Cliff Branch

Clifford Branch (born August 1, 1948) is a former 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.

Cliff Branch
refer to caption
Branch (right) with fan in 2011
No. 21, 22
Position:Wide receiver
Personal information
Born:August 1, 1948 (age 70)
Houston, Texas
Height:5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight:170 lb (77 kg)
Career information
High school:Houston (TX) Worthing
College:Colorado
NFL Draft:1972 / Round: 4 / Pick: 98
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receptions:501
Receiving yards:8,685
Touchdowns:67
Player stats at NFL.com

College career

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.[1]
  • 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."[2] (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.

Personal bests

Event Time (seconds) Venue Date
100 meters 10.0 (hand timed) Eugene, Oregon June 2, 1972[3]
200 meters 20.5 (hand timed) Boulder, Colorado April 7, 1971[3]

Professional career

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 (19741977) 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.

Later years

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. [4]

Records

  • NCAA Division I-A record for kickoff returns for touchdowns (8, t-1st)
  • Oakland Raiders franchise record for longest reception (99 yards from Jim Plunkett, 1983)

References

  1. ^ https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/cliff-branch-1.html
  2. ^ "1972 NCAA Track and Field Championships" (PDF). 1972. pp. Pages 12, 15, 16. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Cliff BRANCH profile - all-athletics.com". Retrieved November 10, 2013.
  4. ^ "Hall of Very Good Class of 2011". Retrieved November 23, 2016.

External links

1970 Colorado Buffaloes football team

The 1970 Colorado Buffaloes football team represented the University of Colorado during the 1970 NCAA University Division football season. The Buffaloes were led by eighth-year head coach Eddie Crowder and home games were played on campus in Boulder at Folsom Field.

1971 Colorado Buffaloes football team

The 1971 Colorado Buffaloes football team represented the University of Colorado at Boulder in the 1971 NCAA University Division football season. The Buffaloes scored 370 points and allowed 220 points. Led by head coach Eddie Crowder, the Buffaloes were 9–2 in the regular season, won the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl, and finished third in the final rankings.

1974 Oakland Raiders season

The 1974 Oakland Raiders season was the team's 15th season in Oakland and fifth in the National Football League. The team would post a superb 12–2 record; the campaign's two losses would be by a total of four points. The Raiders' record (the team's best since 1969) would ensure their fourth AFC West title in five years.

For the second straight campaign, the Raiders exacted revenge upon the team that had eliminated them in the prior year's playoffs. This time, Oakland toppled the two-time defending Super Bowl champion Miami Dolphins, by a score of 28–26, in the playoffs' Divisional round. Quarterback Kenny Stabler threw a last-minute winning touchdown pass to running back Clarence Davis in what has come to be known as the "Sea of Hands" game.

For the second straight season, however, the Raiders lost in the AFC Championship Game. They were upset, 24–13, by the eventual champion Pittsburgh Steelers. While the Raiders led 10–3 at the end of the third quarter, a defensive meltdown would allow the Steelers to score 21 points in the final frame.

The 2006 edition of Pro Football Prospectus listed the 1974 Raiders as one of their "Heartbreak Seasons", in which teams "dominated the entire regular season only to falter in the playoffs, unable to close the deal." Pro Football Prospectus states, The John Madden Raiders were a consistently good regular season team, but the playoffs were a different story. The 1972 season came to an end with the painful Immaculate Reception game. The 1973 Raiders ended Miami's 18-game winning streak during the regular season but lost to the Dolphins in the AFC Championship game. In 1974, the Raiders seemed to finally have all the pieces."

Despite the disappointment at the end of the 1974 season, Pro Football Prospectus continues, "[t]he Raiders persevered, keeping the team's core together the next several seasons. In 1975, they again fell to the Steelers in the AFC title game, but caught a break in the 1976 AFC Championship, when they cruised to a 24–7 victory over Pittsburgh, who were without running backs Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier. Finally, in the Super Bowl, they did not waste their opportunity, crushing the Vikings 32–14 behind Ken Stabler and Clarence Davis."

