It’s Almost Comical Which Wide Receiver Beat Cliff Branch Into the Hall of Fame This Year

Cliff Branch didn’t live to see his name inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but his family was hoping to see it finally happen this year.

Unfortunately, Branch was snubbed again on Wednesday and this time his fans and family will watch former Eagles wide receiver Harold Carmichael be inducted over the legendary Raiders wide receiver.

If you aren’t familiar with Carmichael, it’s probably because he was never considered one of the top receivers in the league and never won a Super Bowl. For the sake of comparison, let’s look at his resume next to Branch, both of whom played during the same era of football.

Career Statistics

Carmichael had 590 catches for 8,985 yards and 79 touchdowns over 14 years. Branch finished his career with 501 receptions, 8,685 yards, and 67 touchdowns over 14 years. A slight edge to Carmichael in career regular season stats (though he did have 10 more career starts), but Branch more than evens the score when including postseason numbers.

Carmichael (29-465-6) and Branch (73-1,289-5) aren’t even in the same hemisphere when it comes to postseason numbers.

First-team All Pro: Branch 3, Carmichael 0

Not once in his career was Carmichael voted an Associated Press first-team All Pro. Branch was voted a first-team All Pro three times.

How does a wide receiver who was never considered one of the top 2 receivers in the game manage to be voted into the HOF before a player that was voted first-team All Pro (top 2 at his position) three years in a row?

Super Bowls: Branch 3, Carmichael 0

Not only did Carmichael not win a Super Bowl, but he lost a Super Bowl to the Raiders in his one opportunity to get a ring. Philadelphia (-3) was favored to beat Oakland in the 1981 Super Bowl, but Branch went for two touchdowns and the Raiders won 27-10.

Even if the numbers and awards were comparable, shouldn’t the tiebreaker go to a head-to-head matchup in the Super Bowl… where Branch scored twice and won the game?

But no. That’s not how the Pro Football Hall of Fame operates. It’s a popularity contest that extends far more into league politics than it does actual achievements on the field. Otherwise, how would Lynn Swann have been voted into the HOF 19 years ago (yes, he made it all the way back in 2001) and never had a season with more than 880 receiving yards?

And this is only the case for Cliff Branch… now look for yourself at the head coaches who are in the HOF ahead of two-time Super Bowl winning coach Tom Flores.

By the way, this is former Cowboys wife receiver Drew Pearson, who has a weaker resume than either of the aforementioned Raiders. It’s a painful process that the HOF puts these men and their families through… only to base their inductions on factors so obviously unrelated to their careers.

Will Cain on Twitter

Only first team NFL All Decade offensive player from the 70s, 80s, 90s not in the Hall of Fame. Put Drew Pearson in the HOF!

twitter: @raidersbeat