Congrats Ray Guy, Pro Football Hall of Famer
(Ray Guy just texted friends that he has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.)
I’ve read many versions of what qualifies one for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The one that makes the most sense is asking this question about the candidate:
If you can do that, then no, he doesn’t deserve the Hall of Fame status.
My take: You cannot properly tell the history of pro football without including Ray Guy.
Out of Southern Miss where he was a first-team All American, Guy was the first punter ever taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. He was the All-Pro punter on three Super Bowl championship teams, and both his coaches and the team’s owner have declared at length what a major role Guy played in those championships.
He was a seven-time Pro Bowler a six-time All Pro. And here’s the trump card: When they picked the all-time NFL all-star team on the league’s 75th anniversary, Guy was the pick.
When you mention the position of punter, Ray Guy is always the first guy in the conversation. There’s Guy and then there’s everybody else. His punts did not just go far, they seemed to go into orbit. The term — hangtime — was invented because of Guy’s punts.
When they built the Louisiana Superdome, they hung the scoreboard over the field at an altitude deemed beyond the reach of any kicker. In one of those seven Pro Bowls, Guy hit it. The ball was on its way up.
He also kicked off, mostly through the end zone. Occasionally, when forced to run the football, he juked tacklers and made first downs. In one Super Bowl, he leaped straight up in the air to make a one-handed catch of a snap that would have gone through the wrong end zone. He then rushed an incredibly high 42-yard punt. He could have been a starting safety, but he was far too valuable as a punter. He changed games. He won games.
His election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame today was far overdue.
Better late than never.