Cliff Branch becomes first Hall of Famer to receive Ring of Excellence posthumously

Cliff Branch continues to make history, as on Sunday, he became the first posthumous Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinee to receive a Ring of Excellence.

Under previous policy, the Hall of Fame distributed rings – "one of three iconic symbols of membership in the sport of pro football's most exclusive club" – solely to those living at the time of their enshrinement.

The drive to change to Hall's policy was championed in part by Raiders Owner Mark Davis, with rings for members elected posthumously now to be distributed to a spouse, an adult child or a parent.

CliffRing_thumb_120422

The 14K gold ring features an intricate design of diamonds that create a football-shaped center, set in a blue gemstone that represents confidence and integrity. Each ring is customized to echo each Hall of Famer's individual career and also includes a special engraving inside with their respective enshrinee number.

Branch's sister, Elaine Anderson, accepted the former wide receiver's ring from Pro Football Hall of Fame President Jim Porter during a special halftime ceremony at the Raiders' Week 13 matchup against the Chargers. A group of Raiders Hall of Famers were also in attendance to celebrate Branch's achievements.

In addition to halftime, Anderson lit the Al Davis Memorial Torch pregame to commemorate Branch's enshrinement.

ElaineAnderson_120422

A fourth-round selection in the 1972 NFL Draft, Branch spent all 14 seasons of his career as a Raider, totaling 8,685 receiving yards, 501 catches and 67 touchdowns in that span. He led the Raiders in receiving yards six times and in touchdown receptions five times. He remains third all-time in franchise history in career catches, touchdowns and receiving yards – behind Hall of Famers Tim Brown and Fred Biletnikoff.

Journey through Branch's career with our interactive retrospective.

View photos from the Raiders' Week 13 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium.

Advertising