Sadness is falling across Raider Nation, as Oakland Raiders legendary wide receiver Cliff Branch passed away unexpectedly on Saturday.
The Oakland Raiders are right in the middle of a very important training camp, as they look to get this franchise moving back in the right direction. However, on Saturday, the team got the worst news possible, as legendary wide receiver Cliff Branch passed away unexpectedly at age 71.
During his time in the NFL, Branch established himself as a Hall of Fame wide receiver, consistently dominating defensive backs. Playing his entire career with the Silver and Black, Branch was a member of three Super Bowl teams, and was named to the Pro Bowl in four consecutive seasons from 1974 through 1977.
In all, Branch finished his career with not only the three rings, and the four Pro Bowls, but also with 8,685 receiving yards, and 67 touchdowns. One of the more clutch players in team history, he could always be counted on to make the big play, and was a huge part of the glory years for this franchise.
As dominant as he was in the regular season, he was a monster in the playoffs, racking up over 1,200 receiving yards in 20 games. In fact, he held the NFL record for playoff receptions and receiving yards before Jerry Rice broke them in the 1980s.
Branch’s legacy with the Raiders is set in stone, as he was a fan favorite for generations of Raiders fans. On Saturday, just two days after his 71st birthday, he was found in a hotel room in Arizona, sending shock waves through the Raiders organization.
For all his accomplishments, Branch was never enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which is an absolute disgrace when you think about it. In 2020, the committee plans to induct 20 new members, up from their normal eight, and you have to think that Branch would have been given serious consideration.
There is no doubt that Branch belongs in the Hall of Fame, and if he does eventually get in, it will be posthumously, just like Ken Stabler. For Raiders fans, this was devastating news, and we at Just Blog Baby send our thoughts and love to the Branch family.
Rest easy Cliff.