Cliff Branch (right)with Asif Ali
|No. 21, 22|
August 1, 1948|
|Height:||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight:||170 lb (77 kg)|
|High school:||Houston (TX) Worthing|
|NFL Draft:||1972 / Round: 4 / Pick: 98|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
Clifford Branch (born August 1, 1948) is a retired American football wide receiver who spent his entire 14-year National Football League career with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, winning three Super Bowl rings in Super Bowl XI, Super Bowl XV and Super Bowl XVIII. He is the only wide receiver to have played on all three Raiders Super Bowl teams.
Branch graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1972 where he was a five-year letterman in football. During his time at Colorado, Cliff set the NCAA Division 1-A record for kickoffs returned for touchdowns with 8.
- 1970: 23 catches for 355 yards. 22 carries for 119 yards and one touchdown.
- 1971: 13 catches for 330 yards and 3 touchdowns. 9 carries for 235 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Branch was also a standout track athlete. He set the University of Colorado at Boulder and NCAA Championship record in the 100 meters with a time of 10.0 seconds at the 1972 NCAA championships semifinal in Eugene. Branch placed 5th in the final with 10.1, and he said "My goal has always been to win the NCAA 100 meter championship. This is my last track meet, since I expect to sign a pro contract with the Oakland Raiders within the next two weeks." (which meant he would not run in the 1972 Olympic Trials). He also posted a personal best of 20.5 seconds in the 200 meters.
|100 meters||10.0 (hand timed)||Eugene, Oregon||June 2, 1972|
|200 meters||20.5 (hand timed)||Boulder, Colorado||April 7, 1971|
Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
Branch was selected in the fourth round of the 1972 NFL Draft with the 98th overall pick by the Oakland Raiders. He spent his entire 14-year NFL career with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, winning three Super Bowl rings in Super Bowl XI, Super Bowl XV and Super Bowl XVIII. Branch caught 3 passes for 20 yards in Super Bowl XI, 5 passes for 62 yards and 2 touchdowns in Super Bowl XV, and 6 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown in Super Bowl XVIII.
Cliff was voted a First team All-Pro in four consecutive seasons (1974–1977) and had 46 receptions in 1976 for 1,111 yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging 24.2 yards per catch. During this time, Branch was also named to four consecutive Pro Bowls from 1974–1977. In 1974, Branch led the National Football League in both receiving yards (1,092) and receiving touchdowns (13). During the 1983 season, Branch set the Raiders franchise record for the longest touchdown reception (99 yards), on a pass from Jim Plunkett.
Branch finished his 14 NFL seasons with 501 receptions for 8,685 yards and 67 touchdowns. He also rushed for 70 yards and returned 9 kickoffs for 191 yards.
When Branch retired he led the NFL in post season receptions (73) and yards (1289) for an average of 17.7 yards per catch, Scoring 5 touchdowns.
Branch's NFL career ended after the 1985 season. He played for the Los Angeles Cobras of the Arena Football League in 1988, their only season of existence. He was the only wide receiver on all three Super Bowl-winning Raiders teams, those being the 1976, 1980, and 1983 teams. He is a nominee to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and was a semifinalist in 2004 and 2010. In 2011, the Professional Football Researchers Association named Branch to the PFRA Hall of Very Good Class of 2011. As of 2017, Branch has not yet been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
- "1972 NCAA Track and Field Championships" (PDF). 1972. pp. Pages 12, 15, 16. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
- "Cliff BRANCH profile - all-athletics.com". Retrieved November 10, 2013.
- "Hall of Very Good Class of 2011". Retrieved November 23, 2016.