Why are there no punters in the American Football Hall of Fame?

I recently read an article that said that there was a movement underway to get Ray Guyhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Guy into the Hall of Fame. He had a pretty amazing career-why isn’t he in already?

There is a punter in the HOF. The record average punt leader, at a 51.4 yard average for 35 punts (1940), is Sammy Baugh!!! He has several other punting records.

Amazing!!! 69 year-old record!!!

He was also a quarterback and a coach and played defense…

It’s not quite the same, but Danny White (QB/punter) is in the College Football HOF.

I can’t believe Ray Guy wasn’t inducted.

The Football Hall of Fame is very different from the Baseball Hall, for several reasons.

  1. The baseball players are selected by a large pool of sportswriters. The football players are chsen by a small committee of writers and football insiders.

  2. The committee ALWAYS inducts six football players every year. The baseball writers may vote for ten players, one player, or zero players, as they see fit.

  3. No one baseball writer has to power to get anyone into the Baseball Hall of Fame, or to keep anybody out. But one committee member can push someone in or keep someone out.

Since there are six spots available for Canton each year, here’s what invariably happens: there will be two newly eligible players (recent retirees) who are no-brainers, and whom every committee member will vote for. That leaves four openings for worthy guys who missed the cut in years past. The committee members will argue a lot (one guy likes Bob Hayes, another likes Kenny Anderson, another likes Randy Gradishar, another likes Ray Guy), and then they’ll start horse trading. You know, “I’ll vote for your guy this year if you promise to vote for my guy next year.”

As for Ray Guy, there are two problems:

  1. There is always such a huge backlog of qualified players to choose from, many of whom have been waiting a long time. A punter frequently isn’t seen as a real football player, and many voters are reluctant to give a spot to a punter that they feel SHOULD go to a guy who was sweating and hitting and getting hit.

  2. The most powerful committee member , for many years, was Paul Zimmerman, and Zimmerman was steadfast in his opposition to Ray Guy. Zimmerman believed (quite rightly, by the way) that Guy was overrated. Yes, Ray Guy had a powerful leg and could really boom the ball. However, he was terrible at the coffin corner kicks, his net average wasn’t as great as you’d think (he’s only #62 among all-time punters, in net average), and he rarely pinned the other team inside the 20 yard line.

Don’t take my word for it, look at the stats: if you judge punters by NET average and by their ability to pin the opponent inside the 20, there were MANY better punters than Ray Guy.

Paul Zimmerman DOES want punters in the Hall of Fame, but he thinks Tommy Davis was a much better punter than Ray Guy. Come to think of it, the numbers suggest Rohn Stark and Rich Camarillo were better candidates for the Hall of Fame than Ray Guy.

Punting specialists are a relatively recent addition to the game, and they tend to be pretty interchangeable. It is very hard to stand out for a long period as an exceptional one.

Placekickers have a more significant impact on the game, and there’s only 1 of *them *in the Hall (Jan Stenerud - Lou Groza is listed as a lineman). First things first.

Maybe it has to do with the fact that “punting” is an admission of defeat. No one wants to glorify the team’s undertaker.

Moving to The Game Room from GQ.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

I call bullshit. From Wiki:

http://www.rayguy.net/quotes.html

Go ahead and call bullshit, but you’re wrong.

Here are Ray Guy’s lifetime stats:

http://www.databasefootball.com/players/playerpage.htm?ilkid=GUYRAY01

Note that his best season was 1985, when he had a net average of 36.3 yards. Again, that was his BEST season.

Now look at Rich Camarillo’s career:

http://www.databasefootball.com/players/playerpage.htm?ilkid=CAMARRIC01

Rich Camarillo had SEVEN seasons with a better net average than that!

Camarillo was a much better punter, but have you ever heard ANYONE clamor for his induction into the Hall of Fame? Why not?

The most impressive punter I ever saw was Reggie Roby, who played mostly for the Dolphins.

I don’t know how you quantify a punter’s record. Sometimes punting as far as you can would result in a touchback, so there’s an accuracy factor to consider.

Extreme case: 90 yard punt. It must have been basically a line drive…not any hang time for the punting team to run down and stop the ball.
http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=reggie%20roby%20longest%20punt&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wv#q="reggie%20roby"&hl=en&emb=0

Interesting nuggets:

Reggie Roby helped popularize the now-standard two-step approach, and often wore a watch to gauge his hangtime.

In the days after Roby’s death, former Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula praised Reggie Roby: “He was an outstanding punter for us and his booming kicks often helped us win the field position battle.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reggie_Roby

youtube has a Reggie Roby rap, calling for his induction into the hall of fame. Alas, no video of him actually punting the ball.

