State Your Case: Jim Plunkett

Jim Plunkett photo courtesy of the Oakland Raiders



(Photo courtesy of Oakland Raiders)

By Ron Borges

Talk of Fame Network

Jim Plunkett is a Hall-of-Fame enigma and a subject of heated, and sometimes overheated, debate. Does he belong in Canton, or is he a permanent resident of the Hall of Very Good?

This is a question often debated in pro football circles because Plunkett is the only quarterback eligible for the Hall to have started and won multiple Super Bowls without being enshrined. He is also historically significant as he was the first minority quarterback to win a Super Bowl championship and the only Latino named Super Bowl MVP or selected as the NFL draft’s overall first pick.

Frankly, you cannot write a full history of the game without mentioning Jim Plunkett.

Plunkett’s career high points are as high as you can get. He was the league’s Rookie of the Year in 1971, leading a moribund New England Patriots’ team to a 6-8 record and upsets of the AFC East leading Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Colts in the final three weeks of the regular season.

That bright start, however, was dimmed by injury, a leaky offensive line that had him sacked an average of 37 times a year his first three seasons (36, 39 and 37 sacks) and the arrival of former Oklahoma coach Chuck Fairbanks in 1973. With Fairbanks came his belief in the wishbone-option offense, a quarterback-running attack ill-suited to Plunkett’s skills and already beaten up body.

“I was there for five years,’’ Plunkett told the Talk of Fame Network. “Chuck Fairbanks came in and put in the option…I’m not the most talented running quarterback in the league. I really didn’t want to stay there and run the option as well as drop back and get beat up so I asked to be traded. I wanted to get to San Francisco. I did. I wanted it to work out in the worst way. It did not.’’

In 1974, Plunkett’s final full year as a starter in New England, he led the Patriots to a 7-7 record, their first .500 record in eight years. But he lost the job the following season to Steve Grogan, whom Fairbanks drafted as much for his running ability as his passing skill, and Plunkett was sent to the 49ers for three first-round draft picks, a second and backup quarterback Tom Owen.

Plunkett went 7-7 that first season, starting off 6-1 and leading the Niners to their only winning season in an eight-year span that stretched from 1973-1981. In his second year disaster struck again when the Niners hired Joe Thomas as general manager, and he began to unravel the team he’d inherited. He fired head coach Monte Clark and, with that, undid Plunkett, who lasted only one more season before being released.

The Niners would go 7-23 under Thomas and fire two more head coaches.

At that point, Plunkett was widely considered a bust, one of the biggest in NFL history. But he would find resurrection across the Bay Bridge in Oakland when Al Davis brought him in to back up Ken Stabler the following summer.

Plunkett sat for nearly 2-½ seasons, not taking a single snap his first year in Oakland and throwing only 15 passes in 1979, his second. When Davis traded for Houston quarterback Dan Pastorini and made him the starter in 1980, a downhearted Plunkett asked to be traded. Fortunately for him and the Raiders, Davis declined.

Five weeks into the 1980 season, Pastorini fractured his leg and Plunkett was fitted for the cleated-version of Cinderella’s glass slipper. After throwing five interceptions in his first appearance, he caught fire. The Raiders went 9-2 and became the first wild-card playoff team to win the Super Bowl with Plunkett repeatedly bombing Oakland’s opponents into submission. That included the Eagles in Super Bowl XV, when he passed for 261 yards and three touchdowns to become Super Bowl MVP and Comeback Player of the Year.

Three years later, Plunkett would do it again, leading the now Los Angeles Raiders to victory over the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII. Of the five quarterbacks who started and won two Super Bowls and are Hall-of-Fame eligible, four have been inducted. Only Plunkett remains on the outside of Canton’s doors.

What seems to have stymied his candidacy is that while Plunkett has the jewelry of a Hall-of-Fame quarterback he lacks the numbers. Although he passed for 25,082 yards in an era where running the ball remained paramount, he also threw more interceptions (198) than touchdowns (164), and his completion percentage was only 52.5.

The latter figures were not unusual at the time because the passing game was played differently than it is today, but when coupled with the fact he was never selected to the Pro Bowl, was never a League MVP and was not named to an all-decade team, his candidacy became a subject for debate.

How much weight should be given to career numbers when the first seven of his 15 years in the NFL were spent trapped behind some of the most porous lines of his era and on two of the NFL’s most troubled franchises? While Plunkett was 34-53 as a starter in New England and San Francisco, in Oakland he went 38-19 and 8-2 in the playoffs.

Which numbers best represent the kind of quarterback he was?

That is the great debate, one likely to go on for years. If you’re a stats guy, he is not your kind of Hall-of-Fame quarterback. But if you’re a jewelry guy or someone who believes trailblazers have their place in the Hall, Jim Plunkett is your man.

