if it’s one thing Isaac Bruce knows, it’s speed.
As part of the “Greatest Show on Turf,” the LA Rams Hall of Fame receiver assaulted record books and opposing defenses during his 16-year NFL career. But he noted one player in particular who didn’t play in his era as one of the best to ever play the game.
When asked who the fastest wide receiver he had ever seen was, Bruce did not hesitate and said Colorado Buffaloes alum and All-Pro Cliff Branch.
“They weren’t really throwing the ball up and down the field like that during his era, but (Branch) did make a huge, huge dent, in terms of receiving yards when he played,” Bruce recently told Betway Insider.
One of the best in the 1970s, Branch won three Super Bowls in his 14-year NFL career and has yet to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. If the honor does come, it will sadly come posthumously, a delay made worse because the Raiders play maker longed for during his life after football. He was previously selected as the senior finalist in 2020, but missed the cut in the expanded legacy class.
Many have argued Branch deserves a nod for the Hall. And if it wasn’t for the NFL’s strained relationship with the late Raiders owner Al Davis, who sued the league in 1996 after forcing the team to move from Los Angeles, Branch’s enshrinement in Canton might already be an afterthought. At least that’s how Branch saw it during his life.
“I think it’s a political thing because a lot of the players are blocked from being in the Hall of Fame with the Raiders because of Al Davis,” Branch told TRR in 2016.
“Al was the most hated owner because of his lawsuit against the NFL and he won lawsuits against the league. The sportswriters have always had hatred towards Mr. Davis because of his pioneering way and being very successful. You think of all the people that went into the Hall of Fame and all the times Al Davis presented players from not only the Raiders— I think there’s a lot held against Mr. Davis because of his players.”
Branch is back on the ballot for 2022 and must receive 80% of the voting support by the selection committee when it meets early next year.