Belichick finds it hard to believe only one kicker is in Canton

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With former Raiders great Ray Guy sounding off on the absence of punters from the Hall of Fame, Guy has given the media fresh meat for the questioning of NFL types.

Surprisingly, the subject prompted Pats coach Bill Belichick to offer up something much more than a disinterested, perfunctory, half-hearted reply.

“I think that’s a good question,” Belichick said Friday when asked about the relevance of the kicker position to the Hall of Fame, via comments distributed by the team.  “I don’t know what Hall of Fame means.  There are guys who have great, long careers.  There are other guys with very short careers in the Hall of Fame, from championship teams.  There are guys that never or hardly ever played on winning teams.  There are guys with personal stats, there are guys with I’d say less personal stats but maybe more championships or more longevity.

“I don’t know what the criteria is for the Hall of Fame, I’m not in any position to be honest with you.  That’s something you’d have to ask the Hall of Fame committee or voters or something like that, because I don’t really know what the criteria is.  I don’t know if it’s ever been defined.

“I don’t know if it’s a popularity contest or if it’s a political thing. I don’t know what it is. It’s hard for me to believe that, as great as this game is, that there are no punters and one kicker in the Hall of Fame. We can argue that they only play ‘X’ number of plays and everybody else plays a different number of plays but they’re still significant players at their position.  Again, what the criteria is for them, I don’t know.”

Belichick had a kicker named Adam Vinatieri, who provided the margin of victory in each of New England’s Super Bowl win.  Belichick thinks Vinatieri, whom he’ll face Sunday, should have a bronze bust in Canton.

“He’s certainly one of the greatest kickers I’ve ever seen since I’ve been in the league — the longevity, the production, the performance in championships and big games,” Belichick said.  “What more could he do?  Go out there and play wide receiver and catch a bunch of passes?  Is that what he needs to do?  I don’t know.  What more could he do?  I don’t know what more Dave Jennings could have done at his position or Ray Guy or guys like that.  What else would they have had to do?  Get a bunch of interceptions?  We don’t judge quarterbacks on their rushing yardage.  We don’t judge them on how many tackles they made.  I don’t know if we even judge them on how many games they win.  We judge them on a lot of their quarterback rating and stats and running backs on rushing yardage.  What does a guy have to do if he excels at his position?  Is that good enough?  I don’t know.  Like I said, you’d have to ask somebody that knows a lot more about it than I do because I don’t understand what the criteria is.”

The problem is that there doesn’t seem to be a uniform, objective criteria.  Instead, it’s more of a “know it when you see it”-type thing, and the problem with only a handful of available spots every year is that there always will be non-kickers who are deemed more worthy than kickers.

That’s the real issue.  For every guy who isn’t in who should be in, someone who is in needs to be out.

While the process is far from perfect, no tweaks to the rules will ever alter that basic reality.

97 responses to “Belichick finds it hard to believe only one kicker is in Canton

  1. If you’re going to let a kicker in you might as well start letting in long-snappers and ball boys. Kickers and punters are not football players. They are periphery personnel.

  2. Kickers and punters are a very important part of the game. It’s ridiculous that only one kicker and no punters are in the Hall of Fame.

  3. I only have one thing to say about this: – – – – – – The game is called “FOOT”ball for a reason! You would think they must have thought kicking the ball was somewhat important!


  4. I feel like once BB decides to hang up the grey hoodie, he should solely steward the Hall of Fame to the end of his days. The guy is enamored with players who are worth their salt. I don’t believe he would automatically consider the men who served on his teams as shoo-ins. I just know that BB loves an opportunity to give credit where credit is due. That guy would talk up a dead whale about the few brights spots on the 1954 Chicago Cardinals team.

    Granted we may end up with a bust of Kyle Brady but that’s a risk that is probably few and far between.

  5. Anyone who thinks kickers and punters arent a huge part of football is just ignorant. How many times in a field goal the play that wins or loses a game?? How often does a late punt give the field position that wins or loses a game? The answer is VERY OFTEN! The bottom line is that other than a QB, a kicker is virtually the most important position on the field in the closing seconds of a game. They definitely deserve their spot in history. Football is the ultimate TEAM game, and the Pats could not have won those Super Bowls without Vinatieri. TRUST ME! IM A BILLS FAN!

  6. It’s called FOOTball.

    Bronco Fan.

    See my responses near the bottom of the original Ray Guy thread.

    No one should go into the Hall before Ray Guy. Period. HE beat us at the end of a couple of games with his foot and his smarts. And I know the Broncos weren’t the only ones put in bad places by Ray Guy.

