There may be a Silver and Black presence at the Pro Football Hall of Fame next summer for the second straight year, righting another long-standing wrong.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced on Tuesday that late Raiders wide receiver Cliff Branch is the senior committee nominee to be voted on next February. He will need 80 percent of the voting committee’s approval. As a senior committee nominee, Branch will not be going against any other competition.
Traditionally, the senior committee nominee gets voted in. That’s how Raiders’ legendary quarterback Ken Stabler was elected in 2016. So Branch has an excellent chance of being voted into the Canton, Ohio, museum.
It has long been considered an omission in league circles that Branch, who died two years ago, isn’t a member of the Hall of Fame. (We wrote about it in February.)
Raiders’ legendary coach Tom Flores ended his long Hall of Fame wait this month as he went into Canton with Raiders’ defensive back Charles Woodson.
Branch was one of the NFL’s first real speed star receivers. His stats stack up well against several receivers in the Hall of Fame, including Lynn Swann and Drew Pearson. He had 501 passes for 8,685 yards (17.3 yards per catch) and 67 touchdowns in his career that spanned from 1972-1985. Branch was also on all three of the Raiders’ Super Bowl-winning teams.
Raiders’ owner Mark Davis (who was longtime close friends with Branch) made this statement to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday: “Cliff Branch changed the game,” Davis said. “Safeties had to be aware of him.”
It would complete a long goal for Branch if/when he goes into Canton.
“He dreamed of this. He wanted this so bad, he could taste it,” his sister, Elaine Anderson, told the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “It was all he talked about — when he would go to the Hall of Fame.”
It looks like the long wait may be over next year.