Hall of Fame punter Ray Guy dies at 72

Los Angeles Raiders v Washington Redskins
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Ray Guy, the only pure punter in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has died at the age of 72.

The Raiders selected Guy out of Southern Miss in the first round of the 1973 NFL draft, making him the first punter ever drafted in the first round. Guy would go on to spend 14 seasons with the Raiders, and be chosen first-team All-Pro six times.

Guy’s punting was at times so good that it drove opposing coaches crazy: In 1977, Houston Oilers coach Bum Phillips suspected Guy of filling footballs with helium to improve his hang time, and so he and Oilers punt returner Billy “White Shoes” Johnson agreed that after a punt return, Johnson would hold onto the football and give it to the Oilers’ equipment manager, who brought it to Rice University to have it analyzed. The subsequent testing cleared Guy of wrongdoing.

Guy was selected to seven Pro Bowls, and during the 1976 game, held at the Superdome in New Orleans, he made one of his most memorable plays: A punt that went so high it hit a video screen 90 feet above the field.

Hall of Fame coach John Madden, who was the Raiders’ head coach when they drafted Guy and for Guy’s first six seasons, said of Guy, “He was one of our most valuable players in all those years with the Raiders.”

Guy is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame, he was chosen to the NFL’s 100th Anniversary All-Time Team, his number was retired by Southern Miss, and the award that goes to the best punter in college football is called the Ray Guy Award.

55 responses to “Hall of Fame punter Ray Guy dies at 72

  1. A legendary punter on the field and an even better man off of it. Once a Raider.. Always a Raider. RIP, Ray Guy.

  2. I was a Raiders fan growing up. When Kenny Stabler died I was more sad than I thought I would be. The same today. Ray Guy was a stud. RIP Ray.

  3. The only time he had a punt blocked was in Superbowl 9 against the Vikings. Fred McNeil blocked it, the Vikings recovered it on Oakland’s 2 yard line. Brent McClanahan fumbled on the Vikings 1st play.

  4. Legendary. Never heard the Bum Phillips story before. Ray Guy set the standard for being an NFL punter.

  5. This really bums me out…loved watching him…loved how AL drafted him in the 1st round…loved the play in the Super Bowl vs the then Redskins how he leapt 4 ft in the air and one handed a errant snap and punted the heck out of the ball. What a athlete. RIP Ray!

  6. Single handed changed field positions on a regular basis, let alone dropping it inside the 10 yard line.
    What a legend.

  7. As a kid I saw so many Raider games in person. Maybe Ray Guy was the only punter where fans really looked forward to their team having to punt. It was an event. But obviously the best way to sum up the greatness of Ray Guy was in the 70’s the Houston Oilers confiscated a ball Ray had punted and had it checked for helium. Greatness. Rest in peace Mr Guy and thank you for the memories.

  8. Funny to say but he changed the position to make it more of a weapon.

    Saw a Myth Busters on adding helium to a ball, does little to nothing to effect the distance and hang time.

  9. There is a lot of discussions about who is The GOAT at different positions but we can all agree, Ray Guy is the best punter the NFL has ever had. RIP.

  10. Best ever at hitting the coffin corner. Still amazes me that more punters don’t try to copy that. He and Reggie Robey were the only punters I looked forward to watching, they were that good.

  11. WOW sad news. The Raiders have just lost another legend today. RIP to the greatest punter we have ever seen on the field. Go Raiders!!

  12. The Bum Philips story is hilarious, but Guy’s hang times were legendary. Been watching NFL games for many decades. He’s the only punter I can remember.

  13. this Guy had style … his follow through was something to see, right leg rising above his head and left foot coming off the ground at impact.

  14. Guy was a great all around athlete and wanted to also play as a backup DB or on special teams. Team owner/GM Al Davis took one look at his punting and threatened to fire anyone who did let him even in practice.

  15. Someone mentioned the play already in Super Bowl 18, but his saving catch of the errant snap made the rout possible. It is a whole different game if that ball goes over his head.

  16. Guy was also a fine all around athlete in and wanted to play as a DB or even on special to teams but owner/GM Al Davis took one look at his punting ability an threatened to fire anyone who let’s him play those more dangerous positions, even in practice. Sky high Guy was a huge part of those SB teams by constantly pinning opposing teams against their own end zone.

  17. One the Raider Legends – my condolences to Raider fans & Ray Guys family.

  18. It was amazing how many times he could punt the football within the 20 yard line and close to the goal line. He maybe was a special teams player, but I always thought for how well he could punt the ball, he was a defensive player as well.

  19. I once commented to Shane Lectler as to why Guy wasn’t in the hall yet, answer- because they were waiting for Shane to retire! Shane should be in as well because his avg was better than even Guys!!! But Guy did change the game with his power as well.

    I remember in the 70s that the AFC/NFC pro bowl was held in the astrodome, and Ray actually HIT the roof or scoring module at the top of the dome!!!! In practice of course…

    what an ICON!.. I always wanted to be on MNF punt pass and kick and would out punt everyone at my elementary school with that air lift style… bigger kids with more powerful legs though got the nod in JR HS and HS. Still, i could get it 50-55 yards from kick to land..

    as mentioned, reggie roby was fun to watch as well with his one step style.

    cant wait for shane to join him in the HOF.

    RIP, another great raider to the team in heaven.

  20. billy white shoes johnson should have just used a needle and inflated a ballon on the sidelines then inhaled it. if his voice changed, then its would have been proof of helium!!

    that would be a cool subject for myth busters though to test…

  21. One of the best/no ‘greatest ever’ whatever beyond variable criteria/subjective opinion. e. Even with consensus – mob vote validates nothing. As a football fan since the 1950’s, Guy was among the best in my opinion, but not ‘the best’ be it his own college, the AFC West nor NFL.

    Degrees of difference and not miles, augmented style points/preference, best I saw: KC’s Jerrel Wilson, same group includes Yale Lary, Sammy Baugh & Ray Guy, po-tay-to po-tah-to. (latter days Shane Lechler/others, the argument line forms to the right… take a number.

    Wilson preceded Guy in college @Southern Mississippi, and by almost a decade pro football. For all the ‘media hype’ about Guy, fact is Wilson had a better gross AS WELL net average career. Yeah but yeah but, hang time, corner kicks, etc. Return yards/averages considered, as well gross/net/other, Wilson takes aback seat to no one. Btw, I’m a Packers fan.

  22. Guy wasnt just a punter, he was a football player. He could have been a starting safety in the NFL and could throw a football farther than most QBs … RIP

  23. I was 6 when Wayne Walker was doing a piece on Ray Guy on the field. With Guy in the background while Wayne was facing the camera, Guy kicked the ball so high… It was awesome. RIP Mr. Ray Guy.

  24. The one thing i’ve always said to those that never saw him punt we did not leave the room for a beer a piece of pizza or even use the restroom without watching him punt first he was that great.

  25. I saw Jerrel Wilson. Sorry -he was not close to Guy as a punter. Guy was a weapon – he crushed the ball every time & it was never blocked. The Jerry Rice of punters – no doubt the GOAT.

  26. “I saw Jerrel Wilson”

    – but not Ray Guy, or only from behind silver & black tinted glasses if you believe that Guy never had any punts blocked – he did, same as all punters have had happen.

  27. Jerrel Wilson was a great punter and actually deserves to be in the HOF but also had alot of punts blocked, which was never a problem with Guy.

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