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You can’t talk about NFL deep threats without thinking of Raiders’ history

Al Davis lived for the vertical game

Super Bowl XV - Oakland Raiders vs Philadelphia Eagles - January 25, 1981
Cliff Branch with a touchdown in Super Bowl XV
Photo by Ross Lewis/Getty Images

Two things we know about Twitter: It often pisses people off and it is responsible for starting many lively conversations.

Football Twitter may be at another level on both counts and this tweet on Wednesday is a perfect example:

Wow, that tweet was a day changer for a lot of folks.

Apparently not a lot people agree that Kansas City Chiefs’ star speedster Tyreek Hill is the best ever in terms of deep threats. Everyone has thoughts but the opinion of Pro Football Hall of Fame personnel man Gil Brandt is a good place to start for sure.

Of course, it would have been fun for Al Davis to see Hill play. Davis, who died in 2011, was a purveyor of the deep ball. He was one a king in the evolution of the vertical game in the NFL. Davis coveted speed and was always looking for the next great speed burner.

Therefore it’s no surprise that several of the top speed receivers of all-time have donned the Silver and Black. Four of the 10 all-time greats Brandt listed played for Davis with the Raiders, namely: Warren Wells, James Lofton, Jerry Rice and Randy Moss. A fifth — Lance Alworth — was drafted by the Raiders but started his career with the Chargers when Davis was their wide receiver coach. Surely Davis wished he could bring the man they called “Bambi” with him up north when he joined the Raiders in 1963.

Of course, you can’t talk about Raiders’ deep threats without mentioning the great Cliff Branch. He certainly belongs on the list of the NFL’s all-time vertical threats. He was a member of all three of the Raiders’ Super Bowl-winning teams and he averaged 17.3 yards per catch in his 14-year career. Branch has been a major omission of the Pro Football Hall of Fame voting committee.

No matter who is your choice is as the greatest deep threat in NFL history, there is no denying the Raiders’ place in deep-threat receiver lore.