Professional football used to be great, right? Remember those days of the 1960s and 1970s when players weren’t spoiled multimillionaire athletes who just gave it their all every single game? These guys were upstanding citizens in their communities too.
Now, we’re stuck with the Colin Kaepernick’s of the world who constantly disrespect our nation when people give their lives day in and day out for all of our daily freedoms.
But in an era when these kind of divisive clowns didn’t exist, the NFL was truly great and filled with some of the toughest players imaginable. And we just lost a true NFL legend.
The Colin Kaepernick anti-American anthem kneeling era only began a few years ago and it was before Donald Trump even took office. That’s right, it was during former President Obama’s tenure.
Also, the Black Lives Matter movement began under Obama’s administration as well. Transversely, African American unemployment is at its all-time low under President Trump’s tenure thus far.
Yet, somehow most minorities celebrate Obama and demonize Trump and the current professional athlete spectrum is a prime example of this.
But we are longing for the NFL days of old when the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers rivalry was legendary and the Oakland Raiders and the Pittsburgh Steelers battled it out every single year in the 1970s and early 80s to be the best dynasty of that span.
One of those Raiders greats was wide receiver Cliff Branch. He was an underrated monster in his era.
Unfortunately, the three-time Super Bowl winner passed away at the age of 71 over the weekend and it’s truly remarkable that he’s still not in the Hall of Fame.
His quote about not making it to the HOF is heartbreaking as well because he said in 2017, “It’s going to happen, I was really close this year in the senior committee. When [former Raiders offensive lineman] Art Shell went in to represent me, it came down to [Brazile, Kramer] and myself. It was a three-way tie, but the committee chose those guys over me. I’m real close. I’m looking at 2019 like it could be my year.”
Cliff Branch was one of the best route runners in NFL history. Branch was the best deep threat in the NFL from 1972 to 1985 in Oakland and Los Angeles.
Branch was an All-Pro three straight seasons (1974-76) and made four Pro Bowls.
He scored 67 touchdowns; leading the NFL in TD receptions in 1974 with 13 and in 1976 with 12.
He was an uncoverable force in the postseason too with 1,289 yards receiving. The Raiders won Super Bowls after the 1976, 1980 and 1983 seasons in both Oakland and Los Angeles in 1983.
The Raiders wrote on their website, ”Cliff Branch touched the lives of generations of Raiders fans. His loss leaves an eternal void for the Raiders Family, but his kindness and loving nature will be fondly remembered forever.”
Many of the players paid homage to the late Raiders great by wearing his number in practice on Monday. One of them was Christian quarterback Derek Carr who now has deep threat Antonio Brown to throw to this season.
Branch told the Raiders organization in a recent interview, ”All my peers that I played against and that are in the Hall of Fame, they tell me that I deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. It’s the crowning glory, just like getting a Super Bowl ring.”
It’s sad to see the NFL has evolved into a league of players that are the antithesis of toughness like Branch embodied.
He will be missed.