For a guy who supposedly lives in a crypt, Al Davis has been awfully visible this offseason -- and during daylight hours at that. He's attended a deposition for his role in the Lane Kiffin firing. He's regaled reporters and passers-by at the league meetings with his opinions on the Women's NCAA Tournament. And now, he's openly lobbying anyone with a vote that ex-Raiders Jim Plunkett and Cliff Branch need to be included in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"There is no way Cliff Branch should not be in the Hall of Fame," Davis said, quoted at last week's league meetings. And on the topic of Plunkett, Davis continued, "Plunkett won two Super Bowls. What other quarterback won two Super Bowls and isn't in the Hall of Fame?".
It should be noted that Davis' previous conversation with Sports Illustrated's Peter King consisted of Davis shouting, "Peter King! You haven't written a good thing about the Raiders in ten years!"
To 49ers and Patriots fans, putting Jim Plunkett in the Pro Football Hall of Fame sounds something like putting Al Davis in the Sane and Professional Workplace Behavior Hall of Fame. Plunkett did win those two Super Bowls with the Raiders (but only one of them was for the Oakland Raiders, ahem). Prior to those two Super Bowls, however, Plunkett had losing records with both the Patriots and 49ers. He's thrown far more career interceptions than touchdowns, and has a weak career QB rating of 67.5.
Cliff Branch is a far stronger argument. Raider blog Thoughts From The Dark Side breaks down the numbers, and finds that Branch's stats are superior to those of Lynn Swann and John Stallworth. Swann and Stallworth simply had bigger production in their Super Bowl games.
The Cliff Branch argument is a solid one for Al Davis. But he'll have an easier time convincing the nation to watch women's college basketball with him than convincing them to put Jim Plunkett in the Hall of Fame.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who has not written a good thing about the Raiders in... I don't know, ask Al Davis.