HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Ray Guy, considered by many as the “greatest punter of all time,” took the final step of his football journey Saturday by being elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The former Southern Miss football standout and Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders punter, earned election by receiving the minimum required 80 percent of the vote by the 46-member Selection Committee. Guy, along with former Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Claude Humphrey, made up the two senior candidates voted on for induction along with the 15 other modern-day finalists.
Before leaving for New York and the Super Bowl earlier this week, Guy said, “this recognition is for the Raider fans, my supporters and family that have been behind me and who have helped to get me to this point today.”
Guy, whose majestic punts helped coin the phrase “hang time,” played for the Raiders from 1973-1986 and was the first punter to ever be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft with the 23rd pick overall.
The six-time All-Pro selection and seven-time Pro Bowl selection played in all 207 games during his 14-year NFL career and appeared in three Super Bowls (XI, XV, XVIII) marking the most victories by a punter in NFL history.
He is tied for the fifth longest service with the Raiders, along with Fred Biletnikoff (1965-78), Cliff Branch (1972-85) and Dave Dalby (1972-85), while he also is fifth for games played with Art Shell (1968-78). Guy holds the Raiders record for most career punts (1,049), and led the NFL three times in gross punt average. In addition, he had 210 punts inside the 20-yard line (not counting his first three seasons, when the NFL did not keep track of this stat), with just 128 touchbacks. He closed out his career with a streak of 619 consecutive punts without a block.
The Thomson, Ga., native is a member of the Bay Area, College Football, Southern Miss M-Club, Mississippi, Georgia and National High School Sports Hall of Fames.
His NFL honors include being named to the 75th Anniversary NFL All-Time Team at punter, as well as the 1970s All Decade Team, the All-Time NFL Team chosen by the Hall of Fame Committee in 2000 and the AFL-NFL 1960-1984 All-Star Team.
The Augusta (Ga.) Sports Council named an award in his honor to reward the top punter in collegiate football each year.
While at Southern Miss, Guy was a standout defensive back in addition to his role at punter. He proved to be one of the most versatile players in school history. A letterwinner from 1970-72 for the Golden Eagles, Guy still holds the single-season school record for most interceptions with eight in 1972, along with Billy Devrow (1965) and Bubba Phillips (1949). His career records include holding the longest punting average in school history of 44.7 yards, while still holding down second in career interceptions with 18. In addition, Guy was a standout baseball player for the school.
Currently, Guy works at his alma mater as the Director of the M-Club and Community Relations. His work with the M-Club includes maintaining a relationship with the school’s former athletic letterwinners.
Guy, along with Humphrey, Derrick Brooks, Andre Reed, Walter Jones, Aeneas Williams and Michael Strahan, will be enshrined at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Sat., Aug. 2, in Canton, Ohio.