practitioner, is the only other semifinal player to play for Raiders. After eight seasons with New England Patriots, Seymour played his last four years with Raiders. He is a semifinalist for the second time.

Ricky Watters, QB Jeff Garcia and defensive lineman Bryant Young were among the nominees with 49er bands who did not become semi-finalists. Formerly Raiders cornerback Albert Lewis, guard Steve Wisniewski and cornerback Eric Allen also missed the cut.

The list of semifinalists will be reduced to 15 modern finalists on January 3th. The 15 people, along with senior finals Johnny Robinson and the final finals Gil Brandt and Pat Bowlen, will move on to the final stage of the evening Super Bowl.

Pro Football Hall of Fame Statutes provide that from four to eight new members will be elected each year. A maximum of five modernist finalists can be chosen in a particular year.

The following is an alphabetical list of the 25 semifinalists, along with the number of times each individual has been selected as semifinalist:

Steve Atwater S – 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets | (Times as semifinalist: 8 – 2012-19)
Champ Bailey CB – 1999-2003 Washington Redskins, 2004-2013 Denver Broncos | (Times as semifinalist: 1 – 2019)
Round Barber CB / S – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers | (Times as Semifinalist: 2 – 2018-19)
Tony Boselli T – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (Damaged Reserve) | (Times as Semifinalist: 4 – 2016-19)
Isaac Bruce WR – 1994-2007 Los Angeles / St. Louis Rams, 2008-09 San Francisco 49ers | (Times Semifinalist: 5 – 2015-19)
LeRoy Butler S – 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers | (Times as semifinalist: 2 – 2018-19)
Don Coryell Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers | (Times as semifinalist: 11 – 2005, 2010-19)
Alan Faneca G – 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals | (Times Semifinalist: 4 – 2016-19)
Tom Flores Coach – 1979-1987 Oakland / Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-94 Seattle Seahawks | (Times Semifinalist: 1 – 2019)
Tony Gonzalez TE – 1997-2008 Kansas City Chiefs, 2009-2013 Atlanta Falcons | (Times as semifinalist: 1 – 2019)
Torry Holt WR – 1999-2008 St Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars | (Times Semifinalist: 5 – 2015-19)
Steve Hutchinson G – 2001-05 Seattle Seahawks, 2006-2011 Minnesota Vikings, 2012 Tennessee Titans | (Times Semifinalist: 2 – 2018-19)
Edgerrin James RB – 1999-2005 Indianapolis Colts, 2006-08 Arizona Cardinals, 2009 Seattle Seahawks | (Times Semifinalist: 5 – 2015-19)
Jimmy Johnson Coach – 1989-1993 Dallas Cowboys, 1996-99 Miami Dolphins | (Times Semifinalist: 6 – 2014-19)
Ty Law CB – 1995-2004 New England Patriots, 2005, 2008 New York Jets, 2006-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2009 Denver Broncos | (Times Semifinalist: 5 – 2015-19)
John Lynch FS – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos | (Times Semifinalist: 7 – 2013-19)
Clay Matthews LB – 1978-1993 Cleveland Browns, 1994-96 Atlanta Falcons | (Times as semifinalist: 3 – 2012, 2017, 2019)
Kevin Mawae C / G – 1994-97 Seattle Seahawks, 1998-2005 New York Jets, 2006-09 Tennessee Titans | (Times as semifinalist: 5 – 2015-19)
Karl Mecklenburg LB – 1983-1994 Denver Broncos | (Times Semifinalist: 8 – 2012-19)
Sam Mills LB – 1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers | (Times as Semifinalist: 2 – 2016, 2019)
Ed Reed FS – 2002-2012 Baltimore Ravens, 2013 New York Jets, 2013 Houston Texans | (Times as semifinalist: 1 – 2019)
Richard Seymour DE / DT – 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders | (Times Semifinalist: 2 – 2018-2019)
Zach Thomas LB – 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys | (Times Semifinalist: 1 – 2019)
Hines Ward WR – 1998-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers | (Times Semifinalist: 3 – 2017-19)
Darren Woodson S – 1992-2003 Dallas Cowboys | (Times as semifinalist: 3 – 2015, 2017, 2019)

Editor’s Note: Matt Maiocco is on the 48th Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Selectors.

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