WR

Cliff Branch

Class of 2022

Pro Bowls

4

Receiving Touchdowns

67

Receiving Yards

8,685

Receptions

501

Seasons

14

Cliff Branch, a 5’11”, 170-pound wide receiver out of Colorado, was selected in the fourth round of the 1972 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders, where he spent his entire 14 season career. Not only was Branch a standout on the football team at Colorado, but he was also a world-class sprinter who set an NCAA championship meet record with a 10-second 100-meter dash in 1972. 

Known for his speed and agility, Branch became a dominating receiver during the 1970s. His breakout year came in 1974, when he led the League with 1,092 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns. His next season surpassing 1,000 receiving yards came in 1976 (1,111) – for that era and the style of play, compiling two seasons with more than 1,000 yards was considered a feat.  

Branch’s career stats include 501 catches for 8,685 yards and 67 touchdowns in 182 regular-season games. He led the Raiders in receiving yards six times (1974-76, 1979-1980, 1982) and in touchdown receptions five times (1974-77, 1982). When he retired following the 1985 season, he held several Raiders team records, among them the longest reception (99 yards from Jim Plunkett at Washington on Oct. 2, 1983) and most games (22) with 100 or more receiving yards.

The Raiders dominated the AFC in the 1970s and early 1980s, earning a spot in seven AFC Championship Games (1973-77, 1980 and 1983) over 11 years. Branch helped lead the team to three Super Bowl appearances – XI, XV and XVIII – with a victory in each. 

Branch is recalled as one of the game’s top postseason performers. In 22 playoff games, he caught 73 passes for 1,289 yards (17.7 average) – both NFL records at the time of his retirement. He also scored five career postseason touchdowns – two coming in the 27-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XV.  

In his career, Branch received first-team All-Pro nods three times (1974-76) and was voted to four Pro Bowls (1975-77, 1978).

 

 

 

 

 

Receiving

 

Year

Team

G

No.

Yds.

Avg.

TD

1972

Oakland

14

3

41

13.7

0

1973

Oakland

13

19

290

15.3

3

1974

Oakland

13

60

1092

18.2

13

1975

Oakland

14

51

893

17.5

9

1976

Oakland

14

46

1111

24.2

12

1977

Oakland

13

33

540

16.4

6

1978

Oakland

16

49

709

14.5

1

1979

Oakland

14

59

844

14.3

6

1980

Oakland

16

44

858

19.5

7

1981

Oakland

16

41

635

15.5

1

1982

L.A. Raiders

9

30

575

19.2

4

1983

L.A. Raiders

12

39

696

17.8

5

1984

L.A. Raiders

14

27

401

14.9

0

1985

L.A. Raiders

4

0

0

0.0

0

Career Total

182

501

8685

17.3

67


Additional Career Statistics: Rushing: 11- 70: Punt Returns: 12-21
Kickoff Returns: 9-191

Championship Games

1973 AFC – Miami Dolphins 27, Oakland Raiders 10
Branch was inactive for this game.

1974 AFC – Miami Dolphins 27, Oakland Raiders 10
Branch started at wide receiver. He had nine catches for 186 yards and a touchdown.

1975 AFC – Pittsburgh Steelers 16, Oakland Raiders 10
Branch started at wide receiver. He had two catches for 56 yards.

1976 AFC Oakland Raiders 24, Pittsburgh Steelers 7
Branch started at wide receiver. He had three catches for 46 yards.

1977 AFC – Denver Broncos 20, Oakland Raiders 17
Branch started at wide receiver. He had three catches for 59 yards.

1980 AFC Oakland Raiders 34, San Diego Chargers 27
Branch started at wide receiver. He had three catches for 78 yards.

1983 AFC Los Angeles Raiders 30, Seattle Seahawks 14
Branch started at wide receiver. He had two catches for 22 yards.
 
Super Bowls

Super Bowl XI – Oakland Raiders 32, Minnesota Vikings 14
Branch started at wide receiver. He had three catches for 20 yards.

Super Bowl XV – Oakland Raiders 27, Philadelphia Eagles 10
Branch started at wide receiver. He had five catches for 67 yards and two touchdowns.

Super Bowl XVIII – Los Angeles Raiders 38, Washington Redskins 9
Branch started at wide receiver. He had six catches for 94 yards and one touchdown.
 
All-League Teams
           
All-Pro: 1974 (AP, PFWA, NEA, PW)  ·  1975 (AP, NEA)  · 1976 (AP, PFWA, NEA, PW)  · 
               1977 (NEA)

All-Pro Second Team: 1975 (PFWA)

All-AFC: 1974 (AP, UPI, SN, PW)  ·  1975 (AP, UPI)  ·  1976 (AP, UPI, SN, PW)

 
Pro Bowls

(4) – 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978

 
In the NFL Record Book (at time of his retirement following 1983 season)
  • [Tied for 1st] Longest Reception – 99t (from Jim Plunkett at Washington, Oct.  2, 1983)

Super Bowl Records
  • [Tied for 1st] Most Receiving Touchdowns, Career – 3
  • [Tied for 1st] Most Receiving Touchdowns, Game – 2 (vs. Philadelphia, Super Bowl XV)
  • [Tied for 2nd] Most Touchdowns, Career – 3
  • [Tied for 2nd] Most Touchdowns, Game – 2 (vs. Philadelphia, Super Bowl XV)
  • [3rd] Most Receptions, Career – 14
  • [3rd] Most Receiving Yards, Career – 181

