My friend Sam Boghosian, the Lord of the Rings

Sam Boghosian posing with one of the two Super Bowl rings he won with the Raiders as the offensive line coach.

I’m always surprised at Sam Boghosian’s patience with me, because I had always been obsessed with his rings.

When we would meet for lunch or early morning coffee, I would eventually ask about the rings, and inquire if he would bring them over. I hope he didn’t think I was more interested in the rings than him.

Sam was that really cool sports figure that I loved to hang around with. People might not know as much about Sam as other sports figures here in the Palm Springs area. But few sports figures are more accomplished as Sam.

In college, Sam played for UCLA and helped the Bruins win their only national championship in football. When you consider how rich their sports history is, I think that makes the football title especially unique.

Sam had also interviewed for the head coaching job at Oklahoma at one point, but then he got a job as the offensive coordinator coach for the expansion Seattle Seahawks in 1976.

After his stint in Seattle, Sam went on to join his friend Tom Flores with the Raiders where he was the offensive line coach. There, Sam won two more rings.

So I think I got Sam to bring his rings a few times, sitting in Ruby’s or Mimi’s Cafe. If only the people next to us knew what he was carrying.

Sam Boghosian with his two Super Bowl rings while coaching the offensive line for the Raiders in both Oakland and Los Angeles.

I got to know Sam when I worked at the Desert Sun. I can’t remember the story where we met. I’m pretty sure he was promoting a charity event, because he was always giving in that way.

But Sam was great about helping these events as a volunteer. As a journalist, you deal with a lot of PR professionals, and they stink at dealing with the media. They should have hired a guy like Sam.

I’ve made the transition from writer to handling media relations and marketing. My success with it is really based on how Sam did it. He was friendly, informative and knew how to sell it.

In fact, Sam did it better than people who made a career of it.

And Sam would introduce me to people, some who would become interesting stories. I met Bob Newton, who was on the offensive line during Sam’s time with the Seahawks.

Bob is a man who had battled addiction, overcome it and has been a successful counselor for several clinics in town, including the Betty Ford Clinic in Rancho Mirage.

Sam Boghosian, myself and Bob Newton after one of our lunches.

And of course, I got to know Tom Flores, the former Raiders coach, through Sam.

It was Sam, who alerted me to the fact that Flores is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, despite the fact he won two Super Bowls as a head coach, one as an assistant coach and another as a backup quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs.

He had pushed for Flores to be inducted, and now I try to do what I can to help Flores. I mean, the Raiders have never won a Super Bowl without Tom Flores. The Raiders are the only Southern California team to win a Super Bowl. And Flores is also the first minority coach in the NFL, let along the first to win a title.

Sadly, Sam won’t be around to see Flores inducted into the Hall of Fame.

On Sunday, Sam has passed away. He had Alzheimer’s and his health had been declining.

It took me a while to pick up that Sam had Alzheimer’s. He would always ask me many times how I was doing. But even before he had the disease, he would ask me multiple times how I was doing because he sincerely cared about me.

I’m not the only one who Sam really cared about. Flores would tell me how Sam would have so many friends around the area. He was a lovable guy.

Sam also seemed like a larger-than-life kind of guy. Although he was only 5-foot-9, he just seemed like he would be tough as nails if you pushed him.

I’m not really how Sam would react in a adverse situation, because I never saw Sam angry. Well, that’s if you don’t count the times when he expressed his frustrations over Flores not being in the Hall of Fame.

I had gone through some tough times. Each time I spoke with Sam, he would want to figure out a way to help me. During those times, I wasn’t sure how I could help myself, so I didn’t know what to ask for.

The last time I spoke with Sam was during the holidays. I wanted to wish him a Merry Christmas. He was repeating himself a few times, but it was always wanting to know how I was doing.

To me, that was the same old Sam.

I’m really going to miss him.

Same and me after coffee.

Below is what Sam’s daughter Jody Boghosian Schiltz posted on Facebook.

My daddy, the man that taught me how to love, live and respect has passed away. It’s all fresh and raw. I am grateful for the unconditional love and comfort that he gave me and taught me how to give in return.
My daddy was my hero. ❤️

Sam Boghosian was born in Fresno, CA on December 22, 1931 and passed away in his Indian Wells home on February 23, 2020. With his wife Judy, and daughter Jody by his side.

