Every now and then I have the good fortune of running into legendary NFL punter Ray Guy on this campus. Sometimes, I have to pinch myself to believe that we have such a distinguished alumnus roaming the grounds of his alma mater on a daily basis.
That is just too cool.
But let me tell you what isn’t – the continuing snub of Guy by Pro Football Hall of Fame voters. Once again, another Hall of Fame class has been selected minus the worthy Mr. Guy. This year’s inductees include Richard Dent, Marshall Faulk, Chris Hanburger, Les Richter, Ed Sabol, Deion Sanders and Shannon Sharpe.
I won’t use this space to besmirch the names or accomplishments of these former NFL stars, but let’s be sensible about this for a second. Hanburger was a respectable linebacker for the Washington Redskins, playing a total of 187 games in 14 seasons. But did he revolutionize his position? I think we can all certainly agree that Ray Guy did just that as the first (and only) pure punter taken in the first round of the NFL draft.
The Oakland Raiders selected Guy with the 23rd pick overall in 1973 and watched him turn the once-inglorious act of punting into a work of art. Guy played 14 years for the Raiders (207 total games) and helped them win three Super Bowl titles. A seven-time All-Pro, he averaged 42.4 yards per punt over his career, amassing 44,541 total yards. His towering punts made the phrase “hang time” a permanent part of the NFL lexicon. An opposing team once had the footballs checked for helium after Guy’s kicks repeatedly soared higher than the norm.
And here’s a telling statistic for you: Guy had 1,049 punts in his stellar career and NEVER had one returned for a touchdown. Translation – Guy’s booming kicks created an easy mission for the Raiders’ kick coverage teams.
Currently, there are no exclusive punters in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It is high time that changed. Ray Guy is the best to ever play that position. And that alone qualifies him for the Hall of Fame.