Sanger fans made their case for former Raiders coach Tom Flores back in October of 2018. When Flores visited an Apaches football game, fans chanted, "Hall of fame! Hall of Fame!"
He was a finalist for the Hall in 2019 but left out. This year's expanded Centennial class looked to be the best chance for the former Apache and Fresno City College Ram. But once again, Flores was left out of Canton.
"Nothing but disappointment and probably a little anger and frustration," said former Apaches head coach Chuck Shidan (1990-2016).
Flores and Mike Ditka are the only two men to win a Super Bowl as a player, assistant coach and head coach. Flores was also the first Hispanic head coach and starting quarterback in league history.
"Even when he was winning all of those Super Bowls, he was not the forefront of those teams," said Shidan. "The characters on the team were or Al Davis, the owner."
Perhaps that is what led to this weekend's selections.
Former coaches Bill Cowher and Jimmy Johnson were the two coaches inducted this year, and both were surprised on live television.
The two combine for fewer super bowls than Flores and neither can match his postseason winning percentage.
"It just doesn't add up," Shidan said. "So you have him (Cowher) and Tony Dungy. Those guys are so in the limelight; it seems like it's a popularity contest."
Tom Flores— Stephen Hicks (@StephenABC30) January 13, 2020
As a player:
Super Bowl champion (IV)
As a coach:
3× Super Bowl champion:
XI (as assistant coach)
XV, XVIII (as head coach)
Head coaching record
Regular season: 97–87 (.527)
Postseason: 8–3 (.727)
Career: 105–90 (.538) pic.twitter.com/VWeEBhZPLS
But here in the Central Valley, where a mural bears his likeness, the Sanger football stadium displays his name and the memories of his youth foundation and blood drive live on.
Shidan says Flores' legacy is more than secured.
"To us, he's a Hall of Famer. I would tell the kids, 'You're happy you got one Valley Championship ring, he has four Super Bowl rings!" said Shidan. "He's in pretty good company, so we're proud of him."
Now at 82, Flores is again left hoping for next year.