One of my friends, a longtime Raiders fan used to be a soccer player. Whenever he grabbed a football (which was often), he used to kick the hell out of it and call it “belting” the ball.
Ray Guy was the champion of belting the ball.
What many people do not know is, Ray Guy was a strong safety, and felt he could have played strong safety at the NFL level. According to John Madden:
In the same practice he gets in there at strong safety. In those days we practiced in pads . There he is at safety. I told him to get the hell out of there. He walks off the field with his head down. After practice he walks up to me and said, ‘When Ron Wolf signed me, he told me I could play safety too.’ I said this guy is too good and I’m not going to have this be an ongoing thing. So I said Ron Wolf lied, and I kept walking. We never discussed it again. That’s what I wanted.
I saw Ray Guy punt in person only once. It was in Washington in a preseason game; the Raiders were playing the Redskins right after the Super Bowl where Los Angeles had battered Washington. Guy would punt and the ball would come off his foot like a shotgun blast.
Here are some of the records Guy set:
In his 13-year career, Guy:
- Played in 207 consecutive games
- Punted 1,049 times for 44,493 yards, averaging 42.4 yards per punt, with a 33.8 net yards average
- Had 210 punts inside the 20-yard line (not counting his first 3 seasons, when the NFL did not keep track of this stat), with just 128 touchbacks
- Led the NFL in punting three times
- Had a streak of 619 consecutive punts before having one blocked
- Has a record of 111 career punts in post season games
- Had five punts of over 60 yards during the 1981 season
Seriously, there was a question of Guy being a Hall of Famer?
We told you Guy had the ability to play strong safety. He was also the Raiders emergency quarterback. In 1984, the Raiders were playing the Bears in a very physical game in Chicago; in fact, this Deadspin post refers to it as the most violent NFL game ever played. Marc Wilson and David Humm had been knocked out of the game and Guy was warming up on the sideline. Guy looked white. I mean, he was white, but he looked monument, alabaster white. Like the blood had been drained out of his body. About Guy refusing to play, that’s total BS. Ray Guy would have played in that game; he just didn’t have any practice to fall back upon. And why get your punter KOed from a game?
Another thing they don’t mention too often: It was a slaughterhouse on both sides of the field. Jim McMahon got knocked out of that game with a lacerated kidney, and ended up spending a couple of weeks in the hospital. He missed the rest of the season. The niners went on to trample the Bears in the NFC Championship Game and won the Super Bowl. If McMahon had been able to go, the Bears might have ended up winning the Super Bowl in back-to-back years.
But now, Ray Guy is getting inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Congratulations, champion belter. You deserve it.