Post Season Records
  • [1st] Most Receptions, Career – 73
  • [1st] Most Receiving Yards, Career – 1,289
  • [Tied for 2nd] Most Consecutive Games with a Pass Reception – 18
  • [3rd] Most Receiving Yards, Game – 186 (vs. Pittsburgh, Dec. 29, 1974)
  • [Tied for 3rd] Most Games, 100 or More Yards Receiving, Career – 3

Pro Bowl Records
  • [Tied for 1st] Most Receiving Touchdowns, Career – 2
 
Team Records

Raiders records held by Branch
            (Records through the 1985 season, Branch’s final season with the Raiders)
  • [1st] Longest Reception – 99t (from Jim Plunkett at Washington, Oct.  2, 1983)
  • [1st] Most Games, 100 or More Yards Receiving – 22
  • [1st] Highest Average Per Reception, Season – 24.2 (1976)
  • [1st] Most Seasons Leading Team in Receiving Yardage – 6 (1974-76, 1979-80, 1982)
  • [1st] Most Seasons Leading Team in Touchdown Receptions – 5 (1974-77, 1982)
  • [Tied for 1st] Most Seasons Leading League in Touchdown Receptions – 2 (1974, 1976)
  • [Tied for 1st] Most Consecutive Seasons Leading Team in Touchdown Receptions – 4 (1974-77)
  • [2nd] Most Touchdowns, Career – 67
  • [2nd] Most Receptions, Career – 501
  • [2nd] Most Receiving Yards, Career – 8,685
  • [2nd] Most Touchdowns Receptions, Career – 67
  • [2nd] Highest Average Per Receptions, Season – 24.2 (1976)
  • [2nd] Most Games, 100 or More Yead Receiving, Season – 6 (1976)
  • [Tied for 2nd] Most Seasons – 14
  • [Tied for 2nd] Most Consecutive Seasons – 14 (1972-1985)
  • [Tied for 2nd] Most Receiving Touchdowns, Game – 3 vs. Atlanta, Nov. 30, 1975)
  • [Tied for 2nd] Most Consecutive Seasons Leading Team in Receiving Yardage – 3 (Nov. 3-17, 1974; Oct. 24-Nov. 7, 1976)
  • [Tied for 2nd] Most Seasons, 1,000 or More Yards Receiving – 2 (1974, 1976)
  • [3rd] Most Seasons Leading Team in Receptions – 3 (1974-75, 1979)
  • [3rd] Most Combined Net Yards – 8,969

Postseason Records
  • [1st] Most Receptions, Career – 73
  • [1st] Most Receiving Yards, Career – 1,289
  • [1st] Highest Average Per Reception, Career – 17.7
  • [Tied for 1st] Most Receptions, Game – 9 (vs. Pittsburgh, Dec. 29, 1974)
  • [Tied for 1st] Most Consecutive Game with 100 or More Receiving Yards – 3 (vs. Pittsburgh, Dec. 29, 1974)
  • [2nd] Most Receiving Yards, Game – 186 (vs. Pittsburgh, Dec. 29, 1974)
  • [Tied for 2nd] Most Starts – 18
  • [3rd] Most Touchdowns, Career – 5
  • [Tied for 3rd] Most Games – 22
 
League/Team Statistical Titles

NFL Statistical Championships
Pass Reception Yardage Titles: 1974

AFC Statistical Championships
Pass Reception Yardage Titles: 1974

Team Statistical Championships
Pass Reception Titles: 1974, 1975, 1979
Pass Receiving Yardage Titles: 1974, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980, 1982
Scoring Titles: 1974, 1976

 
Year-by-Year Team Records
 
1973     Oakland Raiders............... 10-3-1   (1st)
1973     Oakland Raiders................ 9-4-1   (1st)
1974     Oakland Raiders............... 12-2-0   (1st)
1975     Oakland Raiders............... 11-3-0   (1st)
1976     Oakland Raiders............... 13-1-0   (1st)
1977     Oakland Raiders............... 11-3-0   (2nd)
1978     Oakland Raiders.................. 9-7-0   (2nd)
1979     Oakland Raiders.................. 9-7-0   (4th)
1980     Oakland Raiders............... 11-5-0   (2nd)
1981     Oakland Raiders.................. 7-9-0   (4th)
1982     Los Angeles Raiders.......... 8-1-0   (1st*)
1983     Los Angeles Raiders......... 12-4-0   (1st)
1984     Los Angeles Raiders......... 11-5-0   (3rd) 
1985     Los Angeles Raiders......... 12-4-0   (1st)
1986     Los Angeles Raiders............ 8-8-0   (4th)

* AFC regular season finish in strike-shortened season.
(Division Finish in Parentheses)
Qualified for Postseason in Bold
 
Full Name: Clifford Branch
Birthdate: August 1, 1948
Birthplace: Houston, Texas
Died: August 3, 2019

High School: Evan E. Worthing (Houston, TX)
Pro Career: 14 seasons, 182 games
Drafted: 4th round (98th player overall) in 1972 by Oakland