Previous The greatness of Lombardi, Allen through the eyes of Larry Brown
Next Best DE not in Canton? It's L.C. Greenwood


  1. Sports Fan
    May 10, 2016

    ATTN: PFHOF Selectors/Voters
    Dan Fouts
    James Lofton

    Important Must Read:
    Tom Flores & Jim Plunkett still outside of the Pro Football Hall of Fame & looking in
    Read All additional related links within this story
    Jim Plunkett & Tom Flores are not getting any younger
    get them in the PFHOF while they/Family still can enjoy it

  2. Sports Fan
    May 10, 2016

    ATTN: PFHOF Selectors/Voters
    Dan Fouts
    James Lofton

    MUST READ Jim Plunkett 2 Links

    “SHOULD Be On #PFHOF Ballot”

    “The 2 Names That SHOULD Be On #PFHOF Ballot”

  3. Sports Fan
    May 10, 2016

    ATTN: PFHOF Selectors/Voters
    Dan Fouts
    James Lofton

    re: Raiders in the #PFHOF
    #PFHOF Voter Jason Cole Tweeted:
    “I’d push for Plunkett”

  4. Sports Fan
    May 10, 2016

    MUST READ for ALL Selectors/Voters – NFL – PFHOF
    Tony Gonzalez was a Chief, but he thinks Tom Flores AND Jim Plunkett belong in the #PFHOF

    By JAMES ARCELLANA – February 2, 2016
    Tony Gonzalez thinks Tom Flores and Jim Plunkett belong in the Hall of Fame

    The Oakland Raiders already have an incredibly large representation in Canton Ohio with 24 members representing the Silver and Black, including former owner Al Davis and former head coach John Madden. But even with that many representatives already in the NFL Hall of Fame, you could easily argue that the Raiders deserve to have a lot more than the 24 members already there.

    Thankfully, the two most deserving candidates who were not inducted for years, finally received the recognition they deserved in recent seasons. First, Ray Guy became the first pure punter to be inducted into the Hall, then Mr. Raider, Tim Brown was inducted this past year. Both men deserved to be inducted long before now, but that’s not abnormal when it comes to Oakland Raiders greats.

    This year, Ken Stabler, who passed away recently, was named as a finalist by the Senior Committee, a group that is responsible for looking at people who may have been overlooked over the years. Typically when someone is named as a Senior Committee finalist, it’s all but assumed that they will be admitted into Canton.

    But that still leaves some deserving Oakland Raiders who are not in the Hall of Fame. One of the most notable, Tom Flores, is being talked about now because of the fact that Ron Rivera, head coach of the Carolina Panthers is the second Hispanic head coach to reach the Super Bowl. The first, of course, being Flores.

    Given that fact, I asked NFL great Tony Gonzalez what he thought about Flores not being in the Hall and he decided to double down on me and throw Jim Plunkett in the mix as well.

  5. Sports Fan
    May 10, 2016


    JIm Plunkett – Tom Flores

  6. Sports Fan
    May 10, 2016


    Which Raiders Should Be In HOF?
    Raiders Hall of Famers discuss which former members of the Silver and Black should be inducted into the PFHOF

  7. Sports Fan
    May 10, 2016

    ATTN: PFHOF Selectors/Voters
    Dan Fouts
    James Lofton


    Historian Mario Longoria one of the foremost Authors on Latino, Hispanic, Mexican, Chicano Athletes

    His work and research can be seen at the Professional Football Hall of Fame, therefore even the Hall of Fame acknowledges his work

    He commented about Coach Tom Flores and Jim Plunkett not being in the Hall of Fame, his comments are extremely important:

    “They’re being lost in the mist of time”

    “By all standards, they should be in the Hall of Fame, but they’re not and the voters don’t take the time to find out the whole story.”

    “They won that first Super Bowl together; a Chicano coach and a Chicano quarterback. You cannot put a value on that as an accomplishment, especially not to Mexicans in the Southwest.”
    The Raiders with Coach Flores and Jim Plunkett went on the win a 2nd Super Bowl

    Historian Mario Longoria’s comments should not be dismissed, minimized, disregarded or overlooked

  8. Sports Fan
    May 10, 2016


    From 2002 – L.A. Times – Rob Fernas



    Al Davis has made a record eight presentations to inductees at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and he would like to make a few more. The Oakland Raider owner says several former Raiders continue to be overlooked.

    “The only coach who has won two Super Bowls and is not in the Hall of Fame is Tom Flores,” Davis told the San Francisco Chronicle.
    “The only quarterback who has won two Super Bowls and is not in the Hall of Fame is Jim Plunkett….

    Furthermore, Davis said, there’s “no question” that punter Ray Guy and wide receiver Cliff Branch also should be inducted.

    Davis, who entered the Hall of Fame in 1992, will be in Canton, Ohio, today for inductions that include former Raider tight end Dave Casper, who will be presented by former Raider coach John Madden.
    Mr. Davis is correct….”THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE”

  9. Sports Fan
    May 10, 2016


    How many Hispanics in the NFL Hall of Fame?