    As I Bronco fan I hate the Raiders, but can’t deny he was the best ever at his position and he changed the ebb and flow of games more often than I wish to recall. Ray would punt – then . . . something bad would happen (for us) – over and over again

  7. Ask last years Ravens team how important a kicker is to their team , because it isn’t a glamorous fantasy stat position or a hard hitting exciting job it doesn’t get noticed but just about every week we see kickers saving games for their teams it should at least get noticed and I’m pretty sure a guy like Viniteri will get in based on his history making kicks,but also because he is more famous than many kickers ….

  8. The most glaring problem is that the committee members can’t shut up. How many times did we hear or read C. Bailey, Manning, Brady, A. Peterson etc. are HoFers yet they are still playing? They’re biased to the players that give them quotes which pays their salaries.

    When favoritism is allowed and it goes unchecked you get this mess the NFL is in.

  9. I think Guy should be in given how he performed compared to the peers at the same time.

    I think Kicker is a little more difficult. Part of the problem is how many more FG are being made, and being made from longer distance in recent years. Guys that play 15+ years don’t look as impressive compared to guys today that can hit from 55+ and still make a greater FG%.

    It also hurts that the difference between “great” and average is probably 2 more missed FG a year.

    Really about all you can go by for kickers is: A. compare them to their peers, and then how many clutch kicks did they make (mainly in the playoffs).

  10. If Ray Guy isn’t allowed into the HOF, then the position of punter should be phased out. By ignoring someone of his unquestioned skills and abilities, football is, as much stating that punting is not a part of the game…ridiculous, PUT RAY IN HOF!!

  11. The term ‘hang time’ didn’t exist before Ray Guy. Oakland had to promise him he could play safety as well as punt just so he would sign his contract and considered him as a backup QB because he had a helluva arm. But once they realized what a weapon he was they killed those plans quickly! Seeing him come in near the end of the game was like watching Mariano Rivera walk in to shut off a rally. Most teams couldn’t overcome a Raiders D after Ray had pinned them in at their own 3! Put him in the Hall and Vinatieri when he’s done as well. And Morten Andersen.

  12. Why don’t they split and on two categories ? One for every down players and one specialty teams players.

    And why can’t the Hall of Fame committee be questioned about things like this?

  13. Adam and Bill will exchange kisses prior to kickoff. ****RELAX Patriot Nation: I’m a fan. ****20-17, 32-29, 24-21.

    Before it’s over, Janikowski and Vinatieri may both belong.

  14. All anybody has to do in order to prove the importance of kickers is look at the list of the top 25 scorers in the history of the NFL.

  15. Jason Hanson WILL make it one day, I know he will. He has excellence in stats, longevity, great personal demeanor and professionalism, and is one of the very few things the Lions have had that is in a separate class.

    The Lions deserve to have him enshrined along with Barry and CJ or the club is a joke.

  16. What really needs to be done is get rid of the maximum amount of players allowed in each year. If a player deserves to be in the HoF he deserves to be in the HoF.

  17. Kickers should be in the Hall of Fame. How many games are decided by a field goal? Its definitely not as easy as it looks, especially when youre in a pressure type situation and your team could either advance or go home depending on your ability to make a clutch kick.

  18. Completely agree with footballbat. I grew up a Chiefs fan and absolutely loathed Ray Guy, which is of course the highest complement a player can receive from an arch rival’s fan.

    There’s no clear criteria for HoF inclusion, but I’ve heard commentators discuss factors….
    1) Need to be famous. Virtually every football fan still knows Guy’s name decades after he retired. (Much more so than some execs or old timers enshrined in recent years.). Check.
    2) Need to be truly great for an extended period. 7x All Pro, member of NFL 75th Anniversary Team, widely regarded as the best punter ever. Check.
    3) Need to change the game/permanently impact the game. “Hang time” became a stat because of him. Frequency of pinning the opponent inside the 20 became a stat because of him. At the collegiate level, the best punter each year wins the Ray Guy Award. I could go on, but the point is made. Check.

    There is no logical reason for Guy not being enshrined in Canton.

  19. All those making the “it’s called FOOTball” comments need to go and learn why it’s called football, it’s nothing to do with kicking a ball, the same goes for “soccer” football too.

  20. The HOF is a, “peter king likes me so I’m in,” kind of a thing. It’s quite pathetic. Voters need to be players and coaches. Then you have a hall of fame. As it
    is now, it’s worthless.

