In recent years, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has done a decent job of catching up on inducting former Raiders as the likes of Ken Stabler, Ray Guy, Tim Brown — and now, Tom Flores have been voted in — years after they should have made it.
However, the Hall of Fame’s Raiders’ catch-up work is not done.
Next up would be the great Cliff Branch, with quarterback Jim Plunkett also being a worthy candidate.
Branch, who died in 2019 at the age of 71, was a special wide receiver for the Raiders spanning 1972 to 1986. He was part of all three Raiders’ Super Bowl winning teams.
Branch changed the way receivers were used in the NFL. He was one of the first great speed, vertical receivers in the league. He had 501 career catches for 8,685 yards and he had 67 touchdowns.
Branch’s stats dwarf those of Pittsburgh Steelers’ receiver Lynn Swann, who has been in the Hall of Fame for 20 years. Branch also had better stats than Dallas Cowboys receiver Drew Pearson, who was selected into the Hall of Fame on Saturday.
It’s time for the Hall of Fame’s Senior Committee to get Branch into Canton.
Plunkett should then be elected. He is the only quarterback who has won two Super Bowls who is eligible for the Hall of Fame, but not in.
Again, the Raiders are getting the respect they deserve, but the job is not done.