For years, NFL people have been pounding the table for Cliff Branch to get in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And his time may have come. The Hall of Fame Senior Committee has named Branch as their player finalist for the 2022 enshrinement.
Senior Committee finalists almost always make it to induction, so Branch’s time may very well have finally come.
It’s a bitter-sweet moment because two years ago Cliff Branch passed away. So, after waiting nearly 30 years to get that knock on his door, he didn’t live to see it.
His snubbing has become more and more a source of frustration for many former Raiders teammates, including Marcus Allen whom I recently had the opportunity to ask about his thoughts on Branch not yet being enshrined.
“Levi, you’re touching nerves,” Allen replied. “And I don’t mind.”
“I think it’s almost criminal when you look at Cliff’s numbers and you look at others’ numbers that are in [the Hall of Fame]. He’s still number four all-time in postseason yards receiving. Played in a completely different era. If he played today and they were throwing it a hundred times a game, the numbers would just be ridiculous.
You can read all of what Allen had to say about Cliff Branch here.
When Branch retired, he had three Super Bowl rings and was the all-time leader in postseason receiving yards. He’s still fourth on the all-time list with all eligible receivers ahead of him already enshrined.
Branch has been eligible since 1990 and eligible for senior committee enshrinement for 11 years. He was among the senior committee nominees for the Centennial class, which welcomed 15 new Hall of Famers, but he was not among those chosen.
Also on the list, but not among those chosen for the Centennial class was Tom Flores. Flores was enshrined this month as part of the class of 2021 at the age of 84. Ken Stabler and Ray Guy also got in via the senior committee. Stabler, like Branch, didn’t live to see it.
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