  21. Belichick should find it hard to believe there is only one kicker is in Canton; since in fact there are 9 players who at one time or another played the position of kicker in the Hall of Fame

    Lou Groza
    Don Hutson
    Les Richter
    Jan Stenerud
    Ken Strong
    George Blanda
    Bobby Layne
    Doak Walker
    Paul Hornung

  22. if you don’t think punters and kickers are worth considering for the HOF then you don’t watch football.

  23. runbrowns, I believe Belichick was referring to Jan Stenerud and to kickers as specialists, not multifaceted players of a day gone by. The Patriots had one of those in Gino Cappelletti, who should be in Canton.

  24. All one needs to know about the importance of a field goal kicker is to watch Super Bowl 25 and ask Ottis Anderson. Why? Because if Scott Norwood makes that field goal in SBXXV and sends Buffalo home with a victory, he also sends Thurman Thomas home with the MVP award. That was the game that the kicker not only decided a game’s outcome, but also the MVP.

    The HOF Committee already has a category for Senior Candidates, why not a category for kickers and punters, where every other year, they select one or the other. It’s long overdue.

  25. “elichick should find it hard to believe there is only one kicker is in Canton; since in fact there are 9 players who at one time or another played the position of kicker in the Hall of Fame”

    He’s talking pure kickers and punters. Look at all the players you listed other than Stenerud- all from the “both ways” era, where players played multiple positions and often on both sides of the ball.

    Ray Guy was NFL excellence personified, regardless of which position he played. The Hall should welcome and acknowledge GREATNESS, and Ray Guy, you were great.

  26. Bottom line is how much impact you have on wins and losses; a kicker/punter who is only on the field 4-6 times a game, IMO, has to be miles and miles better than any other punter to have the value of a HOF at a position that takes the field 50-70 plays a game.

    In 11 of his 14 seasons, someone else was voted the best in the league. In 7 of his 14 seasons, someone else was the best in his conference. He led the league in punting average only 3 times, and if you look up his % placed inside the 20, it was only average. That doesn’t sound like “miles and miles better” to me.

    At his peak, he was great, and he spent his peak on winning teams that got a lot media coverage (both college and NFL), and there are lot of great stories that get better and better in the retelling. But the hard fact is that he did not dominate the position for years and years; after age 30 he was just a guy.

    Frankly, if you’re going by any objective measurement — stats, pro bowls, etc. — and not by colorful stories retold by old timers, Ray Guy is not even the best punter in the history of the Raiders. Shane Lechler has been All-Pro twice as often as Guy and has the highest average of any punter ever.

  27. A punt saved the Saints last week against Atlanta when Morstead booted it from the endzone to the opposite 40. Gave the D enough wiggle room to pull out the win.

    To me the guys who excel at the position should be in and that is a a much shorter list than many other positions. So there is your reflection on how important the kickers are.

    Kickers should be in but it’s a harder position to stand out in. That kid in St. Louis is probably next on this list.

  28. Jason hanson should be in the HOF when hes done..whenever that will be.handfull of records and 3rd alltime in scoring.

  29. One would think that every position in the game would be represented in the HOF. The snubbing of Ray Guy is inexcusable. Having a good kicking game is an important part of the game and to ignore it is absurd.

    I hate to be the one to bring this up, but there are a number of deserving Raiders being snubbed year in and year out for an HOF induction. It makes me wonder what kind of politics are involved with the selection committee and if there is bias within it’s members.

    Is it a team bias, or a player bias? Being a Raiders fan I want to lean with the former, but it’s hard not to lean with the later side of that question when you consider all the great players getting snubbed from so many other teams. I’ve been amazed at some of the players being left out over some of the more recent selections. It almost seems like getting your star on the Hollywood walk of fame, where those who get one, actually have to petition for it and pay for it as well.

  30. runbrowns says: Nov 16, 2012 10:30 PM

    Belichick should find it hard to believe there is only one kicker is in Canton; since in fact there are 9 players who at one time or another played the position of kicker in the Hall of Fame
    It’s not that at one time or another these men played the position. It has more to do with the fact that kicking is something they did in addition to their regular job. And most of those guys were placekickers, not punters. Stenerud was one of the first dedicated kickers in football. Before Stenerud, placekickers barely converted over half of their tries. That’s why kicking wasn’t that important. Stenerud made placekicking a vital aspect of the game. Lawrence Taylor changed the linebacker position. Guy did the same for punting. You can lump him in with long snappers and ballboys if you want, but that’s what Peter King does, and King is a pompous gasbag.

