RNT Writer Compared Two Legends: Warren Wells and Cliff Branch

Damali Binta – Jan 13, 2017

Photo by Wyron Wells; Photo includes Warren Wells flanked by Cliff Branch (right) and Alphonse Dotson (left)

Introduction

On April 2, 2009 I wrote the article that compares Warren Wells to Cliff Branch and other wide receivers. The methodology included clustered data for the first five years of each player's career. The goal was to measure intensity to establish that one player was able to accomplish phenomenal data in less time, thereby giving a metric of the ability to produce results on the playing field that have become historical but have been hidden from the public. It reminds me of the “Hidden Figures” story of women of color who had great accomplishments at NASA, but are now recognized in the 21st century because one researcher/writer was wise enough to tell their story.

Wells is shown with his beloved colleagues on January 7, 2017 in Houston, Texas. He attended the game between the Houston Texans and the Oakland Raiders. He is flanked by Alphonse Dotson and Cliff Branch. What a joyous occasion for the “football warriors” to meet and greet each other and to reflect on the great football feats of the past and to have the opportunity to restore and establish relationships in the future.

 

The Article from the Archives

Senior Wide Receivers during the First Five Years

A numerical and graphical representation of the first five years of selected wide receivers is presented for comparisons. Otis Taylor’s rookie year was 1965; John Gilliam’s was 1967; Gary Garrison’s rookie year was 1966; Cliff Branch’s rookie year was 1972; and Warren Wells' rookie year was 1964.  The order of the presentation is Taylor, Gilliam, Garrison, Branch, and Wells.

 


WR                              Year**                        Avg                 TDs

Otis Taylor                  65 (1)               17.2                 5*

John Gilliam                67 (1)               12.0                 1

Gary Garrison             66 (1)               14.0                 4

Cliff Branch                72 (1)               13.7                 0

Warren Wells              64 (1)               10.5                 0

 

 

 

Otis Taylor                  66 (2)               22.4                 8*

John Gilliam                68 (2)               11.8                 0

Gary Garrison             67 (2)               17.5                 2

Cliff Branch                73 (2)               15.3                 3

Warren Wells              67 (2)               23.2*               6

 

 

 

Otis Taylor                  67 (3)               16.2                 11*

John Gilliam                69 (3)               19.2                 9

Gary Garrison             68 (3)               21.2                 10

Cliff Branch                74 (3)               18.2                 13

Warren Wells              68 (3)               21.5*               11*

 

 

 

 

Otis Taylor                  68  (4)              21.0                 4

John Gilliam                70  (4)              21.2                 5

Gary Garrison             69  (4)              20.1                 9

Cliff Branch                75  (4)              17.5                 9

Warren Wells              69  (4)              26.8*               14*

 

 

 

 

Otis Taylor                  69 (5)               17.0                 7

John Gilliam                71 (5)               19.9                 3

Gary Garrison             70 (5)               22.9                 12*

Cliff Branch                76 (5)               24.2*               12*

Warren Wells              70 (5)               21.5                 11

 

 

 

Five Year Yardage Comparisons

Branch             Wells

41                    12                    First year

290                  302*                Second year

1092                1137*              Third year

893                  1260*              Fourth year

1111                935                  Fifth year

 

 

 

The results of an assessment of yardage per ordinal year of Branch versus Wells show that Wells exceeded Branch during the second, third and fourth years of the first five years of their professional football career. Below is an incremental change chart of  differences for each ordinal year, indicating  /∆/ to assess the magnitude of the difference of each player’s data.

 

Change

/∆/

 

41-21

20

20

Branch

290-302

-12

12

Wells

 

1092-1137

-45

45

Wells

893-1260

-360

360

Wells

1111-935

186

186

Branch

 

In the categories Y/G (yards per game), career average, and total touchdowns over total years, the results show:

 

Branch             Wells

47.5                 56.2*               Y/G

17.3                 23.1*               Career avg

4.785                  8.4*              TDs over total years

 

This parameter shows that Wells dominates in Y/G, career average and in average number of touchdowns divided by total years, using the first five years only.

 

 

An equation of proportions can give more insight on the rate at which Branch and Wells performed during the first five years of each career:

 

8685/14 = 3655/x      x = 5.891

 

The analysis shows that 5.891 is the number of years Wells would have needed to attain and exceed Branch’s 8685.  A conjecture is that it took Branch 14 years to get 8685 and at the rate Wells was going, it would have taken Wells only 5.891 years to reach 8685 or above.

 

 



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