Top 5 Oakland Raiders HOF snubs redux
The Raiders have always been a team that you either love or you hate, and sometimes the animosity toward the Oakland Raiders leads toward Hall of Fame players not being inducted into the Hall of Fame. The last list I compiled was very controversial and because of that fact. I decided to reexamine the list again, and to see if there are any discrepancies. I revised the list and these are the top five Oakland Raiders to not be inducted into the Hall of Fame redux. This list was extremely hard to come to a conclusion on, and if you disagree, feel free to leave a comment on who you’re top five are.
5. Jim Plunkett
Jim Plunkett’s first game in the NFL ironically, was a 20-6 victory over the Oakland Raiders in 1971. In a career that spanned from 1971-1986, Jim Plunkett was labeled a draft bust by 1976 because he was selected number one overall by the Patriots. He was traded to the 49ers in 1977. Jim Plunkett was cut by the 49ers in 1978 and during that preseason. He was picked up by the Raiders which go down as one of the best free agent pickups in NFL history.
Jim Plunkett went on to lead the Raiders to two Super Bowl championships in 1980 and 1983, yet his playoff success later in his career doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. Jim Plunkett may have had a rocky start coming into the league, but he actually won two rings while some quarterbacks in the Hall of Fame like Dan Marino have none. Now I will take the heat for not having Ken Stabler at number five. I know he’s legend. I know about the great playoff wins he made under his leadership, but the “Snake” didn’t win two Super Bowls. If those darn Steelers and Dolphins hadn’t interfered, then he might be higher on this list.
4. Lester Hayes
Lester Hayes was a lifelong Raider from 1977-1986, and is known by many as the greatest shutdown corner in the history of the game. Hayes had 39 interceptions in his career, and broke the single season NFL record for most interceptions in an entire year in 1980 with 13 in an era when quarterbacks didn’t throw the ball that frequently. Hayes was a member of the 1980 and 83 Super Bowl winning teams. One of the main reasons Hayes may be held back for the HOF was his fondness for using stickum, but he never used it after it was banned in 1981. Other reasons may be, because he doesn’t have a lot of interceptions, but he didn’t have a lot of interceptions because of how well he played the corner position, and it’s a shame a player of his caliber hasn’t been inducted yet. Jack Tatum is honorable mention on the defensive side of the ball as well, but this is the top five for a reason, and Hayes has a better resume for getting into the Hall.
3. Tim Brown
Tim Brown was a Hall of Fame finalist for the third straight year, but didn’t make the final cut in this year’s inductees. Tim Brown was an Oakland Raider from 1988-2003, before he was released by Oakland in 2004 before the season began. Brown was a 9 time Pro Bowler, and made an appearance in Super Bowl XXXVII that most Raider fans wish to forget, but that doesn’t luster the career Brown had, in shaping his legacy as one of the best receivers in the NFL. Tim Brown will eventually reach the Hall in most estimation, but it’s the third year in a row he has been snubbed.
2. Ray Guy
Ray Guy played for the Oakland Raiders from 1973-86, and Guy one of the biggest snubs in the history of Hall of Fame snubs, because he revolutionized the kicking game. Not to mention being a 7 time pro bowler and 3 time Super Bowl winner. Ray Guy changed how teams use special teams to their advantage to win games. Joe Horrigan, the historian of the NFL Hall of Fame said once of Guy, “He’s the punter you could look at and say: ‘He won games.’ ” and it’s the truth. Special teams players are notoriously snubbed from the hall of fame because they don’t play every down, but can you tell the history of the game without mentioning the man who revolutionized special team punt coverage?
He is number two because he is a no brainer, you put the Ray Guy in, because he changed history in the NFL, and if that isn’t enough to get voters to notice, then it’s a snub.
1. Steve Wisniewski
This was a big mistake on my part. I didn’t even have “The Wiz” in the top five snubs, the last time I compiled a list of the Top 5 biggest Oakland Raiders HOF snubs, but when I looked back on his career thanks to a few passionate fans. I realized how wrong I was, and not knowing how big of an impact his career was, explained why he has been snubbed. Steve Wisniewski was an eight time Pro Bowler and eight time All-Pro player. He was also selected to the NFL 1990′s All-Decade Team.
He’s second team on the 1990s team, but there are players like Gary Zimmerman and Dermontti Dawson who don’t even come close to Wisniewski. He hasn’t even been a finalist for the Hall of Fame. People barely bring up his name anymore and it’s a shame. That’s why he’s number 1 on this list, because his resume, and the fact everyone ignores his accomplishments is a symbol for how bad the Hall has been to the Raiders. I was tempted to put Ray Guy at number 1, but at least everyone mentions Guy. Nobody mentions “The Wiz”.
Honorable mention for players who didn’t make the top five are Kenny Stabler, Jack Tatum, Phil Villapiano, Todd Christensen, Tom Flores, and Cliff Branch.
If you disagree, feel free to leave a comment and post your top five.
James Cobern is a Featured Journalist for TPF and can be contacted at JCobern@ThePenaltyFlagBlog.com.