Raiders news: Cliff Branch elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame

The primary purpose of the Pro Football Hall of Fame is to celebrate those who have changed the game the most.

On Thursday night, the museum moved closer to that ultimate goal with the election of legendary Raiders wide receiver Cliff Branch. Branch, who died in August 2019 two days after his 71st birthday, was elected by the Hall of Fame senior committee. The 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame class was announced as part of the NFL Honors show.

It was long considered an omission that Branch was barred from the Hall of Fame for so long. He was one of the NFL’s first real-speed wide receivers. He and the Raiders’ passing game changed the way the defense played as his ability to extend the field had to be considered.

His stats stacked up nicely against several Hall of Fame receivers, including Lynn Swann and Drew Pearson. He had 501 passes for 8,685 yards (17.3 yards per catch) and 67 touchdowns during his career which spanned from 1972 to 1985.

Branch, 5-11, 170 pounds, was drafted by fellow Pro Football Hall of Famer Al Davis in 1972 in the fourth round out of Colorado. The Houston native played his entire 14-year NFL career with the Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders. He was one of three Raiders superbowl– winning teams.

Cliff Branch scores in Super Bowl XV
Photo by Ross Lewis/Getty Images

And now his legacy goes to Canton.

In recent years, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has done a decent job of catching up on inducting former Raiders, like Ken Stabler, Ray Guy, Tim Brown and Tom Flores were elected – years after they should have done. In the last two votes, Flores, Charles Woodson (on his first ballot) and now Branch have joined the Raiders’ Pro Football Hall of Fame wealthy contingent.

Defensive end Richard Seymour, who finished his career with the Silver and Black, will also join Branch in this year’s Hall of Fame class.

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