Pardon my French, but it's about damn time.
On Thursday, Raiders wide receiver Cliff Branch was announced as one of the members of Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2022. On behalf of the late Raiders legend, his sister Elaine Anderson represented him at the awards ceremony. The lifetime accolade for Branch is well deserved given his accomplishments and historical value he has to the game of football.
As we celebrate Branch's path to Canton, take a look at a few numbers that are symbolic in telling the story of the Hall of Famer's life and career.
713 is the area code of Branch's beloved hometown – Houston, Texas. The Houston native attended Worthing High School, shortly after the Prairie View Interscholastic League (PVIL) became integrated. Other notable alumni from Branch's high school include Super Bowl champion Otis Taylor and Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary.
Branch was drafted in the fourth round by the Silver and Black out of the University of Colorado in 1972. In two seasons as a Buffalo, he totaled 1,019 yards from scrimmage and eight touchdowns.
The longest reception in Raiders franchise history is – of course – owned by arguably their greatest deep threat of all time. Branch caught a 99-yard reception from Jim Plunkett against Washington on October 2, 1983. The 99-yarder also ties the mark for the longest reception in NFL history.
From 1974-1980, Branch totaled 6,047 receiving yards – the most of any receiver over that seven-year span. Also during that stretch, he led the league in yards per game and total touchdowns twice in 1974 and 1976.
Despite his last playoff appearance being in 1984, Branch is still sixth in the league all-time in career playoff receiving yards with 1,289. His playoff success heavily contributed to the three Super Bowl trophies he won with the Raiders. At the time of his retirement, Branch's total playoff yardage was the most in NFL history.
In two of the three Raiders' Super Bowl victories, Branch led the team in receiving touchdowns and receptions. He also led the Raiders in receiving yards in Super Bowl XVIII (94).
"A lot of guys in the Hall of Fame couldn't play today's game. Cliff is one of those guys who could play yesterday and today," said Marcus Allen, Super Bowl XVIII MVP and Branch's former teammate. "If he played today, he would destroy the league."
Over the course of all three Super Bowls, he combined for 181 receiving yards, 14 receptions and three touchdowns.
Despite being extremely qualified and well deserving of the Hall of Fame, it has been 30 years since Branch was first eligible to get his name called for Canton. Unfortunately, Branch himself won't be able to put on his gold jacket, as the legend passed away in August of 2019. Regardless of the extended wait, Branch's bust will now join the greatest athletes to ever play the game of football and live on in Canton.
Take a look back at photos from Raiders legend Cliff Branch's historic career in the Silver and Black.