  31. You guys are seriously forgetting about Jason Elam.

    I keep seeing Sebastian Janikowski plastered in all of the comments. Elam scored more points, had a better kicking % and was more clutch, not to mention the rings to go with his incredible career!! We judge QBs on stats but when we compare them to other greats we say, “yeah but did he get a ring?” Here’s more on Elam : Elam was drafted out of the University of Hawaii by the Broncos in the third round (70th pick overall) of the 1993 NFL Draft.

    Elam holds NFL records for best extra point conversion percentage (.995), most consecutive seasons with at least 100 points (15), fastest to 300 successful field goals, fastest to 1,600 and 1,700 points.[2] Furthermore, Elam was the first player in NFL history to score at least 200 points against three or more teams (San Diego Chargers: 222, Oakland Raiders: 215, Kansas City Chiefs: 203). Elam is also tied with Steve Christie for the most overtime field goals with 9. Elam was named to the Denver Broncos 50th Anniversary Team in 2009.

    Elam was drafted later, was smaller than Sebass and kicked a 63 yard field goal LONG before he did. Believe it or not Ela. Sebastian is touted as one of the best ever long range kickers but Elam has a better long range % too at 60% compared to Sebastian at 55%. Elam had a 99.4% compared to Sebass 99.3% for extra points. Elam was a 3x PRO BOWLER/ALL PRO compared to Sebass at 1 in 2011. Now you tell me what makes Sebass a greater choice than Elam??? The answer is nothing.

    People really forget just how good Jason Elam was….and I say this not just as a Bronco fan but a fan of football in general, Jason Elam deserves to be in the HOF!!

  32. FYI, the top 28 leading scorers of all time are all kickers (number 29 is Jerry Rice). Actually there are only 3 non-kickers in the top 50 scorers. Whoever says kickers are of little impact is an utter fool.

  33. Great to see BB give a shout out to Dave Jennings. He’s a proud member of the Giants Ring of Honor. An All Time Great.

  34. Periphery players? Vinatieri is an all pro. Patriots have 2 rings because of his FGs. Get a life if you think a kicker like him isn’t a HOF’er.

  35. Should punters and kickers have to be truly, truly special to make it in the hall? Yes.

    Ray Guy fits that criteria. The gap between him and all other punters is perhaps even greater than that between Jerry Rice and all other receivers.He deserves to get in.

  36. bathroomben7 says: Nov 16, 2012 8:59 PM

    If you’re going to let a kicker in you might as well start letting in long-snappers and ball boys. Kickers and punters are not football players. They are periphery personnel.

    Check team records moron. You’ll find the lead scorer on many teams is the kicker. Get back to manning the glory hole in the bathroom Ben.

  37. BB is right in theory but wrong in fact. There is more than one kicker in the HOF.

    Chiefs fan rightly remember Ray Guy but at the same time they had their own great punter, Jerrel Wilson, who was just as good. Four times he lead the league in punting.

    He should also be in the HOF.

  38. I understand the context, but I still got a chuckle from the line: “I am not in any position to be honest with you.” At least you are being honest about that coach

  39. matt stover, he is the nfl’s 4th all-time leading scorer. attempted 563 fgs, & made 471 fgs. points scored 2,004. the ravens wouldn’t have won the super bowl without him. ravens failed to score a touchdown for 5 straight games that season and stover scored the only points during this time.

  40. Sympathizers, remember this when your team has a great player kept out of Canton by a guy that took 70 snaps in a season (punter) or MAYBE half that (kicker). The all time scoring leader maxed out at 39 snaps in a season.

    Can we open this up to long snappers too?
    Kick off coverage guys?

  41. I understand that you can’t vote in every 3 or 4 time All-Pro kicker into the Hall, but there is no reason only Jan is in. Guy should be in. Morten Anderson. Vinatieri when he’s eligible.

    Any great coach like a Parcells will tell you that special teams is 1/3 of the game along with offense and defense. To have only one single rep for a third of the sport is short-sighted at the very least.

  42. That one kicker played for my Browns .Lou the toe Groza . we have one right now in Phil Dawson who should get HOF Considerstion when his playing days are done .Phil is Automatic .

  43. You don’t even have to have played football to get in the HOF. If anyone should get credit for any of the Patriots Superbowl victories in recent years, it should be Matt Walsh first and foremost.

  44. 1982 NFL MVP – Mark Mosley, Kicker Washington Redskins. Most agree that the Redskins made it to the super bowl that year on the foot of Mosley. He was also one of the last straight on “toe” kickers.