    Answer by Trivia Dan

    Three (3):

    Tom Fears, first Mexican-American enshrined
    Steve Van Buren
    Anthony Munoz

    Trivia Dan states:
    “In many people’s opinion,
    the first-ever Hispanic pro starting QB and 2-time Super Bowl-winning head coach, Tom Flores,
    and his QB, Jim Plunkett, the only eligible 2-time winning Super Bowl QB not in the Hall, SHOULD BE, but they are not as of 2014.”

    This is a direct quote by Trivia Dan of ANSWERS.COM

  10. Sports Fan
    May 10, 2016

    From 2013 – 89.3 KPCC – By Take Two

    Why aren’t the NFL’s first minority Super Bowl winners in the Hall Of Fame?

    It’s the last day of National Hispanic Heritage Month, a time celebrating the contributions of Latinos to the United States.

    There have been concerts and art exhibits highlighting the accomplishments of Latinos past and present, but two trailblazing Chicanos have been all but forgotten.

    In 1981, the Oakland Raiders’ Tom Flores and Jim Plunkett became the first minorities to win a Super Bowl as a head coach and quarterback, respectively. Three years later they did it again when the Raiders played in Los Angeles.

    They’ve got championships on their resumes and the distinction of being first, but neither is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and — as time goes on — the memory of what they did gets even fainter.’s Paul Gutierrez joins the show with more.

    Hear the full must hear excellent interview at the link below:

  11. Sports Fan
    May 10, 2016

    From 2014 – ESPN – Paul Gutierrez
    Ray Guy stumps for Jim Plunkett, Cliff Branch, Tom Flores as fellow Hall of Famers

    OAKLAND — It was whispered in certain smoke-filled corners of Silver and Blackdom that Ray Guy could punt a football so far and so high, rain would come down with the pigskin.

    How appropriate, then, that it was in a virtual monsoon that Guy, the first pure punter to be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was honored Thursday night with a halftime ceremony and presented his ring by his children at Coliseum.

    Guy is the 22nd Hall of Famer recognized by the Raiders, and 13 of them were on hand for the shindig — Ron Mix, Jim Otto, Willie Brown, Fred Biletnikoff, Art Shell, Ted Hendricks, Mike Haynes, Howie Long, Dave Casper, Marcus Allen, James Lofton, John Madden and Rod Woodson.

    But before the Oakland Raiders took on a longtime rival in the Kansas City Chiefs, Guy spoke with reporters under an awning to keep dry.

    Guy, who can speak on any number of topics at length, was asked who he thought should be the next Raiders representiative to have his bust next to his in Canton.

    “You can go with [Jim] Plunkett, Cliff Branch, Tom Flores, there’s a ton of them that can go in next,” Guy said. “When is that time? I know the criteria but sometimes they don’t look at the whole criteria. We’re going to push really hard from now on.

    “Now that I’m part of the Hall of Fame, I’ll have a little bit more voice. Hopefully we’ll get a lot more Raiders because we have a lot more deserving.”

    Tim Brown is a semifinalist again (he has been a finalist the past five years) and other names from the past brought up by fans and teammates alike include Ken Stabler, Lester Hayes, Steve Wisniewski, Jack Tatum, Dave Dalby and Raymond Chester.

    I asked Guy why he thought more Raiders were not already enshrined.

    “I don’t know,” he said. “It’s kind of a mystery. I guess there’s this mystique.

    “I can’t figure it out. We need to open their eyes a little more. It’s a different era when you’re talking about those guys. It’s not just about statistics.”

    Or think of it this way … when it rains, it pours.

  12. Sports Fan
    May 10, 2016

    From 2013 – ESPN – Paul Gutierrez


    Flores, Plunkett DESERVE CANTON CALL

    Hispanic coach, QB broke barriers and led the Raiders to their 1st Super Bowl XV win-

    Coach Tom Flores and quarterback Jim Plunkett paved the way for Hispanics in the NFL.

    ALAMEDA, Calif. — Their profiles struck a pose as proud as it was profound.

    Seemingly looking ahead to a promising future, they were on the cover of the premiere issue of NFL Pro magazine, their faces above the words “JIM PLUNKETT AND TOM FLORES: HISPANIC PRIDE, POISE AND AN NFL TITLE.”

    It was summer 1981, and the Oakland Raiders’ quarterback and coach were not only reigning atop the football world with a Super Bowl championship, they had blazed trails and broken barriers in doing so.

    And yet, neither understood the magnitude until years later. For Flores, it came when he was traveling the country and a man came up to him during one of his stops, thanked him and told him his father had cried after the Raiders beat the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XV.

    “I didn’t even know him,” Flores recalled with a laugh. “It was about that Hispanic heritage that we shared. That’s when it really set in, when I saw how proud people were.

    “There were a lot of things I did that were influential, looking back.”

    Flores was the first Latino quarterback in the old AFL, the first Latino coach to win a Super Bowl, and in Seattle, the first Latino general manager in the NFL.

    “I’m proud of these things,” he said.

