Panthers’ Rivera: I’d put Jim Plunkett in the Hall of Fame

Jim Plunkett photo courtesy of the Oakland Raiders

When we spoke this week with Carolina coach Ron Rivera on the Talk of Fame Network, there was one question he was ready to answer. And it wasn’t long before he had his chance.

“If you had one pass,” he was asked, “to give someone not in the Hall of Fame … but someone you believe deserved to be in … who would it be?”

“Jim Plunkett,” Rivera answered immediately. “Without a doubt in my mind, Jim Plunkett. Two-time Super Bowl winner. Number-one draft pick. rookie of the Year NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Super Bowl MVP.”

Why stop there? He was also a Heisman Trophy winner … and Maxwell Award winner … and UPI Player of the Year winner.

In short, Jim Plunkett is a qualified candidate for the Hall.

“He’s got tremendous career record numbers,” Rivera said of the former Patriots’ and Raiders’ star. “As you can tell, I’m a huge fan. I really am. I thought he was in the Hall of Fame for the longest time until I got in a discussion with somebody, and he said, ‘Aw, he’s not in.’ So I looked it up. And he’s not in.”

Correct. He’s not only not in; he’s never been a finalist or semifinalist.


Quick now, name another quarterback eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame who started and won multiple Super Bowls but who is not in Canton. Answer: You can’t. Jim Plunkett is it.

“To be honest,” said Rivera, “if you go back and look at Bob Griese’s numbers … and, remember, the undefeated season (1972 when the Dolphins were 17-0), Griese didn’t play most of those games (Earl Morrall did).

“Not to disparage Bob Griese because he is a great quarterback, but I’m just looking at who I would compare (Plunkett to) … and to me, I know it’s tough, and I understand there are certain things about it, but, to me, this is a guy who was a great role model for me growing up.”

Because Plunkett retired over 25 years ago, he’s eligible for Canton only as a senior nominee, and good luck there. The senior pool is so deep that 96 all-decade choices through the year 2000 are still waiting to be inducted, and no more than two can be chosen every other year.

Plunkett and former Cincinnati Bengals’ star Ken Anderson are considered the most eligible senior candidates at quarterback.


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  1. Sports Fan
    May 20, 2017

    CJ..GREAT READ as Always!

    ATTN: 48 PFHOF Selectors/Voters – (Dan Fouts – James Lofton HOF Players)
    The PFHOF
    The NFL
    The Talk Of Fame Sports Network

    Ron Borges
    Rick Gosselin
    Clark Judge
    Please advise all Selectors to read


    In Addition to Jim Plunkett:

    Re: “If the Pro Football Hall of Fame is the final resting place for men who impacted the game in a major way … And if it is dedicated to preserving both the history of the game and the memory of the men and women who changed it … ”

    “The NFL, the PFHOF & your fellow voters need to take a much Closer look at ALL TRAILBLAZING Individuals”

    & for sure ALL TRAILBLAZING Individuals that are STILL ALIVE!

    MUST READ for ALL Selectors/Voters – NFL – PFHOF
    SUPER BOWL 50 Media Day

    Coach Ron Rivera thoughts on the #PFHOF

    Paul Gutierrez
    ESPN Staff Writer
    Should two-time Super Bowl champion coach Tom Flores be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

    “Oh yeah. I think if you coach this game and you have the success that he’s had, he should get that opportunity. He should.” – Panthers coach Ron Rivera, when I asked him about the former Raiders coach, whom he referred to as a “pioneer” in the game.

  2. Rasputin
    May 20, 2017

    Not sure where Rivera is getting the “tremendous career record numbers” from. Bob Griese is considered borderline from a stats standpoint, and even that comparison goes like this….

    Career Numbers

    Jim Plunkett – 52.5%, 164 TDs, 198 INTs, 67.5 rating
    Bob Griese – 56.2%, 192 TDs, 172 INTs, 77.1 rating

    Griese threw more touchdowns than interceptions, unlike Plunkett, and had a much higher passer rating and completion percentage than Plunkett, despite his career starting a little earlier and stat inflation favoring Plunkett more. The Dolphins were mostly a running team early on but late in the 1970s Griese found himself being used more, and showed that he truly was a HoF caliber passer. He even led the NFL in passer rating in 1977 and completion percentage in 1978. Plunkett led the league in interceptions in 1974 and that’s about it.

    • May 21, 2017

      Two different QBs. Two different offenses. Raiders a vertical passing game. Dolphins, as you said, were an offense built around the running of Csonka, Kiick and Mercury. Not unusual for QBs then to throw more INTs than TDs (see Namath) … think Bradshaw had two more TDs than INTs. I don’t disagree with what you say, but there is a context for those numbers.

    • Marc Dymond
      May 23, 2017

      Remember that Plunkett nearly got killed w/Boston when he was there.
      No o’line at all……Take out the time he spent there and give the Man a team and guess what? Success!! We hear all the time about Super bowls and The HOF . Well he’s got 2 Bowl wins. Bowl MVP’s? 1. Comeback player of the year? 1. Rookie of the year? 1. And that w/a team w/not much else going for it but him…..

  3. May 21, 2017

    If you are comparing anybody to who should be in or not in. Then there could be a lot of players that are borderline that are in and also coaches! I am wondering why Tom Flores isn’t in. He was the first miniorty head coach and the first miniorty head coach to win not just one but two Super Bowls as a head coach! There should be more Raiders players in as well! The voting on the hall of fame is more like the hall of shame that other players and coaches are not in! I know let’s wait until they all die and then put them in. Flores is not going to be around much longer and that will be a shame! He will get just like Kenny Stabler did!! Stupid they had to wait until then! STUPID!

    • May 22, 2017

      Not trying to justify it because I believe he should be in. But Mike Shanahan won two Super Bowls. So did George Seifert. So did Jimmy Johnson. And so did Tom Coughlin (not yet eligible). They’re not in, either. Flores’ Hispanic background helps his case and makes him a social pioneer as well as a qualified coach, but his tenure in Seattle hurt him … just as Seifert’s in Carolina, Johnson’s in Miami and Shanahan’s in Washington (and latter years in Denver) hurt them. Flores was 14-34 and finished last in the division each season, and that damages his case.

  4. kevin
    April 15, 2018

    Thank you, great article. Hall of Fame means nothing to me until Jim Plunkett is there. Everyone knew the the Raiders would lose back in ’81, just like I knew some things about what I couldn’t ever do. Watching an underdog Eagles team shock the Patriots, I can only smh and remember…. because football is about inspiring people. I can’t add much to this article except to say I agree 100%, and perhaps to add this: What’s more inspiring than beating a favored Eagles team, when the whole world just saw what an underdog Eagles team could do?

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