I’m confused about what you’re arguing, astorian. First you were arguing that Ray Guy didn’t pin his opponents inside the 20 enough. As shown by the Wiki stat, that ain’t so.

Now you seem to have changed tack, looking at a completely different stat, net average. Well, that’s a deceptive stat. Ray Guy was on a lot of good teams. Super Bowl teams. A lot of times, he found himself punting from the vicinity of the 50-yard line because his team had advanced the ball. If he’d been on a lot of crappy teams (like Rich Camarillo) he’d have found himself punting from deep in his team’s own territory more often, and would boast a higher net average.

Or do you doubt his leg strength? If so, take a look at some of the quotes Least Original User Name Ever linked.

Bottom line, Ray Guy was famous because his kicks were spectacular, in a way that other punters’ weren’t. He stood out. People noticed what he was doing because he did it so well, well enough to rise above the anonymity that is the lot of most punters.

And isn’t that what the Hall of Fame is about?

If “Fame” is what it’s about, Brian Bosworth is far more famous than Harry Carson or Jack Lambert.

While granting that astorian moved the goalposts, he is correct: Ray Guy ranks **#86 **in career inside the 20%. By your argument, Guy’s better teams should have helped him in this regard.

Of course, punting stats in general have improved over time, so let’s compare Guy to a nearly exact contemporary:

GP PT YDS LNG BLK TB I20 NET AVG
207 1049 44493 74 3 128 210 0.0 42.4
205 1154 47567 73 9 113 232 0.0 41.2

One is Ray Guy. The other is Dave Jennings. Which is which?

Some other punters of his era, by I20%:

  1. Danny White 23.61% 1976 - 1988
  2. Dennis Partee 22.74% 1968 - 1975
  3. Chuck Ramsey 22.60% 1977 - 1984
  4. Pat McInally 22.43% 1976 - 1985
  5. Jeff West 22.06% 1975 - 1985
  6. Dave Jennings 20.10% 1974 - 1987
  7. Ray Guy 20.02% 1973 - 1986
  8. Cliff Parsley 19.72% 1977 - 1982

People say the same things about Sebastian Janikowski, and they’re right. But making a big sound when you kick, and occasionally uncorking a monster, does not necessarily translate to consistient performance – or as in Guy’s case – a performance so clearly better than anyone else that he deserves to overcome the inherent limitations of the position and be the only one elected to the HOF.
I DO think Guy was the best punter of his era: but was he that much better than Rohn Stark, the best of the 80s and a guy whose career stats are much better than Guy’s? How about Craig Hentrich, who over his career has put 35% of his punts inside the 20 as opposed to 20% for Ray Guy (with better net and gross averages to boot)? Jeff Feagles, who has put over 500 punts inside the 20 … as opposed to 210 for Guy?
He rose above anonymity because John Madden talks about him a lot, and because lazy sportswriters find it easier to just say “oh, yeah, best ever” without looking at the facts.

The all-time leaderboards for punters generally splits along two lines: '40’s and '50’s, and 90’s and 00’s; for whatever reasons punters in these time periods, in general, had much better gross averages than those who played in the 60’s-80’s. Sadly, the site I linked to doesn’t seem to have net averages, tho I did find the seasonal records-here the top seasons seem more spread out across eras. Guy’s best seasons are tied for 286th, and his bottom ten finish on touchback % isn’t very hot either, so even accounting for biases from the various time periods he really doesn’t seem to have a case.

My memory of Guy (who played for my favorite team at the time, so I was always watching what he did) is that he was good at holding the other team to small/no returns and pinning the other team inside their 20, and had a very quick motion such that he very rarely got his punts blocked. But I am admittedly biased, and his low showing on the net list above surprised me actually. He is certainly a better choice than Rohn “Line Drive” Stark who only got the gross averages he did by…well read the nick I gave him. All that said tho I think punters, even less than baseball closers, probably don’t belong unless the evidence is overwhelming (Shane Lechler anyone?). Jan Stenerud is the only pure placekicker in there (tho Morten Andersen will likely get some consideration when eligible).

Spoke does raise a good argument, in that the Raiders were offensive powerhouses, often with a weak kicker with no 50+ yard range (Blanda or the crap guys who followed him)-I recall on several occasions them punting from the 35 yard line or even closer. That factor would need to examined more closely as right now it’s just speculation.

Lechler might be the best pure punter ever, but unless he plays on some winning teams, quick, he’ll have no shot. Same think will kill Anderson, IMO. Not fair, but there it is.

Vinatieri is a lock, though.

http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.jsp?player_id=124 Yale Lary ,Detroit Lion punter in the hall .