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Hall of Fame case for Tom Flores gets a boost from state Latino legislators

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

The push to get former Raiders coach and quarterback Tom Flores into the Pro Football Hall of Fame — which picked up speed as a nationally broadcast beer commercial earlier last month — took a political turn Monday when a group of California Latino legislators introduced a resolution urging the NFL to make it happen.

Assembly House Resolution 13 was introduced Jan. 25 and adopted Monday “with overwhelming support,” according to a statement sent by the office of Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, a Democrat from Coachella whose 56th District includes Indian Wells, where Flores lives.

Organizers of the resolution said it would be sent to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and members of the Hall’s Selection Committee.

“Tom Flores has broken barriers throughout his career, overcoming adversity to accomplish many firsts for Latinos in the NFL. After a lifetime of outstanding accomplishments, Flores has more than earned his spot in the Hall of Fame and should be inducted this year, without delay,” Garcia said in the statement. “Tom Flores is a living NFL legend and a true inspiration for Latino youth and families across our nation.”

The Hall of Fame Class of 2021 will be announced Saturday, on the eve of the Super Bowl. Flores was named a finalist by the Hall’s Coach Committee and will need to receive 80 percent of the votes from the 48-member Selection Committee for induction.

In a late December interview with the Desert Sun, Flores, who will turn 84 next month, said: “My feeling now is I’m not getting too overconfident. I am the only (coach) on the ballot of the old timers, so I would say my chances are better than pretty good.”

Flores was the first Latino to play quarterback in the NFL and was the Raiders’ primary starter for six seasons beginning with the franchise’s founding in 1960.

He finished his playing career as a backup with the Chiefs in 1969, with whom he won his first Super Bowl ring. He collected a second as the receivers coach under John Madden when the Raiders won Super Bowl XI, but his greatest success came as a head coach, taking over for Madden in 1979 and leading the team to wins in Super Bowls XXV and XVIII (the latter when the team was in Los Angeles), again as the first Latino.

In his statement, Garcia noted that despite being one of only 13 head coaches to win multiple Super Bowl titles, he’s one of only four to do so and not be in the Hall of Fame.

“Tom Flores undoubtedly deserves to be in the NFL Hall of Fame,” said state Sen. María Elena Durazo, a Democrat from Los Angeles and chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus. “His professional career has been defined by breaking down barriers to Latinos in American football, both as a player and as a coach. And while he has been looked upon as a trailblazer in the Latino community, his record on its own, regardless of his background, is Hall of Fame-worthy.”

The push behind Flores received a boost in early January when Coors Light began running a series of TV ads “proudly supporting a chill legend’s road to the Hall” while also announcing that his image would appear on a limited edition can next to the brand’s blue mountains logo.