Cliff Branch, standout receiver who won three Super Bowls with Raiders, dies at 71

Raiders wide receiver Cliff Branch in 1983
Los Angeles Raiders wide receiver Cliff Branch catches a pass from Jim Plunkett for 64 yards during a playoff game against the Cleveland Browns in January 1983.
(Associated Press)

Cliff Branch, one of the Raiders’ career-leading receivers who won three Super Bowls, has died. He was 71.

Police in Bullhead City, Ariz., say Branch was found dead in a hotel room Saturday. They said an initial investigation revealed no foul play and that Branch died of natural causes.

One of the game’s top deep threats during his 14 NFL seasons in Oakland and Los Angeles, Branch was an All-Pro three straight seasons (1974-76) and made four Pro Bowls. He scored 67 touchdowns through the air, leading the NFL in TD receptions in 1974 with 13 and in 1976 with 12. Branch also had a league-high 1,092 yards receiving in 1974.


Branch was a force in the postseason, with 1,289 yards receiving.

Terrell Owens, one of the greatest receivers in NFL history, still hasn’t gotten over being snubbed the first two years of his Hall of Fame eligibility.

Aug. 3, 2019

In 1983, he tied the NFL record with a 99-yard touchdown catch in a regular-season game. He stands third among Raiders pass catchers in yards receiving with 8,685, trailing Tim Brown and Fred Biletnikoff — both Hall of Famers.

“Cliff Branch touched the lives of generations of Raiders fans,” the Raiders said in a statement on their website. “His loss leaves an eternal void for the Raiders Family, but his kindness and loving nature will be fondly remembered forever.”