Many people thought a punter never could and never would make it to the Hall of Fame. But when someone is arguably the greatest ever at his position it is very hard to keep him out forever – regardless of what that position is.
On Saturday the Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted former Raiders’ Punter Ray Guy – the first player in NFL history to be inducted as solely a Punter.
Many though Raiders’ owner Al Davis was crazy when he used his first round selection in 1973 on a Punter – and to this day he remains the only Punter ever drafted in the first round of the draft. But Davis’ gamble paid off as Guy slowly but surely became the greatest Punter in NFL history.
Guy was a seven time Pro Bowler and four time All-Pro selection who went with the Raiders to three Superbowls (1976, 1980 and 1983). Guy was a master of getting hang time, making it almost impossible for punt returners to successfully return the ball. He was also an elite coffin corner punter, able to pin the ball inside the 10 or even the 5 yard-line with ease on a consistent basis. Three times in his 14-year career he led the league in yards/punt and only had 3 blocks in 1049 attempts.
In Superbowl XVIII against the Redskins, Guy’s signature play came when a bad long snap shot the ball well above his head, but the Raiders’ punter leaped into the air and grabbed it with one hand before successfully dropping the punt on the Redskins’ 12-yard line. Several plays later the Raiders forced an INT-TD which broke the game wide open for the Raiders.
Guy was named to the 1970s All-Decade team and the NFL’s 75th Anniversary team. He was snubbed seven times as a Hall of Fame finalist before making it onto the Senior Selection Committee and being voted in in 2014.