    And yet, if you were to ask the random fan today who the first minority coach was to win the Super Bowl, more often than not, they would say Tony Dungy.

    While Flores and Plunkett were looking forward in their iconic magazine cover shoot, perhaps it is best to take a look back, to the excitement the two created in a certain segment of society in the waning days of the Carter administration (yes, it was that long ago) to better understand the road they’ve traversed.

    Role models

    After the Raiders beat the San Diego Chargers in the AFC title game, Los Angeles Times columnist Frank del Olmo wrote on Jan. 16, 1981, of the effect the two had among Latinos in general, Mexican-Americans in particular.

    “So it’s a safe bet that in the coming two weeks the Raiders’ head coach, Tom Flores, and the team’s starting quarterback, Jim Plunkett, will be the most publicized and talked about Chicanos in the world,” the late del Olmo wrote. “At least this side of Cesar Chavez.”

    Yes, the civil rights activist and labor leader.

    “Whether the Raiders win or lose the Super Bowl game, millions of Latinos will be proud simply that Flores and Plunkett are there,” del Olmo added. “For they will be there not as representatives of their people, but as competent professionals whose skill, determination and hard work have brought them to the pinnacle of success in their field.”

    And there it was.

    Flores, whose parents were from Chihuahua, Mexico and who grew up working in the fields of the Central California valley, and Plunkett, the son of blind parents in Northern California, had become iconic figures. Not because of their shade of skin color, but because of who they were, and — to borrow from a famous speech — the content of their character, as seen by the masses.

    Their following only grew three years later, when the then-Los Angeles Raiders won the franchise’s third Super Bowl in eight years, this time blowing out defending champion Washington.

    Sal Castro, the late Chicano activist who helped organize the East Los Angeles high school walkouts in 1968 and died April 15, compared the ripple effect of Flores and Plunkett winning titles in football to the cultural phenomenon of “Fernandomania” in baseball, and not just in L.A., even if Fernando Valenzuela was from Mexico and Flores and Plunkett were as American as mom, apple pie, baseball and, well, Taco Bell.

    “Hell yes, there’s a cry in the community to have heroes,” Castro told me in 2011. “Throughout the Southwest, you see people walking around with Raiders shirts on … they’re part of the reason.

    “A lot of chavalitos [youngsters] are crying for positive role models. I hope there will be more Chicanos who will sleep standing up, to get taller. Guys like Flores and Plunkett opened doors. They broke barriers. Both came from humble beginnings, and that only adds to their story and how inspiring they are.”

    Or, as del Olmo wrote nearly 33 years ago of Plunkett, guys in the neighborhood were “talking about him as a Chicano, just like he was a homeboy from East L.A.”

    Plunkett, though, grew up in a San Jose barrio and won the Heisman Trophy at Stanford.

    “I’m proud to be Hispanic,” Plunkett told me on the 30th anniversary of the Raiders’ Super Bowl XV victory. “It’s who I am. And if it helps kids in our community around the country set goals, even better.

    “But it didn’t hit until later. That’s when you have a chance to really step back and take it all in, get an overall view of what I was able to do.”

    Long road for Plunkett

    Plunkett, who was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 1971 by the then-Boston Patriots, had early success in the league before injuries and ineffectiveness waylaid him. He found his way to San Francisco with the 49ers and was thisclose to being out of football for good when he went across the Bay to the Raiders to serve as Ken Stabler’s backup in 1979, which also happened to be Flores’ first year as coach after John Madden retired.

    But when Stabler was shipped to the Houston Oilers in a starter-for-starter trade for Dan Pastorini prior to the 1980 season, Plunkett had enough. He would not be able to compete for the starting gig and went to Flores and asked for his release.

    Flores convinced Plunkett to stick it out. His time came when Pastorini suffered a broken leg in Week 5. The Raiders were foundering at 2-3 when Plunkett became the full-time starter. Oakland won nine of its last 11 games and entered the playoffs as a wild card, beating old friend Stabler and the Oilers in the wild-card game, upending Cleveland in the famous “Red Right 88” game, when Mike Davis picked off Brian Sipe in the end zone, surviving an AFC title game shootout with the Chargers and heading to New Orleans for the Super Bowl.

    Plunkett’s story was equal parts Lazarus and Cinderella, all wrapped in one silver and black bow. Flores, who was known as the “Ice Man” for his cool demeanor as a player, called it a “resurrection” for Plunkett’s career. It’s the kind of stuff that embodies the very fabric of the NFL’s myth and ethos. And yet …

    “They’re being lost in the mist of time,” said Mario Longoria, who wrote “Athletes Remembered: Mexicano/Latino Professional Football Players, 1929-1970.”

    “They are fading into history, becoming obscure.”

    Hall of Fame?

    If you subscribe to the theory that you cannot write the definitive book on the purportedly inclusive NFL without mentioning the accomplishments and contributions of Flores and Plunkett, then where are their gold jackets, their busts in Canton?

    Indeed, many see the Pro Football Hall of Fame as an incomplete shrine without the two.

