In just over a month another class will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. While this class in particular has some of the best players to ever put on a helmet (Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith) there is still one glaring omission: Ray Guy.
First let me say that when it comes to this topic I’m not speaking as a Raiders supporter, I’m speaking as a fan of pro football. In my opinion, the fact that Ray Guy still doesn’t have a bust in Canton is one of the biggest travesties in all of sports.
I honestly thought that after a few years of voters being hung up on the whole “A punter isn’t a football player” argument they would come to their senses and do the right thing by putting Guy into the Hall of Fame.
It still hasn’t happened.
Keep in mind; we aren’t talking about just another football player here. We are talking about someone who is thought of as the very best to ever play his position.
I remember years ago I was watching a game being called by John Madden. The issue of Guy getting into the Hall of Fame came up and I will never forget Madden’s comments.
He said Guy wasn’t only the best punter in NFL history but that there wasn’t even a close second at the position. Madden claimed it was the biggest gap between the best player at a certain position and the next guy in line.
Madden compared Guy as a punter to Jerry Rice as a receiver. “Ray Guy is the Jerry Rice of punters,” Madden stated. “Can you imagine not putting Jerry Rice in the Hall of Fame?”
The problem, of course, isn’t with Guy. He did all he needed to do to be a member of football royalty. The problem lies with the sportswriters voting for the honor.
When I worked in the NFL I became friends with someone who actually votes for the Hall of Fame. This person took his responsibility very seriously but he told me horror stories of other voters who let personal bias get in the way of doing what’s right.
He told me that the writers from Minnesota and Pittsburgh refused to vote for any players associated with the Dallas Cowboys because of their hatred for that franchise. Even if the writer liked the player, he wouldn’t vote for him simply because he wore a Cowboys uniform.
He also gave me examples of when certain writers wouldn’t vote for a player because they weren’t friendly with the media.
This person used Tiki Barber and Corey Dillon - two upcoming borderline Hall of Famers – as an example. He said he thought Dillon deserved to be in over Barber but that the one-time Bengal great would get little support because he wasn’t “media friendly.”
So these are the type of people that vote for the biggest individual honor in pro football. Some of who let their own personal biases sway their judgment.
The voter I know doesn’t represent the Raiders but he is one of the people fighting to get Guy into the Hall. He said that every year he and a few others put up a strong argument for Guy.
However, it is his opinion that Guy won’t get inducted any time soon because too many voters don’t think punters deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.
So let me get this straight, people who had nothing at all to do with the sport like broadcasters and journalists deserve to have a place in the Hall of Fame. Yet, someone who actually contributed on the field and is the best ever at what he did doesn’t deserve to be in?
That makes a lot of sense.
If punters aren’t real football players like some suggest then I have an easy solution to the problem.
Let’s get rid of them entirely. Let teams go for it on every fourth down like they are playing a video game that doesn’t really matter. Why not? Apparently punters have no use in football, so what’s the point of even having them on the team in the first place?
It’s funny because if you ask most football fans on the street about Ray Guy, they will say he belongs in the Hall of Fame. However, the people voting refuse to put him in because of the position he played.
I find the whole thing to be quite sad and illogical to be honest. It’s just a shame Guy has to suffer because of other people’s ignorance
This year the Hall of Fame righted one of its wrongs by finally inducting the Broncos Floyd Little. Next year it’s time for the voters to fix what many believe to be the greatest injustice concerning the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
It’s time for the Hall of Fame to bring Ray Guy to Canton where he belongs.