  45. Mr. Belilchick, I do think that you are wrong. How many of you remember Danny White the QB for Dallas. Danny was the punter for Dallas when Roger Staubach was the Qb, and if memory serves me right Danny White is in the hall. Granted he may be in there from his QB role but he is in the hall. I remember Ray Guy, I could never understand how this punter could punt the ball so high and for such long distances. The man was well before his time. No one person could punt half as good as Ray Guy could. And by the way I myself do think he will be there someday.

  46. Punters play an average of 4 snaps a game.

    When your team has a bad one, you quickly realize how important those 4 snaps are.

    Won’t mention any names, but his initials are Ken Walter.

  47. If you’re going to let a kicker in you might as well start letting in long-snappers and ball boys. Kickers and punters are not football players. They are periphery personnel.

    How many long-snappers and ballboys won games?

  48. rambo08 says:Nov 16, 2012 9:13 PM

    Belichick isn’t a very articulate guy is he?

    Why all the thumbs down? Doesn’t anyone understand he is mocking those who call Belichick inarticulate? This was one of the most articulate descriptions of the inadequcies of the Hall of Fame I’ve ever read.

  49. A list of players not in the hall of fame:

    Kevin Greene
    Ricky Watters
    Tim Brown
    Cris Carter
    Jerry Kramer
    Jim Marshall

    Until these guys (and probably a number of others like them) get in, I’m not worrying about kickers.

  50. He is absolutely right. Ray Guy was a game changer. That’s why he was picked 1st by the Raiders. NEVER had a punt returned for a TD, and rarely had one returned at all.
    Morten Andersen was awesome, but he was a FG kicker.

  51. Hey if “your” player does get beat out by a kicker or a punter for the HOF they shouldn’t have even been mentioned for the yellow jacket in the first place, dum dum.

  52. I don’t think it’s a kickers/punters issue. It’s special teams as a whole. For years two of the most dominant, game changing players in football were Brian Mitchell and Steve Tasker. Tasker singlehandedly changed field position consistently as a gunner (while being considered a receiver). Mitchell is second all time in all purpose yards despite only playing 10-15 snaps a game even though he was a running back.

    Guy, Vinateri, Mosley, Lechler… all more than deserving. It’s just not in the halls nature to really consider non flash positions all that often. Aren’t there more than double QBs, WRs and RBs in Canton than all the other positions combined?

  53. Here’s a good one–

    Mat McBriar has averaged an astonishing 46 yards a punt in his career with the Cowboys. If one adds his time with Philly, it is more like 48. In order for a punter to average this kind of yardage, he has to kick the ball 60 yards everytime, because he doesn’t kick from the line of scrimmage. Ask any coach, and he will tell you that a guy like McBriar is a weapon, due to the field position he subtracts from the other team. In other words a team has to travel the length of the field to score, because of a punter of this freakish nature. If having to travel the length of the field anything can happen, three and outs, turnovers, etc. Does anyone now think kickers shouldn’t be in the HOF?

  54. Another reason why writers should no longer be given the vote!!!!

    Give it to coaching tape junkies: Ron Jaworski, Brian Baldinger, and John Madden!!! At least they’re honest about their views on talent!!!!

    Plus, they won’t put as many political or useless arguments to keep people in or out!!!

  55. Have one extra inclusion every year to the Hall of Fame that has to be either a kicker or a punter. No statute of limitations so anyone is eligible from the entire history of the NFL. Problem solved. That won’t let too many in, but enough that the best of all time are represented.

    Would make kickers and punters actually fun to talk about for once too. Who would get the first vote in? Would be HARD to choose from the tons of candidates.

  56. Jerry Kramer was on the NFL 50th Anniversary Team as a Guard. And as a substitute PK he provided the margin of victory in a 16-7 win over the Giants in the Championship game. And he still can’t get in. Hall of Infamy.

  57. His point is well taken, there SHOULD be defined criteria for every position. Granted, glamor positions are already more famous because they get more exposure during their careers, but linemen and special teams players also deserve fame. I recommend making All Pro selection meaningful, and giving more weight to appearances at each playoff level. Ridiculous to assume someone HAS to be excluded, simply INCLUDE every position.

  58. The best kicker in the history of the Raiders was George Blanda. He also played quarterback and early in his career he played linebacker. He played until he was 48 years old and kicked game winning field goals right up to the end. In his last regular season game the Raiders were ahead in the 4th quarter so they let him go in as quarterback. He moved the team down the field, completing passes and scored a touchdown. Then he kicked the extra point. You could see from the faces of the players on the other team that they were stunned. He is in the Hall of Fame.

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