    “By all standards, they should be in the Hall of Fame,” Longoria lamented, “but they’re not and the voters don’t take the time to find out the whole story.”

    While not as stats-driven as the national pastime of baseball, the national obsession of football is more story-driven, even if Flores was 8-3 in the playoffs and is one of three coaches — with Jimmy Johnson and George Seifert — with at least two Super Bowl wins not already in the Hall. As happened to Seifert in Carolina, though, Flores did not win in his next stop, in Seattle.

    Still, Flores — who was the Raiders’ first quarterback and is one of a handful of QBs to have played in the AFL for its entire existence — has two other rings, one as Len Dawson’s backup in Kansas City for Super Bowl IV, and one as an assistant on Madden’s Oakland staff for Super Bowl XI.

    Lester Hayes, the former Raiders cornerback who won two rings with Flores, called the absence of his former coach in the Hall “so, so foul…the most unfair, the most unjust omission.”

    Flores, 76, pops up every now and then on an early Hall candidates list.

    “I don’t get too excited about it anymore,” he said. “I’m on the ballot and then I fall on the wayside. The voters, whoever they are, are not interested in what guys have done in the past. It’s about the more recent years.”

    Not that he’s against guys who deserve to get in on their first year of eligibility — he mentioned his former running back Marcus Allen as the perfect example of a player who should get in right away. It’s just that with the way the system works, anywhere from four to seven have to get into the Hall every year. And the 46 selectors hash it out in a sequestered room the day before the Super Bowl, whittling their list from 17 finalists, with a candidate needing 80 percent of the vote for election. The way the process plays out, selectors often act as “sponsors,” speaking for candidates, with backroom deals being bartered, critics charge.

    “The system is flawed,” Flores said. “It’s about who yells the loudest in that room.”

    Flores having worked for Raiders owner Al Davis also might be working against him in the minds of selectors.

    “The perception was that Al did it all,” Flores said, “and if they did some homework, they’d see that I coached the team.

    “He had input during the week. We talked all the time, second-guessed each other. I learned most everything from him, his leadership from him. But yeah, the impression was that Al did everything.

    “I don’t begrudge Al for that.”

    Plunkett, 65, was the MVP of Super Bowl XV and is the only eligible starting quarterback with at least two titles not in the Hall. Yeah, he threw a lot of picks, but do yourself a favor and compare his career numbers to those of Joe Namath.

    Meanwhile, Flores’ Hall lot now, he figures, rests with the seniors committee, which examines the cases of players and coaches whose careers have been over for at least 25 years. Plunkett, whose playing career ended in 1986, is already there. Flores, who coached Seattle in 1994, still has some time.

    Ray Guy, Flores’ punter with the Raiders, is a seniors committee nominee this year.

    “They won that first Super Bowl together; a Chicano coach and a Chicano quarterback,” Longoria said. “You cannot put a value on that as an accomplishment, especially not to Mexicans in the Southwest.”

    Transcendent figures, like altars to La Virgen de Guadalupe in the corners of some Latino homes? Not quite.

    But as linked intrinsically as they were successful, Flores and Plunkett are still together, so to speak, raging against time. They co-host with Greg Papa on preseason Raiders telecasts, while Flores joins Papa on the radio in the regular season and Plunkett is with Papa on-set for in-house Raiders television shows.

    “His record speaks for itself,” Flores said of Plunkett. “Maybe he didn’t go to Pro Bowls, but he won.”

    You could say the same of Flores, who actually introduced himself as the Raiders’ coach at Super Bowl media day in New Orleans.

    “I didn’t think anybody knew who I was,” he said.

    They should know now.

  13. Sports Fan
    May 10, 2016

    JIm Plunkett – Tom Flores – Raiders

    NFL Network – The Timeline: America’s Game & The Iran Hostage Crisis


  14. Sports Fan
    May 10, 2016

    Best selling author
    has been called a
    “scholar, author, editor, and renaissance man”
    “a 21st century Theodore White,”
    “one of the most accomplished historians in the U.S.”
    Jim Plunkett:
    Every Underdog Has His Day
    by David Pietrusza


  15. Sports Fan
    May 10, 2016

    re: A question…Think Jim Plunkett belongs in #PFHOF
    Joe Theismann Tweeted:

  16. Sports Fan
    May 10, 2016

    re: “LOCO”

    Dave Dameshek Tweeted:
    “You know what’s loco?
    Snake Stabler JUST got into the Hall,
    Jim Plunkett STILL isn’t in,
    but Bob Griese’s had a gold jacket for 26 yrs.”

    • May 25, 2016

      AMEN, Dave!!! They GAVE Griese Stabler’s spot in 1990, kept Stabler out until he died, and then lamely justified it for almost 30 years! JEEEEZZZ!!

      • Sports Fan
        May 26, 2016

        Talk Of Fame
        ATTN: PFHOF Selectors/Voters
        Dan Fouts
        James Lofton

        Thank you for your reply

        re: “lamely justified” & “Stabler”

        Ken “Snake” Stabler should have been Inducted while he was alive so He/Family/Love Ones could have enjoyed the entire process/experience!