"The Autumn Wind", a poem written by former NFL Films President and co-founder Steve Sabol, became the unofficial team anthem of the Raiders, and was first used for the team's official team yearbook film in 1974. It was narrated by John Facenda, and dubbed "The Battle Hymn of the Raider Nation".

1975 All-Pro Team

The following is a list of players that were named to the Associated Press All-Pro Team, the Newspaper Enterprise Association All-Pro team and the Pro Football Writers Association, and Pro Football Weekly All-Pro teams in 1975. Both first- and second- teams are listed for the AP, NEA, and PFWA teams. These are the four All-Pro teams that are included in the Total Football II: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League and compose the Consensus All-pro team for 1975.

1976 Oakland Raiders season

The 1976 Oakland Raiders season was the team's 17th season, and 7th in the National Football League.

After having appeared in the three previous AFC Championship Games – and having lost all three—the 1976 Raiders finally won the conference championship, and went on to win their first Super Bowl.

After posting a 13–1 regular season record and winning their sixth AFC West championship in seven seasons, the Raiders won against both the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers to achieve the team's second Super Bowl berth. Then, on January 9, 1977, at the Rose Bowl, the Raiders won Super Bowl XI by rolling over the Minnesota Vikings 32–14. With this victory, the Raiders achieved a 16–1 overall record.

In 2012, the 1976 Oakland Raiders were named the greatest team of all time by NFL.com's "Bracketology"; a 15-day, six-round fan vote tournament that featured the 64 greatest teams from the Super Bowl era. Oakland beat the 2000 Baltimore Ravens in the final round by a .8% margin.

1977 All-Pro Team

The following is a list of players that were named to the Associated Press All-Pro Team, the Newspaper Enterprise Association All-Pro team and the Pro Football Writers Association, and Pro Football Weekly All-Pro teams in 1977. Both first- and second- teams are listed for the AP and NEA teams. These are the four All-Pro teams that are included in the Total Football II: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League and compose the Consensus All-pro team for 1977.

1977 Oakland Raiders season

The 1977 Oakland Raiders season was the team's 18th season overall, and 8th season since joining the NFL. The Raiders entered the season as the defending Super Bowl champions.

The 1977 Raiders reached the AFC Championship Game for the fifth consecutive season, and their sixth time in eight years. They lost the AFC Championship, however, to the division rival Denver Broncos.

The 1977 Raiders set a professional football record with 681 rushing attempts. Fullback Mark van Eeghen 324 times for 1273 yards, and running back Clarence Davis ran 194 times for 787 yards.

1977 Pro Bowl

The 1977 Pro Bowl was the NFL's 27th annual all-star game which featured the outstanding performers from the 1976 season. The game was played on Monday, January 17, 1977, at the Kingdome in Seattle, Washington in front of a crowd of 63,214. The final score was AFC 24, NFC 14.Chuck Noll of the Pittsburgh Steelers lead the AFC team against an NFC team coached by Los Angeles Rams head coach Chuck Knox. The referee was Chuck Heberling.Mel Blount of the Pittsburgh Steelers was named the game's Most Valuable Player. Players on the winning AFC team received $2,000 apiece while the NFC participants each took home $1,500.

1978 Oakland Raiders season

The 1978 Oakland Raiders season was the team's 19th season. During a pre-season game, Jack Tatum paralyzed New England Patriots wide receiver Darryl Stingley from the chest down while making a hit.

1978 would prove to be an up and down year for the silver and black. The Raiders were plagued by one of quarterback Kenny Stabler's worst seasons, tossing 16 TD's, while throwing 30 interceptions. The running game also fell off from seasons past. Even the great wide receiver Cliff Branch, only caught one touchdown. The season started off with a 14 to 6 loss in Denver. The Raiders would rally to a 5 – 3 start, then climbed to 8 – 4. After a last minute loss to the Seattle Seahawks 17 – 16, a team beat the Raiders twice in the same season for the first time since 1965. Then the Broncos completed their sweep of the Raiders with a 21 – 6 victory in Oakland, followed by a 23 – 6 defeat in Miami. A meaningless 27 – 20 victory over the Minnesota Vikings kept the Raiders consecutive seasons with a winning record streak alive. This was head coach John Madden's last season as head coach of the team. He was replaced by new coach Tom Flores.

