Former Raiders P Ray Guy was elected for enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2014, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Saturday at the Third Annual NFL Honors from Radio City Music Hall in New York, N.Y.
Guy joins Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Derrick Brooks, Falcons DE Claude Humphrey, Seattle Seahawks T Walter Jones, Buffalo Bills WR Andre Reed, New York Giants DE Michael Strahan, and Arizona Cardinals CB Aeneas Williams to make up the Class of 2014 that will be officially enshrined into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio on Aug. 2, 2014. With Guy entering the Hall of Fame, an illustrious 22 Raiders have now been selected for induction into the Hall of Fame.
Ray Guy, who played for the Raiders from 1973-86, will be the first pure punter ever enshrined into the Hall of Fame. He was originally selected by the Raiders in the first round (23rd overall) of the 1973 NFL Draft, becoming the first full-time punter drafted in the first round. Over his 14-year career, Guy played in 207 games – all of which were consecutive – and punted 1,049 times for 44,493 yards (42.4 avg.) with 128 punts downed inside the 20-yard line. He averaged more than 40 yards per punt in 13 of his 14 seasons, and the lone season he didn’t came in the strike-shortened 1982 year. Only three of his 1,049 punts were blocked and he punted 619 straight times from 1979 until the end of his career in 1986 without having a punt blocked.
In addition to winning three Super Bowls with the Raiders, Guy was named as the punter for the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team and All-Decade team for the 1970s. Widely known for pioneering directional punting and quantifying the importance of punting hang time, Guy was a seven-time Pro Bowler (1973-78, 80), six-time First-Team All-Pro honoree (1973-78) and two-time Second-Team All-Pro honoree (1979-80).
Raiders Hall of Fame CB Willie Brown on Ray Guy: “Having Ray Guy meant having a chance to make the playoffs and win the Super Bowl. He was just that strong because his ability to punt – when we needed a long punt, he did it; when we needed a short punt, he did all that. He kept opposing offensive teams back in the hole a majority of the time. As a defense, you have a shot anytime he’s in the game punting. We didn’t worry about whether they were going to get the ball because no matter where we were on the field, a majority of the [other team’s] offense usually started on the other 20 or beyond that sometimes. It’s always great to have a weapon like Ray Guy.
“When teams saw we had a guy by the name of Ray Guy as a punter, you tend to play defense a little bit better because no matter how [our] offense is sputtering around, they can’t get a first down or can’t get most downs, we knew Ray Guy would come in and put it deep in their own territory. We knew that no matter what happened, Ray would get the ball out and punt it way down field. His hang time, his distance, was unbelievable because there wasn’t another punter in the league that could punt against Ray. He was loved by all his teammates, no question about it. He had one job to do and that one job was to punt the ball and we believed in him. Again, Ray was a happy-going guy. He was well-liked by his teammates.”
Raiders Super Bowl-winning Head Coach Tom Flores on Ray Guy: “With his ability, he was such a unique and great punter that he changed the way that punting was viewed and changed the whole complexion of the game. He changed the way that we played when I was an assistant when he first got there and then later as a head coach. You had a different game plan sometimes because you always depended on him and knew that he would put you in positions where you could win the game, especially later in the game and win the field position battle, which is a big part of winning and losing. There were some punters before him that were pretty impressive, but Ray was the kind of guy that gave you that ‘wow’ when you watched him.
“Ray was more than just a punter – he was a great athlete. People forget what a great athlete he was in college. He was an outstanding tackler. He could run and jump, so he was one of the best athletes we had on the team. He gave us the ability to punt the ball inside the 20-yard line. The thing that he did was he did it from way, way back instead of just from midfield.”
Raiders Hall of Fame WR Fred Biletnikoff on Ray Guy: “Ray is a very deserving for selection in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Ray could have been considered our most valuable player every year, as he was the one constant whose performance in every game gave us a chance to win. Statistics didn’t do him justice, as Ray sacrificed those for good of the team. If the situation called for him to boom a punt long and high, he would. If it called for a coffin corner kick, he would. Ray was also one of our team leaders who would do anything necessary to help the team win. He was a weapon and had the ability to flip the field. Ray set the standard for all punters to follow.”
Raiders Super Bowl MVP QB Jim Plunkett on Ray Guy: “There is no question that Ray Guy is worthy of being in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as he was the premier punter of his time. I know that guys have better numbers now, but back in the day he was the best. What stands out more than anything else is when you needed a big punt, Ray was your guy and he delivered, whether it was a booming long punt with great hang time or a pooch punt. He was all about helping our team win a football game. Ray played a lot of roles, wore a lot of hats, as he was not only the punter but also our emergency quarterback. There is no other punter that I would have wanted on my team than Ray.”