        There are others that should have been Inducted while they were alive too!

        re: PFHOF17

        Jim Plunkett/Tom Flores are both going on 30yrs. now waiting for Induction
        – Both have Never made it passed the First Preliminary Ballot process!
        – Both have Never made it as a Semi-Finalist OR Finalist!

        Tom Flores will turn 80yrs old for the PFHOF17 Class

        Those that are Worthy, get them ALL in while their alive!

        That should be a Priority!

  17. Sports Fan
    May 10, 2016

    Great Points!

    Scott Dochterman
    March 2, 2016 at 11:43 am
    I get all-decade recognition is important in helping players reach Canton. But players often get overlooked when they are drafted in the middle of one decade and their prime is up before the meat of the next decade. Take Donnie Shell, for instance. He was an unsigned free agent in 1974, a five-time Pro Bowler from 1978-82, a first-team all-pro three times, won four Super Bowls and intercepted 51 passes. But he automatically is devalued because he wasn’t “all-decade.” If there was a “Team of the Decade 1975-85” Shell is on it. But his recognition doesn’t fit into a neat little box, therefore he’s not considered as worthy as other all-decade candidates. I think Jared Allen will fall victim to this as well. Some players are penalized simply because their prime straddles two decades.

    Likewise, some great teams are devalued along similar lines. The Raiders won three Super Bowls from 1976-83, yet they’re not considered “Team of the Decade.” The Redskins played in four Super Bowls and won three from 1982-91, yet one of their wins were outside the 1980s box, and they’re left out like a hanging chad. When the greatest dynasties are discussed, they often are based strictly on one decade: Packers of the 60s, Steelers of the 70s, 1980s 49ers, 1990s Cowboys. These other teams boast similar credentials but don’t enjoy the label. It’s unfortunate and often it’s unfair.

  18. Jeff
    May 10, 2016

    Fine QB. Had a couple of good post-season runs. Hall of Fame? No way. I can probably name a dozen senior-eligible QBs who aren’t in the HOF, don’t belong (although maybe one or two like Ken Anderson do), but were better than Plunkett. No disrespect to him – I appreciate his achievements but this should be beyond his reach. I know Raider fans think this is an oversight and I understand why, but I’d urge them to focus their energy on a few of Plunkett’s teammates (Lester Hayes and Cliff Branch).

  19. Rasputin
    May 10, 2016

    No affirmative action inductees please. His ethnicity should be irrelevant to his HoF case. Regarding his stats, 52.5% completion and more interceptions than touchdowns were average to below average for his era. The NFL average hit 52.5% by 1974 (Plunkett completed 49.1% of his passes that year and led the league in most interceptions) and was in the 55-57% range for the last several years he played. It’s not about being a “stats guy”, “accolades guy”, or “rings guy”. All are legitimate components to consider. But even if stats aren’t the primary basis of one’s case, you’d still expect a HoF QB to be significantly better than average in the basic passing stats, not worse than average. I think Ken Anderson has a better case for Canton. Anderson’s career just happened to span the exact same years as Plunkett’s, 1971-1986. In that period Anderson completed 59.3% of his passes and threw significantly more touchdowns than interceptions. Anderson led the league in completion percentage three years, led in yards twice, and led in passer rating four years. He also made four Pro Bowls and was first team All Pro one year, so Anderson decisively trumps Plunkett in two of the three categories listed above. He never won a Super Bowl. They both have flaws in their cases. You don’t typically induct QBs purely for statistical accomplishments unless they’re monstrous (like Marino), and you don’t put QBs in the HoF just for winning Super Bowls. If the Ravens had won a second Super Bowl earlier when Trent Dilfer was still on the team would we seriously be talking about inducting him?

  20. bachslunch
    May 10, 2016

    Meaningful stats well used matter to me, and thus it’s no surprise I don’t think Jim Plunkett belongs in the HoF. He’s arguably the worst QB with two championship wins. He does horribly in Kiran Rasaretnam’s rankings (134, 90, 50 for best 4, 7, and 10 years — dead last of everyone in the last of these) and doesn’t even appear on Chase Stuart’s rankings. Both Tobin Rote and Jack Kemp rank better, aren’t in the HoF, and also won two titles — and frankly I wouldn’t vote for them, either. Agree with Jeff that Raider fans would be more fruitfully served advocating for better candidates such as Cliff Branch, Dave Grayson, and Steve Wisniewski, or perhaps Lester Hayes or Todd Christensen. Also agree with Rasputin that Ken Anderson is by far the most deserving QB not in, with Roman Gabriel and John Brodie perhaps the next best options.

  21. […] Ron Borges of the Talk of Fame Network certainly hopes so. […]

  22. bachslunch
    May 11, 2016

    Another QB with two titles not in is Tommy Thompson (1948-49 Eagles). He actually looks pretty good via Rasaretnam’s rankings (42, 46, N/A). Chase Stuart ranks him 55th. Arguably, he may be the best two-title QB not in. though again not sure if I’d vote for him or not.

