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Ray Guy: Not the NFL Hall of Fame, Part One

Ray Guy doing what he did best
Ray Guy doing what he did bestGeorge Rose/Getty Images
Richard O'HaganCorrespondent IIFebruary 14, 2011

The purpose of Not the NFL Hall of Fame is to highlight players who are not in the Hall of Fame proper, but who would be if the 44 voters for Canton had any sense at all. Where better to start than with one of the greatest injustices of all:

If Ray Guy hadn't been a punter, they would've had to invent the role for him.

Quite frankly, up until that time there had never been a player like him. Pre-Guy, punters were the guys (no pun intended) who came onto the pitch to mark failure—you hadn't made ten yards and so you were giving the ball back.

Guy turned punting into both a science and an offensive weapon. By concentrating not only on distance, but accuracy and hang time, he was able to pin opponents back further than any punter before him.

He remains the only punter selected in the first round of a draft. Without him, Shane Lechler would not be earning $5 million a year. Without him, the video screen at the Louisiana Superdome would still be only 90 feet off the ground. And without him, the game of football we know and love would be a very different one.

In 1994, Guy became the first pure punter to be nominated for inclusion in the Hall of Fame.

Sixteen years later, he is still trying to get in.

Originally, it was pure prejudice on the part of an electorate who have allowed only one kicker into Canton, let alone a punter. Now, it is because the likes of Lechler that make his career average of 42.4 yards look just that: average.

But Canton voters are supposed to judge a player on his impact upon the game and what he did on the field. Guy changed the game, and the voters are either too dumb or too stubborn to see it.

For this reason, Ray Guy is the first enshrinee of Not the NFL Hall Of Fame.

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