1979 Oakland Raiders season

The 1979 Oakland Raiders season was their 10th in the league, and 20th overall. They matched their previous season's output of 9–7. Oakland started off 1–3, rallied to 6–4, then fell to 6–6 after an upset loss to the Kansas City chiefs. Oakland then went on a three-game winning streak that featured a 14–10 defensive struggle in Denver, a comeback win in New Orleans after trailing 35–14 in the 3rd quarter, and a 19–14 win over the Cleveland Browns. In the season finale the Raiders stood at 9–6 in need of a win at home against the Seattle Seahawks to have a shot at a wildcard playoff spot. However, it was not to be, and Seattle quarterback Jim Zorn's 314 yards and 2 TD passes eliminated the Raiders, 29–24.

1980 Oakland Raiders season

The 1980 Oakland Raiders season began with the team trying to improve on their 9–7 record from 1979. It was the 20th anniversary of the Oakland Raiders franchise and ended with their second Super Bowl victory. Prior to the start of the season, Al Davis announced plans to move the Raiders from Oakland to Los Angeles. However, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle blocked the move by filing a restraining order. He even tried to have Al Davis removed as owner, as the case went to the courts. Still playing in Oakland, the Raiders entered the season with a new Quarterback after acquiring Dan Pastorini from the Houston Oilers for Kenny Stabler. However Pastorini struggled and the Raiders got off to a 2-3 when Pastorini was injured and replaced by Jim Plunkett. Plunkett proved right for the Raiders offense. The defense led the league in interceptions (35), turnovers (52) and yards per carry (3.4 YPA). Lester Hayes led the NFL with 13 interceptions. The team won 6 straight compiling an 11-5 record, and qualifying for the playoffs as a Wild Card. In the Wild Card Game, the Raiders would beat the Houston Oilers 27-7 at Oakland as the Raiders defense picked off former teammate Kenny Stabler twice. Playing in freezing weather with temperature reading 30 degrees below zero, the Raiders stunned the Browns 14-12 in a defensive struggle in Cleveland. In the AFC Championship Game in San Diego, the game would be a shoot out as the Raiders stunned the Chargers 34-27 to become the first AFC Wild Card to make the Super Bowl. Highlighted by Jim Plunkett's MVP performance and Rod Martin's 3 interceptions, the Raiders defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 27-10 in Super Bowl XV.

1988 Los Angeles Cobras season

The 1988 Los Angeles Cobras season was the first and only season for the Cobras.

On March 16, 1988, it was announced that team would be nicknamed the Cobras, as well as the introduction of head coach Ray Willsey. The Cobras played their home games at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, which they shared with the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association. The team's logo consisted of an interlocking "LA" in which the left upright of the "A" was formed by the hooded head and "neck" of a cobra.

The team debuted April 30, 1988, against the New York Knights. The Cobras started the season 0-3, but finished the season 5-3-1, clinching a playoff spot.Despite a lineup that featured former NFL all-pro receiver Cliff Branch, ex-UCLA quarterback Matt Stevens and future Arena Football Hall of Fame Gary Mullen, Los Angeles drew dismal crowds: just 7,507 per game, second-worst in the AFL. The Cobras lost in the semifinals to the Chicago Bruisers, 29-16. It turned out to be their last game ever as the Cobras (as well as the New York Knights and the New England Steamrollers) folded after the 1988 season, temporarily cutting the league down to just three teams.