  23. One Too Many
    May 11, 2016

    Um, no.

    He only started double digit games TWICE in his last 9 seasons in the league.

    He was an injury prone QB who caught fire at the right moment.

    Well so did Doug Williams, let’s put him in too.

  24. Steve
    May 11, 2016

    Hey Rasputin, you mention that completion % was in the 55-57% range by the end of his career. Fair to point out that Plunkett’s completion % as a Raider (the only decent team he ever played for) was 56.2%. And when stakes were highest in the postseason he was just under 60%. This shows that when we wasn’t getting sacked constantly, or running the wishbone(!), he had a strong completion percentage and it got better as the games got more important.

    Having said that, I understand the statistical case against his induction. But he proved to be a QB who could carry a team with the Raiders. And any comparison to Trent Dilfer is laughable. That ’80 team was picked for last place and mired at 2-3 when he took over. The ’83 Raiders were stacked on D but anyone who thinks they would have won it all with Marc Wilson behind center, raise your hand.

  25. David
    August 7, 2016

    “There are lies , damned lies , and statistics”. A quote from Samuel Clemens , also known as Mark Twain. This illustrates my opinion that some things transcend the numbers. Considering the whole story of Jim Plunkett , the football styles of the times ,2 Superbowl wins, take all that into consideration and he must be included. Of course I’m a homer , having drank beers with him at Talbot’s in Palo Alto back when, and a Raider Fan. This isn’t over yet…

  26. Gary Parrish
    September 22, 2017

    Jim Plunkett absolutely belongs in the Hall Of Fame. Talk to the guys who played against Him and the ones who played along side of Him. Former Eagles NFL Cornerback and announcer Irv Cross, I believe said it best when talking about Jim Plunkett. He said You can knock Jim down all day and He will still get up and throw the touchdown pass that beats You. He was not accident prone. He was beat up badly with no offensive line, no running back and was the featured runner at The Patriots under Chuck Fairbanks. He still won many games that they would not have won if not for His ability and His efforts. There was good reason why He won The Heisman Trophy and was The # 1 draft pick overall. How can You even count pro bowls, what a joke? How many years were Janikowski and Lechler the best at their positions and didn’t make the pro bowl. So many injustices are in the NFL and HOF. How many playoff games did Dick Butkus win in his career? Zero. He never made the playoffs. People who shouldn’t be in the HOF are and Guys like Jim Plunkett, Tom Flores, Cliff Branch, Lester Hayes, Jack Tatum, Daryl Lamonica, Hewritt Dixon, Steve Wisnewski and the list still goes on are still not in The HOF just because they are Raiders. Cliff Branch changed the game. Daryl Lamonica dominated The AFL and NFL for years. It took 30 years to get Madden in, One of the few head coaches who coached 10 years and had a higher win percentage than Vince Lombardi and then to finally put Ken Stabler in after He died. What is wrong with that picture. I have been watching the NFL and AFL since 1963. I have seen every QB in the NFL since that time including YA Tittle, Bart Starr, Don Meredith, Johnny Unitas, Archie Manning, Joe Theisman, Roman Gabriel, Daryl Lamonica, Len Dawson, Joe Namath, Ken Anderson, Steve Grogan, Joe Kapp, Dan Marino, Jon Hadl, Joe Montana, Jim McMahon, Dan Fouts, Fran Tarkenton, Warren Moon and that biggest crybaby ever in the NFL, John Elway and so on. I guarantee there is not one man currently in the HOF now or not in the HOF who left more on the field and gave more to the NFL than Jim Plunkett. JIm Plunkett didn’t just barely squeek out SB wins like John Elway. Jim Plunkett dominated in both SB 15 and SB 18 and in playoff games or big games throughout His Career when it really counted. Look at the difference in His stats when He had an offensive line and when He wasn’t the featured runner or ball carrier. He set records that will never be broken. Did he throw more interceptions than touchdowns. Yes He did. So did Joe Namath. I was offered and all expense paid trip to Canton, to the HOF and even including a rental car but I refused because Jim Plunkett was not in there. I have been boycotting the HOF and will continue to do so since finding out that idiot Peter King is the one of the main big negative HOF panel voters that always kept Plunkett and Stabler out of the HOF. He shouldn’t be allowed to vote and should be removed from being able to vote on any future inductees. Kurt Warner is now in the HOF but not Jim Plunkett. If they don’t put Jim Plunkett in the HOF and Tom Flores so They can enjoy what they earned with their families while being alive then they should just shut it down. It is a Hall Of Shame.

    • Sports Fan
      September 24, 2017

      re: “I have been boycotting the HOF and will continue to do so since finding out that idiot Peter King is the one of the main big negative HOF panel voters that always kept Plunkett and Stabler out of the HOF. He shouldn’t be allowed to vote and should be removed from being able to vote on any future inductees”

      Can you expound on this?