Sam Boghosian was a man of many talents.
He graduated from UCLA as an Academic All American and asset to the 1954 National Championship Football team. His success at UCLA set the groundwork for the man he would become. His passion for people and football lead him into coaching with jobs at UCLA, Oregon State University, the Houston Oilers, the Seattle Seahawks, and lastly the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders. Sam helped coach the Raiders to two Super Bowl Championships.

Dedicated to cultivating lasting and meaningful connections, Sam lived his life in commitment to excellence and to all those around him that he loved so dearly. It was in his blood to help others and leave an impact on every person he met on his journey. As a member of the Triple X Fraternity and the NFL Alumni Association, he utilized his platform to do just that. He raised money and awareness for countless charities, helped facilitate and organize fundraisers, and was always up for a round of golf in honor of a good cause.
Sam Boghosian was a man of integrity, passion, and dedication.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Judy, and their daughter, Jody Schiltz, son-in-law, Brian, and grandson Braden. He now joins his son, John James Boghosian, who preceded him in death. Sam was a beloved son and brother leaving behind his sister, Joyce, brothers, Marty and Joe, their families, and the families of his siblings that passed before him.

We all love Sam dearly.

On behalf of my father, and in lieu of flowers; please consider a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association as they continue to search for a cure for this debilitating disease. Or please send a monetary donation, in my name, Jody Schiltz, for my mother, Judy Boghosian, who also has Alzheimer’s Disease and needs to be placed in a memory care home. I will be moving Judy to a care facility near my home in Georgia so she can be near my family and receive the care she needs to live the rest of her life with as much dignity as is possible. Thank you for any help you can give, as my parents were not financially prepared for the expenses that are needed for this level of extensive care. — with Brian Schiltz.  

Sam with all three of his championship rings, the two Super Bowl rings with the Raiders and the national championship ring with the UCLA Bruins.

Making the case: Tom Flores into the Pro Football Hall of Fame #TomFloresHOF

By Leighton Ginn

This is my regularly scheduled rant about how former Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders head coach Tom Flores needs to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

This year, I’m adding a hashtag #TomFloresHOF to help spread the word.

The resume of Flores is remarkable. Some of the highlights:

  • Flores won two Super Bowls as a head coach, 1981 with the Oakland Raiders and 1984 with the Los Angeles Raiders.
  • Flores has a Super Bowl title as a player with the Kansas City Chiefs (1970)
  • Flores, a Mexican American, is the first minority coach to win a Super Bowl. No Hispanic coach has won a Super Bowl, although Ron Rivera reached the Super Bowl last year with Carolina.
  • His 1984 Super Bowl title is the only one won in Southern California, which also had the Rams and Chargers.
  • The Raiders have not won a Super Bowl since Flores left.
  • Flores won a Super Bowl as an assistant coach with the Raiders in 1977 under John Madden. Another way of looking at it is, the Raiders has never won a Super Bowl without Flores.
  • Of the 23 coaches in the Hall of Fame (15 in the Super Bowl era), only Chuck Noll (4), Bill Walsh (3) and Joe Gibbs (3) have won more Super Bowl titles.
  • Only Flores and Mike Ditka have won Super Bowls as a player, assistant coach and head coach.
  • Coached seven Hall of Famers: Marcus Allen, Dave Casper, Ray Guy, Mike Haynes, Howie Long, Art Shell and Gene Upshaw.

So it needs to be pointed out that there are 12 coaches in the Hall of Fame who coached in the Super Bowl era who has two or less Super Bowl titles.

Get Tom Flores into the Hall of Fame now

Among those in the two-title group that are not in the Hall of Fame are Jimmy Johnson, who built the Dallas Cowboys dynasty in the 90s, and George Seifert, who maintained the San Francisco 49ers dynasty in the post-Joe Montana era.

There’s also Bill Belicheck, who has four Super Bowl titles and his induction appears to be a forgone conclusion.

But if you look beyond the resume, Flores was a pioneer in football. He might have been too modest about his accomplishments and the doors he’s opened.

Diversity is a problem for the NFL. If it wasn’t, something like the Rooney Rule would not exist.

Today, more than ever, the NFL needs to celebrate it’s diversity, and that begins with Tom Flores.