Branch (surname)

Branch is a surname that may refer to:

Christopher Branch (circa 1600–1682), early American colonist

Cliff Branch (born 1948), American football player

Dave Branch (born 1981), American mixed martial arts fighter

David Branch (born 1948), Commissioner of the Ontario Hockey League

Emmett Forrest Branch (1874–1932), governor of the U.S. state of Indiana

Frank Branch (born 1944), Canadian politician

Graham Branch (born 1972), English footballer

John Branch, Jr. (1782–1863), U.S. Senator, Secretary of the Navy, governor of North Carolina, and territorial governor of Florida

Lawrence O'Bryan Branch (1820–1862), Confederate General and Representative from North Carolina

Michael Branch (academic) (born 1940), British linguist

Michael Branch (footballer) (born 1978), English footballer

Mike Branch (born 1965), American politician

Michelle Branch (born 1983), American singer, songwriter and guitarist

Pamela Branch (1920–1967), British crime novelist

Vanessa Branch (born 1973), British actress and model

Winston Branch (born 1947), British artist, originally from Saint Lucia

Dallas Public Library

The Dallas Public Library system serves as the municipal library system of the city of Dallas, Texas (USA).

Ken Burrough

Kenneth Othell Burrough (born July 14, 1948) is a former professional American football player who at 6'4", 210 lb (95 kg) primarily played wide receiver with the Houston Oilers in the National Football League (NFL). He was a track star and played quarterback at William M. Raines High School in Jacksonville, Florida, and played wide receiver at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas, being named an All-American in 1969.Burrough was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the first round (10th overall) of the 1970 NFL Draft. That first season, he missed much playing time due to minor injuries and only caught 13 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns. In January 1971, a trade was announced in which Burrough and fellow Saint player Dave Rowe went to the Oilers in exchange for Hoyle Granger, Terry Stoepel, Charles Blossom, and a draft choice to be named later.Burrough played eleven seasons with the Oilers from 1971 through the 1981 season. In 1975, Burrough was selected to the Pro Bowl, leading all NFL wide receivers with 1,063 receiving yards and in fact was the only receiver to gain more than a thousand yards for the season. He scored eight touchdowns for the season and averaged 20.1 yards per reception. In his book More Distant Memories: Pro Football's Best Ever Players of the 50's, 60's, and 70's, Danny Jones wrote that Burrough was "one of the most dangerous game breakers in the NFL along with Cliff Branch [Raiders], Mel Gray [Cardinals], and O.J. Simpson [Bills]." Six of Burrough's eight touchdowns were of 50 or greater yards. In a week thirteen game against the playoff-bound Raiders, Burrough caught four passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns, including a screen pass from quarterback Dan Pastorini which he converted to a 68-yard touchdown by displaying his open field running skills.Burrough was also selected to the Pro Bowl in 1977. The Oilers won post-season games in 1978 and 1979 seasons, making it to the AFC Championship both years.

Burrough was the last NFL player to wear number 00 on his jersey; the league restricted all numbers to between 1 and 89 in 1973 (later expanded to 1 and 99 in 1987), but Burrough and Jim Otto, both of whom wore 00 at the time, were covered under a grandfather clause for the rest of their careers.Burrough ranks 85th on NFL All-Time Yards per Reception List with 16.9 yards per pass reception.

In 2016, Burrough was inducted into the Black College Football Hall of Fame.

Los Angeles Cobras

The Los Angeles Cobras were a professional arena football team based in Los Angeles, California that played one season (1988) in the Arena Football League.

Super Bowl XI

Super Bowl XI was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Oakland Raiders and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Minnesota Vikings to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for its 1976 season. The Raiders defeated the Vikings by the score of 32–14 to win their first Super Bowl. The game was played on January 9, 1977, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. This remains the Super Bowl scheduled earliest during the calendar year.

This was the Raiders’ second Super Bowl appearance after losing Super Bowl II. They posted a 13–1 regular season record before defeating the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs. The Vikings were making their fourth Super Bowl appearance after posting an 11–2–1 regular season record and playoff victories over the Washington Redskins and the Los Angeles Rams. The Vikings became the first team to appear in four Super Bowls, a record they held until the Dallas Cowboys advanced to a Super Bowl for the fifth time in Super Bowl XIII. They had not won in their previous three attempts, losing Super Bowl IV to the Kansas City Chiefs in the final Super Bowl before the AFL–NFL merger and following that up with losses in Super Bowls VIII and IX.