      Can TOF, RB, RG, CJ here on this Website confirm or deny or expound as well?

      Can any other readers expound on this?

  27. Gary Parrish
    September 29, 2017

    Have You ever heard of a show called “Inside The NFL”? Comedian George Lopez was a guest on the show one time and did a whole serious segment on Jim Plunkett and Tom Flores and their accomplishments in pro football and some history of each one. All the regular cast of the show, Len Dawson and Nick Bonoconti agreed that they should be put in the HOF. Then Peter King chimed in and gave his list of the reasons they should not be inducted. Plunkett throwing more interceptions than touchdowns, never making the Pro Bowl. George Lopez had a good response. Maybe NFL actually means Not For Latinos. ESPN’s Sport Century Did many Pro Football athletes stories including Jim Plunkett. Peter King spoke on Jim Plunkett’s story and couldn’t even show him respect on his own story. He said Jim Plunkett didn’t even look like a football player. He looked more like an insurance salesman. He has never had one good thing to say about Jim Plunkett. I nominate Jim Plunkett and Tom Flores for NFL HOF. I also ask for Peter KIng to be removed from being allowed any future voting rights of HOF nominees.

    • Sports Fan
      September 29, 2017

      What about
      “Peter King is the one of the main big negative HOF panel voters that always kept Plunkett and Stabler out of the HOF”
      What do you recall about “Stabler” & your comment?


  28. Ronny Boy
    April 7, 2018

    Flores and Plunkett belong in the PFHOF!!! Their records speak for themselves. Championships do matter because this is a team sport and that is what made the players like Terry Bradshawe and Jim Plunkett so great. People may forget that Plunkett like Bradshawe called their own plays which required a greater understanding of the game and the maturity to do what had to be done for the benefit of the team as opposed to necessarily their own benefit. These players understood this principle and demonstrated it in their selflessness as opposed to selfishness. For example, in Super Bowl 18, Plunkett was beginning to shred the Redskin secondary and waked into halftime with a 23-3 lead over the Redskins. If Plunkett wanted he, he could have continued to shred them and attempt to earn a 2nd Super Bowl MVP, but he did not, instead he managed the game and gave the ball to Marcus Allen who shredded the Redskin Defense on his way towards earning the games MVP. I don’t know that many people realize that because he understood the idea that it was not important how he did, but how the team did. Plunkett was 8-1 in the post season had a 122.6 passer raitng in Super Bowls 15 and 18 (only 2nd all-time to Joe Montana’s passer rating of 130.0). Threw 4 touchdowns and 0 Interceptions. Appeared in two Super Bowls in four years, and I argue had he been a 25 year old quarter back as opposed to a 32 year old in his first Super Bowl appearance like Montana and Bradshawe, Plunkett would have taking those Raider teams of the 80’s to two or three more Championships. Plunkett outplayed HOFer Dan Fouts in the big games and has more rings than Jim Kelly, Warren Moon, Dan Marino, Bret Favre, Fran Tarkenton all of whom are HOFers put together. Marino, Fouts, Kelly, Favre, and Moon may have more records, put I will take the rings that Plunkett so richly earned with his teammates and coaches who were members of those great Raider teams many of whom belong in Canton (Lester Hayes, Rod Martin, Matt Millen, Cliff Branch, etc…) over them. I would also take Plunkett over all the quarterbacks of today bar none because he was clutch and non assuming. I also want to mention another quarterback who has been kept out that so richly deserves to be in there as well is Joe Theismann, what a great player and competitor he was. You cannot talk of that decade without talking about Jim Plunkett, Joe Theismann, and Joe Montana. These three quartebacks accounted for seven of the ten Super Bowls in the 1980’s.
    As for Tom Flores, As a Head coach his winning percentage ranks up there with Chuck Knoll and he as more rings than HOFer coach Marv Levy and as many as Tom Laundry, Don Shula, and Bill Parcels, one less than HoFers Bill Walsh and Joe Gibbs. Bill Parcels was quoted as saying that of all the coaches he faced, Joe Gibbs was the best. Gibbs took four Redskin Teams to four Super Bowl and only lost once and that one loss was to who? Tom Flores who for anyone who has seen that game will see that Gibbs’s team was out coached and his team outplayed (38-9) in every area of the game that day in a year that Gibbs was voted coach of the year. Flores also out coached another coach who should be in the Hall, Dick Vermeil (in Super Bowl 15) who hopefully someday will. To sum up, the voters have a problem, they will have to justify putting Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin into the HOF one day as they surely will and should, but they cannot do it with a clean conscious while still denying the obvious induction of two men who should be inducted not because they were the first Hispanic (minority) Head coach and quarterback to win a Super Bowl, it needs to be noted that they deserve to be put in to the Professional Football Hall of Fame because one was a great Raider Head coach and the other a great Raider quarterback who happened to be Mexican-American, and who’s time has been long over due.

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