Hall gains its first punter as Ray Guy gets his bust in Canton

AP

For the first time, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has enshrined a punter, as Ray Guy received his bust at a ceremony in Canton, Ohio, this evening.

“Man, am I glad to be here tonight,” Guy said as he was inducted. “To be a part of this very special clubhouse called the Pro Football Hall of Fame — and knowing it’s forever — is beyond my wildest dreams.”

Guy thanked the late Raiders Hall of Fame owner Al Davis, “who took a chance on me.” Davis shocked the football world when he spent a first-round pick on Guy in 1973, making him the first punter ever to go in the first round. That pick may have seemed crazy to some, but it paid off: Guy was the NFL’s first-team All-Pro punter in each of his first six NFL seasons, from 1973 to 1978.

Davis’s Raiders were the only NFL team Guy played for, and Guy was regularly among the league’s elite punters statistically. He led the league in yards per punt three times, was second in the league three times and was third in the league twice.

John Madden, Guy’s Hall of Fame coach, noted in Guy’s introduction that punters are football players too, but Guy was long a source of controversy in Hall of Fame debates: Some people don’t think any punter belongs in the Hall of Fame, while others said that if there was going to be a punter in the Hall, Guy didn’t deserve to go first. Guy was repeatedly voted down as a Hall of Fame finalist and only got in this year as a nominee of the Veterans Committee.

But now there’s no longer a debate: Punter Ray Guy is a Hall of Famer.

“It’s been long, long overdue,” Guy said. “But now the Hall of Fame has a complete team.”

75 responses to “Hall gains its first punter as Ray Guy gets his bust in Canton

  1. About damn time!!!! Congrats to Guy. One of the most important yet underappreciated skill in the game is punting. Glad one of the best to ever do it is in the HOF.

  2. Guy changed field position and games with his punts. I can remember Raider games as a boy, watching Guy kicking to the coffin corner or blasting one 60+ yards to turn a bad field into an advantage for the defense. Congratulations to Ray Guy, one of my favorite Raider greats.

  3. restorativejusticeprogram says:
    Aug 2, 2014 10:23 PM
    About time.
    Sometimes “football men” can be so stupid.

    I look forward to the induction of a field goal kicker in the near future.

    ————————-

    There’s already a kicker in the HOF. His name is Jan Stenerud. He’s been in for decades. He also played with a punter better than Ray Guy. His name is Jerrel Wilson.

    Congrats Ray, but this is nothing but a publicity stunt. Jerrel was and is better.

  4. The funny thing is, Ray Guy may have been the best athlete in the NFL during his era. He could pass, kick, play CB if needed…. you just don’t see that anymore. From punters…
    The closest now is Shane Lechler. And only because he’s known to have a rocket arm.
    Congrats, Ray… I enjoyed watching you play in Oakland. In person.

  5. Took a while, but since they call it football, they better have some kind of kicker in there. Vinatieri better make it first time, hands down.

  6. Every position should be represented in the HOF. Some of those bozos who tried to keep Guy out need their heads examined!

  7. Back when the rosters were limited to 36 players, some players would also punt and kick.

    Before then real players played both offense and defense.

    Now rosters are so huge that everyone is a part time player. Third down specialists are getting into the Hall along with and a kicker and now a punter.

    Nobody remembers when stamina was part of the game.

    Bud Grant always called them kick teams instead of special teams. He said “If there was anything special about them they would be on a regular team.”

    Frankly, I would like to see who would win the Super Bowl if the rosters were limited to 16 players. Then only the best blockers, tacklers, and athletes would be on the field for the WHOLE game.

  8. Well we always had Sammy Baugh, so the HOF team would have had someone who could punt. But no pure punters. And its a different game now, so Baugh probably wouldn’t have been allowed to punt if he were playing QB today, or even in Guy’s time.

    Congrats, RG.

  9. Well deserve Ray Congratulations. I watched the game when you hit the Roof of the dom. Wow I remember how the TV stations kept repeating it. I will not forget how you would help our team
    With field position when they could not get things started. I remember you would kick the ball so hard that your leg would come up close to hitting your head. Congratulations guy you earned And deserve it. Go Raiders!

  10. Interesting speech… he basically said he never got any coaching in punting his whole career. It was all pure talent. Unbelievable.

