Earlier this year, one of the greatest Raiders to ever don the illustrious Silver and Black was announced as a senior finalist for this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame. That man is wide receiver Cliff Branch. Cliff, who played thirteen years for the organization, was drafted in the fourth round out of the University of Colorado in the 1972 draft. He was known on the field for his play-making abilities and became one of the league’s first deep threats. Although posthumously, Branch is finally getting recognized.
Cliff Was Built Different
When it came to Cliff’s play on the field, it was a sight to see. He finished his career with over five hundred receptions, eight thousand receiving yards, and sixty-seven touchdowns. He’s also had two seasons totaling over one thousand receiving yards, not to mention a three-time Super Bowl champion. His career has had an overbooked ticket to Canton, much like a certain “Snake.” Cliff’s impact on the field earned him the nickname “Speed Kills,” and he lived up to that name.
What Others Have To Say About Cliff
Many of his Raiders teammates will constantly tell you how amazing he was on the field. That’s not surprising. However, what speaks to Branch’s legacy is that many others that didn’t play with him will tell you the same.
Isaac Bruce, member of the “Greatest Show on Turf,” spoke highly of Cliff. “They weren’t throwing the ball up and down the field like that during his era, but (Branch) did make a huge, huge dent in terms of receiving yards when he played.”
What Took So Long?
That is one of the biggest questions among football fans. Let’s face it, Branch was a game changer at his position, revolutionizing it to the point we see his impact to this day. So how can someone with such a legendary career not have a bust in Canton by now? Whether it be politics or simply because he’s a Raider, it doesn’t make sense. While Cliff passed away in 2019, with the news of him being closer to his dream, he can only look down and smile.
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