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Tom Flores back in radio booth for Raiders on historic night

Updated September 19, 2020 - 2:27 pm

When Tom Flores was a quarterback for the Raiders in the early 1960s, he’d see a young boy at practices and games and wherever the then-American Football League franchise happened to be competing.

“I remember he was like 8 years old running around the field and creating havoc,” Flores said of Raiders’ owner Mark Davis. “He has always had a great affinity for the team’s alumni. We’ve been his family. He has done a tremendous job keeping us involved and engaged. But that’s tradition. That’s the Raiders’ Way.”

He has done so again. The team’s owner, along with president Marc Badain, invited Flores to be a member of the radio broadcast for “Monday Night Football” against the Saints. It’s the first game at Allegiant Stadium as Las Vegas officially welcomes the NFL to Southern Nevada.

Flores, 83, is no stranger to a headset, having been a member of the team’s broadcast crew for 21 years following a successful playing and coaching career. On Monday, he will join play-by-play lead Brent Musburger and analyst Lincoln Kennedy.

“I’ve seen the outside of the stadium but not all of the inside,” Flores said. “What I miss about doing radio is that I used to put myself mentally in the huddle like when I was a coach. It made me feel part of the game and gave me some satisfaction for something I have been involved with for 60 years.”

Hall of Fame calling?

It’s a six-decade stretch that could finally deliver him a Hall of Fame bust.

The hall’s Coach Committee named Flores a finalist for the Class of 2021. He must receive 80 percent of the vote from a 48-member panel. It’s considered a formality at this point. It’s also long overdue.

Flores and Hall of Famer Mike Ditka remain the only two to have won Super Bowls as a player, assistant coach and head coach. Flores has a total of four rings, and it’s more than notable that he was the first Latino head coach in league history. He was a trailblazer.

“I really got to the point a few years ago where I had been a Hall of Fame finalist and then didn’t even make the finalist list where I thought my bubble had burst,” Flores said. “At that point, I was very disappointed. Maybe this is the time. Maybe in such an unusual year with (COVID-19), it’s supposed to happen now.

“I can’t explain what it would mean. How much it would mean to myself, my friends, my family, my former players and teammates. I think when you go into the Hall of Fame, you don’t go by yourself. You take along everyone who was part of your journey.”

Ed Graney can be reached at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

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