Oakland gained a Super Bowl record 429 yards, including a Super Bowl record 288 yards in the first half, en route to winning Super Bowl XI. After a scoreless first quarter, Oakland scored on three consecutive possessions to take a 16–0 lead at halftime. The Raiders also had two fourth quarter interceptions, including cornerback Willie Brown’s 75-yard return for a touchdown. Oakland wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff, who had 4 catches for 79 yards that set up three Raider touchdowns, was named the game’s Most Valuable Player (MVP). Among the wide receivers who have won the Super Bowl MVP, Biletnikoff is the only one to not have gained 100 yards in his performance.

Super Bowl XV

Super Bowl XV was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Oakland Raiders and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Philadelphia Eagles to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1980 season. The Raiders defeated the Eagles by the score of 27–10, becoming the first wild card playoff team to win a Super Bowl.

The game was played at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, on January 25, 1981, five days after the Iran hostage crisis ended. The game was thus held under patriotic fervor, as the pregame ceremonies honored the end of the crisis.

The Raiders were making their third Super Bowl appearance after posting an 11–5 regular season record, but losing a tiebreaker to the AFC West division winner San Diego Chargers. Oakland then advanced to the Super Bowl with playoff victories over the Houston Oilers, Cleveland Browns, and San Diego. The Eagles were making their first Super Bowl appearance after posting a 12–4 regular season record and postseason victories over the Minnesota Vikings and the Dallas Cowboys.

Aided by two touchdown passes from quarterback Jim Plunkett, the Raiders jumped out to a 14–0 lead in the first quarter of Super Bowl XV, from which the Eagles never recovered. Oakland linebacker Rod Martin also intercepted Philadelphia quarterback Ron Jaworski three times for a Super Bowl record. Plunkett was named the Super Bowl MVP after completing 13 of 21 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for 9 yards. Plunkett was also the second Heisman Trophy winner to be named Super Bowl MVP after Roger Staubach in Super Bowl VI.

Super Bowl XVIII

Super Bowl XVIII was an American football game played on January 22, 1984 at Tampa Stadium between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion and defending Super Bowl XVII champion Washington Redskins and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Los Angeles Raiders to determine the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1983 season. The Raiders defeated the Redskins, 38–9. The Raiders' 38 points scored and 29-point margin of victory broke Super Bowl records; it remains the most points scored by an AFC team in a Super Bowl. This was the first time the city of Tampa hosted the Super Bowl and was the AFC's last Super Bowl win until Super Bowl XXXII, won by the Denver Broncos.

The Redskins entered the game as the defending Super Bowl XVII champions, and finished the 1983 regular season with a league-best 14–2 record, and led the league in fewest rushing yards allowed, and set a then-NFL record in scoring with 541 points. The Raiders posted a 12-4 regular season record in 1983, their second in Los Angeles, having moved there from Oakland in May 1982.

As the favored team, the Redskins' 38–9 defeat at the hands of the black-jerseyed Raiders led Super Bowl XVIII to be known as "Black Sunday." The Raiders outgained the Redskins in total yards, 385 to 283. Los Angeles built a 21–3 halftime lead, aided by touchdowns on Derrick Jensen's blocked punt recovery, and Jack Squirek's 5-yard interception return on a screen pass with seven seconds left in the first half. Raiders running back Marcus Allen, who became the third Heisman Trophy winner to be named the Super Bowl MVP, carried the ball 20 times for a then-record total of 191 yards and two touchdowns, including a then-record 74-yard run in the third quarter. He also caught 2 passes for 18 yards.

The telecast of the game on CBS was seen by an estimated 77.62 million viewers. The broadcast was notable for airing the famous "1984" television commercial, introducing the Apple Macintosh. The NFL highlight film of this game was the final voiceover work for famous NFL narrator John Facenda.

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