The Case for Tom Flores to Enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Here is an updated list of the Hall of Fame voters, with Twitter handles.

Kent Somers @kentsomers

Len Pasquarelli

Scott Garceau @ScottGShow1057

Vic Carucci @VicCarucci

Darin Gantt @DarinGantt

Dan Pompei @danpompei

Geoff Hobson @GeoffHobsonCin

Tony Grossi @TonyGrossi

Rick Gosselin @RickGosselinDMN

Jeff Legwold @Jeff_Legwold

Dave Birkett @DaveBirkett

Pete Dougherty @PeteDougherty

John McClain @McClain_on_NFL

Mike Chappell  @MChappell51

Sam Kouvaris @SamKouvaris

Randy Covitz @RandyCovitz

Armando Salguero @ArmandoSalguero

Mark Craig @MarkCraigNFL

Ron Borges @RonBorges

Jeff Duncan @JeffDuncan_

Bob Glauber @BobGlauber

Gary Myers @GaryMyersNYDN

Frank Cooney @FrankCooney

Paul Domowitch @pdomo

Ed Bouchette @EdBouchette

Kevin Acee @sdutKevinAcee   

Mike Sando @SandoESPN

Ira Kaufman @IKaufmanTBO

David Climer @DavidClimer

David Elfin @DavidElfin

Mary Kay Cabot @MaryKayCabot

Howard Balzer (@HBalzer721)

Jarrett Bell @JarrettBell

John Clayton @ClaytonESPN

Jason Cole @JasonColeBR

John Czarnecki,

Dan Fouts

Clark Judge @ClarkJudgeTOF

Peter King @SI_PeterKing

James Lofton @Lofton80

Ira Miller

Sal Paolantonio @SalPal_ESPN

Vito Stellino @VitoStellino

Jim Trotter @JimTrotter_NFL

Charean Williams @NFLCharean

Barry Wilner @Wilner88



Tom Flores intrigued by Las Vegas but says Raiders belong in Oakland

By Leighton Ginn

As intriguing as having the Raiders play in Las Vegas could be, former coach Tom Flores said it’s not what he really wants to see.

But Flores said it looks inevitable that the Raiders will be moving to Sin City unless something dramatic happens.

“It’s becoming more and more of a possibility,” Flores said. “I think it’s kind of exciting when you think about it, with all the possibilities there. It would be like a Super Bowl Sunday every home game with all the hotels and the people who come there.

“But the Raiders belong in Oakland. I’ve always said that, I’ll always say that forever because that’s where we started.”

Flores needs to be in the Hall of Fame

Flores was coaching the Raiders the last time they moved out of Oakland. As a result, Flores became the only coach to win a Super Bowl title in Southern California when the Raiders claimed the 1984 title, adding to his 1981 ring while in Oakland.

A lot has changed in the NFL, and having a good stadium is paramount. With the revenue sharing, franchise earn its own money through luxury boxes and parking. The Raiders have none of those in the Coliseum.

Unless something dramatic happens, it appears the Raiders will leave Oakland again after the 2016 season.

“There’s very little movement, if at all. If there is, it’s not known. It’s hidden very well,” Flores said. “You need to get a new stadium in Oakland because the stadium is falling apart, literally. It’s literally falling apart.  It’s not up to standards of the NFL and it’s kind of sad to see. It’s pretty sad to see.”

There had been talk about the Raiders moving to Levi Stadium, which is the home of the San Francisco 49ers, but Flores said he thinks that’s too far away for the Oakland fans.

The Raiders were also discussed to move into the new stadium that’s being built, and has already attracted the Rams from St. Louis.

The San Diego Chargers have the option to move to Los Angeles, and if they turn it down, then the Raiders could be the second tenant.

As successful as the Raiders were in Los Angeles, Flores said that deal will pale in comparison to going to Las Vegas.

“I think every team would like to have its own stadium and control of its own stadium,” Flores said. “I’m sure that’s what the Raiders are looking for in Vegas. But (owner) Mark Davis made it very clear, they would like to stay in Oakland, but they can’t. The league knows it, the rest of the ownership in the NFL, they realize it now. I don’t think there would be much opposition if they do decide to move.

“We were very popular in LA, we won a Super Bowl there. And we’re still very popular there. But I don’t know. I’m not that involved, although I am involved emotionally.”