  11. Not a Rayduhs fan by any means, but putting Ray Guy in the HOF was so well deserved Should have been done along time ago. Congrats!

    Shame on you HOF voters Why is it that the punters and kickers always sit at the back of the bus?

  12. The media keeps showing the high snap Guy snagged, then rocked in Super Bowl XVIII. That’s a big deal, but even more important was Guy pinning Washington down inside their twenty 12 seconds before halftime. Then Theismann threw a pick-six to Jack Squirek. 21-3, game over. A punter played a large role in his team winning a Super Bowl. How often has that happened?

  13. If your a Football purest? If you’re a Football fan? Who cares what team he played for! Ray was awesome ! Oh buy the way, Ray Guy played: QB, Wideout, Corner, Safety, Punter, Field goal kicker, Extra point kicker, Kickoff returner, punt, returner, Gunner…..Baseball: Pitcher Basketball: Center, and an all around good person!

  14. 1. Sammy Baugh was a better punter, and he’s already in the Hall. They already had a complete team.

    2. He’d be a middle of the pack punter today at best.

    3. Worst hall of fame induction in the history of sports. KEVIN GREENE can’t get in, but they let a punter in. How embarrassing for the sport of football.

  15. Best part of this is that all the “Ray Guy should be in the Hall” guys can finally shut up.

  16. Congrats to Ray … ’bout damn time!

    Any idiot that thinks they shouldn’t be in the HOF should get the rules changed so kickers aren’t needed. Not a team in the NFL that wouldn’t have traded to get Ray if they could. Bum Phillips took a ball back to Houston to check for Helium … there wasn’t … Ray was just that good! Well Done!

  17. The members of the press who tried for many years to keep him out should not only be ashamed of themselves, but they should have been fired a long time ago too.

    Congratulations to Ray Guy.

  18. Next for the Raiders who have been long over due Cliff Branch a All Pro and 3 time super bowl starting wide receiver ..Lester Hayes a 2 time super bowl All Pro starting corner who had 13 picks in 1980 plus 5 more in the 1980 post season…Jim Plunkett who led the Raiders to 2 super bowl victories and was comeback player of the year in 1980…Kenny Stabler whoi led Raiders to there 1st super bowl and has taken the team on his shoulders to 5 AFC title games and has the stats of a great QB..and the late Todd Chrtiansen the great tight end who was 2 time super bowl champion and 6 time all pro tight end…not just cause im a raider fan but seriously these guys need to get in and the most feared player during his era Jack Tatum whos name alone brought fear in wide receivers and thats saying something about his passion and talent for the game

  19. I thought Madden said it best when talking about how most coaches hate 4th down because it means their team had failed in 3 downs to gain 10 yards. But with Ray Guy punting, it could really change things. And boy did he ever. It’s very hard to calculate how a good punt can change the nature of a game, but Ray Guy was a very important component of the Raider successes during his career. I am very happy for him and his family.

  20. About time Ray Guy was honored properly, as well as punters. A shame that the current Raider team is merely a shell of the team that was so great back in the 60’s and 70’s.

  21. If any player can be considered one of if not the best all time at their position, they certainly deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. It’s about time.

  22. This punter changed the game of football (how it’s played) more than most quarterbacks already in the Hall of Fame. Also worth noting, Ray Guy was more athletic and tough than most of the quarterbacks of his day. Dude LOVED to tackle.

    – Titans Fan

  23. A good punter can make a big difference in a game by either bailing his team out of a bad field position, or trapping the opposing offense deep in their own territory, thereby allowing the defense to be more aggressive in their play calling. Ray Guy was one of the best punters ever, and was an extremely valuable asset to the Raiders. An excellent (and way too long overdue) choice for the Hall of Fame. Congratulations, Ray!

  24. I went to the HOF ceremony when Al Davis was inducted. Ray Guy was one of about 50 ex-Raiders that were there as Al’s guests. I met Ray Guy at the hotel bar and went over to talk to him. He was one of the nicest guys (no pun intended) I ever met. Congrats to him on a truly well deserved honor….as a player and a person.

  25. Ray Guy is one of 6 Raiders to play on all three Super Bowl Champion teams (along with: Ted Hendricks, Dave Dalby, Cliff Branch, Henry Lawrence, Steve Sylvester). He was a star and should have been in the HOF 15 years ago.

