Featured Interview: Cliff Branch “3 Time NFL Super Bowl Champ”


Posted on October 7th, by HuddleMap in Players, Teams, TRAINING CAMPS. Comments

Reggie Rusk of Next Level had a great opportunity to interview future NFL Hall of Famer, Cliff Branch.

Cliff Branch was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the 4th round (98th overall) of the 1972 NFL Draft.

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 holds the distinction of being the only wide receiver to be a member of all 3 Raiders Super Bowl teams.

The story people do not know is that Cliff Branch played in 5 championship games before finally winning his first Super Bowl. “Super Bowl 11 vs the Steelers was the best! The reason was that it was the first!”, says Cliff.

Cliff grew up in Houston, Texas and started playing football at 9 yrs old. He started playing football because of older kids in his neighborhood.  Cliff soon realized that he was one of the fastest kids in his neighborhood.

Cliff began training or working out in junior high school. Doing isometric bars and push-ups. In junior high, his he knew he loved the receiver position because he watched greats like Bob Hayes and Otis Taylor. Cliff ran track also which helped in with his speed.

Cliff believes that young athletes must first be “coachable”. Cliff thinks speed over technique. “Speed is what got me noticed!”, says Cliff.  At the height of 5’11″, his size never mattered to him because he was always fast!

In junior high, it was Coach Oliver Brown who noticed Cliff’s gift and helped him with his running technique. Coach Brown(track and youth football coach) made the difference in his life. Cliff went on to become the first schoolboy in Texas history to run the 100 in 9.3. In fact, he did it twice.

Cliff explained that coach Brown was his guardian angel.

 

Cliff has one of the longest plays from scrimmage. He remembers his 99 yard catch from Jim Plunkett. The play was 91 up and Corner back Anthony Watson missed a jam on cliff. The safety didn’t get over in time to cover for the missed jam. With his world class speed, Cliff out ran everyone! The most impressive thing ab this play wasn’t the fact that it was 99 but that he pulled his hamstring while running and still didn’t get caught. Branch played his entire career with the Raiders because there was no free agency at that time so players stayed on same team for years.

 

Branch’s most memorable time with Al Davis was when Davis would say “we should have won more titles”.  Branch feels that since so many of the hall of fame committee (sports writers) hated Davis, he and many others have been over looked for hall of fame. He hopes that since Davis has pasted the hall is in the near future. Branch is one of the top 10 Raiders of all time (#7). Branch says practicing with great cornerbacks like Mike Haynes and Dave Brown made him a great receiver. He said those were the best cb’s he ever competed against. Played in 5 championship games before finally winning first Super Bowl.







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