Drew Pearson and Tom Flores finally make the Pro Football Hall of Fame
February 25, 2021
The 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class was announced earlier this month and there were two selections to the Hall of Fame that were long overdue. Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Drew Pearson and former Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders head coach Tom Flores were finally selected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Pearson was the only member of the 1970s All-Decade team that had not made the Hall of Fame. In his career, Pearson caught 489 passes with 48 going for touchdowns. He was a 3-time First-team All-Pro (1974, 1976, 1977) and his 1977 Cowboys team won the Super Bowl, beating the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 12, 27-10. Pearson’s career was cut short after a car accident at the age of 33 due to a liver injury he sustained in the accident.
Pearson was an undrafted free agent who played his college football at Tulsa. Pearson is the fourth former player from Tulsa to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Offensive tackle Bob St. Clair, wide receiver Steve Largent and Executive Jim Finks were the other Tulsa alumni to make the Hall of Fame. St. Clair was selected to the NFL 1950s All-Decade Team and Largent was selected to the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team.
Flores was the head coach for both the Raiders and the Seattle Seahawks, but he achieved almost all his success in the NFL with the Raiders, as both a player and a head coach. As a player, Flores started 64 games at quarterback for the Raiders from 1960 through 1966. In 1966, Flores was selected to the AFL All-Star game.
In 1963, Flores went 8-1 as a starter for new head coach All Davis, who was voted the AFL Coach of the Year that season. Davis had taken over as a head coach for a team that had gone 1-13 the previous season. Unfortunately for Davis and the Raiders, the San Diego Chargers were in the same division and the Chargers went on to win the AFL Championship, beating the Boston Patriots, 51-10.
Davis had been a wide receiver’s coach with the Chargers from 1960 through 1962. The Davis and Flores relationship did not end after Flores retired from football. Flores was a wide receiver’s coach with the Raiders from 1972 through 1978 and became the Raiders head coach in 1979. As an assistant, Flores won a Super Bowl ring when the Raiders defeated the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI, 32-14.
As the Raiders head coach, Flores led the Raiders to the playoffs five times, winning Super Bowl XV and XVIII. Flores is the only head coach to win a Super Bowl with the same team in two cities (Oakland and Los Angeles). He was also the first Hispanic starting quarterback and the first minority head coach in professional football history to win a Super Bowl.
The good news was that Pearson and Flores were recognized for their contributions to NFL football. The bad news is that there are still players and coaches that deserve to be in the HOF that continue to be skipped over. Mike Shanahan won two Super Bowls as a head coach with the Denver Broncos and Tom Coughlin won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants as their head coach. Both coaches deserve to be in the HOF.
On the player side, former NFL wide receiver Harold Jackson deserves consideration based on his career numbers. Jackson was selected to the Pro Bowl five times and was First Team All-Pro in 1973. He had 579 receptions for 10,372 yards and 76 touchdowns. Jackson twice led the NFL in total receiving yards, in 1969 and 1972 with the Philadelphia Eagles.
In 1973, playing for the Los Angeles Rams, Jackson led the NFL with 13 touchdown receptions. In 1979 playing with the Patriots, Jackson had 1,013 yards receiving at age 33. His career numbers are every bit as impressive as Pearson’s, but Jackson never played in a Super Bowl, while Pearson played in three Super Bowls. Jackson did play in 14 playoff games and three conference championship games, but his teams could never get past the conference championship game.
Also for the past few years Jackson has been on the side lines of the Culver City High School varsity football games.