Dick Vermeil, Cliff Branch Named 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame Finalists

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVAugust 24, 2021

CANTON, OH - AUGUST 04:  Dick Vermeil speaks to Kurt Warner during the SiriusXM's Town Hall at Umstattd Hall at the Zimmermann Symphony Center on August 4, 2017 in Canton, Ohio.  (Photo by Duane Prokop/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
Duane Prokop/Getty Images for SiriusXM

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Tuesday that Dick Vermeil and Cliff Branch were named the coach finalist and senior finalist for the class of 2022.

Vermeil earned recognition from the nine-member coach committee that considers coaches who retired at least five years ago, while Branch earned it from the nine-member senior committee that does the same for players who have been retired for at least 25 years.

Vermeil coached the Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs from 1976-82, 1997-1999 and 2001-2005.

He won a Super Bowl with St. Louis and reached another with Philadelphia.

"I am overwhelmed," Vermeil said. "I'm not sure I belong there."

Vermeil's career record was 120-109.

Branch, who died in 2019, played his entire career for the Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders as a wide receiver known for his speed and ability to beat defenses over the top at a time when such an aerial attack was not used as much as it is today.

He played from 1972-85, won three Super Bowls and earned four Pro Bowl selections and three All-Pro nods. He tallied 501 catches for 8,685 yards and 67 touchdowns.

The Colorado product led the league with both 1,092 receiving yards and 13 touchdown catches in 1974 and led the league again in touchdown receptions (12) in 1976.

"He dreamed of this," his sister, Elaine Anderson, said. "He wanted this so bad, he could taste it. It was all he talked about—when he would go to the Hall of Fame."

Vermeil and Branch will need at least 80 percent of the votes from the 49-member selection committee to be included in the 2022 class. Voting will take place before Super Bowl LVI.