    What’s amazing to me is that if you are younger than 45, which most of the posters here are, you have little to no experience with the NFL in the 1970’s. Guy didn’t have to punt the ball 60 yards (but could) because the Raider offense (and the defense), provided field position. Guy’s job was to pin the opposition deep in their territory. As Madden said, he allowed the offense to relax.

    The next punter in the Hall should be Danny White (we will see if Jerry Jones will support him). The “coffin corner” belongs to Danny White.

  26. Ray Guy was the most deserving to enter the Hall. Was always impressed with his punting and his speech was genuine.

    The next punter to be honored should be the late Dave Jennings, who was right up there with Guy during the same period, but punted for Giants teams that had nothing, and often kept them in games longer than they had business hanging in.

    As this thread points out, there are a lot of deserving candidates waiting in line, but Jennings deserves consideration.

  27. Only the truly ignorant, those that live under rocks, don’t understand why a punter should be in the HOF.

    It’s too complicated for their pea sized brains to understand.

  28. What’s amazing to me is that if you are younger than 45, which most of the posters here are, you have little to no experience with the NFL in the 1970’s.

    Ever heard of the internet?

  29. slick50ks says: Aug 2, 2014 10:57 PM

    There’s already a kicker in the HOF. His name is Jan Stenerud. He’s been in for decades. He also played with a punter better than Ray Guy. His name is Jerrel Wilson.

    Congrats Ray, but this is nothing but a publicity stunt. Jerrel was and is better.

    ===================

    Ray Guy and Shane Lechler both much > Wilson

    George Blanda (in the HOF as PK and QB) > Stenerud

  30. To all the haters regarding a punter being in the HOF, stuff it! Do you know how hard it is to make an NFL team regardless of position? And when you make the team, are one of the best if not the best of all time, you are HOF eligible. End of story! You may go now.

  31. so far over due it’s an embarassment to the nfl….3 rings, best ever at his position, college football award named after him for the best at the position…better late than never.

    Go Raiders….Tim, Cliff, & The Snake…are all next.

  32. Ray Guy isn’t the best punter ever. Hasn’t been for a long, long time. He’d be middle of the pack at best in today’s NFL. Stop kissing his *** because all the cool kids are doing it.

  33. Ray Guy made the already powerful Raiders an even more fearsome team with his booming punts. He hit so many great punts that if he was in the league today, he would be one of the most popular player in the league. Ray Guy, and punters/kickers, belong in the Hall of Fame fer sure! You have to be an extremely ignorant fan to think the kicking game is not integral to this great game; extremely ignorant.

    -SF 49er fan since 1967

  34. So if I told you that a QB had a 15 year career in which he only had four winning seasons, never made All Pro or the Pro Bowl, completed less than 53% of his passes, had less than 26,000 yards for those 15 years, made the top 5 in passing yardage exactly once, and threw 34 more INTs than TDs, would anyone say those stats equal Hall of Fame?

  35. Hard to believe that there hasn’t been a punter inducted previously, but Guy was the first one that I remember really standing out. As a San Diego resident and long time Charger fan I absolutely hated the Raiders during Guy’s time spent there, but totally respected him for his amazing, and steadfast talent. He made pin-point punting an art, and really raised the bar for all who came afterwards. It’s hard to believe that his style of sideline punting precision has become such a lost art. Also hard to believe that anyone would think to deny a person of such talent a position in the HOF.

  36. Another one of the great Al Davis players gets in HOF. Only Davis would draft a punter in the 1st. round. Not sure if the best punter off all time but he’s a Raider and that’s enough.

  37. Long list of players still not on that deserve it. Still can’t believe LC Greenwood is not in. Joe Klecko needs to be in. The Snake.

  38. . . . Bettis, arguably the greatest runner of all time?
    ==========
    What is this guy on? It’s one thing to love your team, but that’s just idiotic. He should be embarrassed.

  39. Bronco fan here. I hate to admit this, but Snake was the coolest, bad boy qb of all time. The Raiders would come to Denver, newspapers documented that Stabler would be in bars until about 3am, leave with a bevy of women, go back to the hotel……………..and then just beat the hell out of Denver. I dont know what his stats, numbers are, but on this alone, he should be in the Hall.

    Cliff Branch, not so sure. I saw every one of his games at the University of Colorado. In a word, electrifying. I never felt he had the same impact in the NFL.

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