Hall of a dilemma


Here is my problem with electing Ray Guy to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

How can you vote to enshrine to send arguably the greatest punter of all-time to Canton, Ohio when Ken Stabler isn’t there?

Or Cliff Branch.

Or Lester Hayes.

Or Jim Plunkett.

See where I’m going with this?

It’s not that punters aren’t football players. They are, or they wouldn’t be in uniform every Sunday. It’s just that the way the voting is set up, it makes it virtually impossible to vote for a punter when position players are backlogged and waiting to get in.

You don’t have to sell me on Guy’s skills as a punter. Back in the early 1970s, my dad got the opportunity to buy two Raiders season tickets when they were tough to get. On Sept. 23, 1973, with the A’s in the postseason, the Raiders played at Cal against the Miami Dolphins, who entered with an 18-game winning streak and were coming off an unbeaten season.

The Raiders won 12-7 on four George Blanda field goals, but what I remember most of all was sitting near the top rim of Memorial Stadium and seeing punts higher than eye level.

I don’t remember what Guy’s stats were that day and it doesn’t much matter. Stats are misleading where Guy is concerned anyway. The Raiders were an elite team, so it’s not as if Guy was always punting from deep in his own territory. That his career average was 42.4 is remarkable considering the quality of teams he played on.

Colleague Bill Soliday, who saw every game Guy ever played, is famous for breaking out the stopwatch and clocking hang time. Guy still has the most hang-time of anyone he has ever clocked _ 5.3 seconds.

I talked to the late Hank Stram once for a story on Guy and while he was complimentary, he made it clear he thought his own punter, Kansas City’s Jerrell Wilson, was equal or superior.

Soliday tells me they were close, but Guy was better. I defer to Bill on all punting issues.

But let’s face it, as good as Guy was, the Raiders weren’t a great team because of their punter. To say he won them two games a year is probably excessive.

Take Guy out of the picture and Stabler goes a few yards more to pull out the game. What Guy did that day against Miami at Cal was light years behind I saw Stabler do the following season in the “Sea of Hands” game against the Dolphins in the playoffs.

(Best choice I ever made. Going into the playoffs, my dad told me I could pick which playoff game to attend, and my sister would get the other one. I took Miami, of course, because the Dolphins were the defending champions and reasoning that if the Raiders lost, I’d go to one game and she wouldn’t get any. As it turned out, I went to one of the best playoff games ever and she watched the Raiders get slammed by the Steelers the following week).

Davis made one of his most brilliant draft picks when he took Guy in the first round of the 1972 draft, because the Raiders were so loaded with talent in those days a punter was just about all they needed.

But if you asked John Madden before most any game, “You can have Stabler or Guy,” or, “Art Shell or Guy,” or “Branch or Guy,” and you know what his answer would have been.

As much as I like Stabler, Davis does more stumping for Jim Plunkett, who won two Super Bowls as opposed to one for Stabler.

The selection process simply makes it impossible to reconcile putting a punter in over either Stabler or Plunkett.

Kicker Jan Stenerud made the Hall of Fame, but it’s going to be difficult for any other specialist to sneak in. What the Hall needs is a separate process for selecting a specialist. Maybe you don’t do it every year, to keep it as exclusive as possible. Or you pick no more than one and make the mandatory percentage so high that in some years there aren’t any.

As painful as it is for Raiders fans, the specialists wing ought to have an endless loop of Adam Vinatieri’s 45-yard field goal field goal in a snowstorm.

They’ve got areas in the Hall of Fame for announcers, and, God forbid, sports writers. And a punter can’t make it?

It isn’t that Guy isn’t worthy. It’s that the system is flawed.

More Hall of Fame snap judgements:

— It’s only going to get tougher for Guy in coming years. Next year alone, Rod Woodson and Bruce Smith are virtually slam-dunk selections, and it’s hard to imagine Cris Carter not getting in.

— If Carter doesn’t make it on the first ballot, I’d be surprised if Tim Brown did when his turn comes up. There’s a feeling out there that Brown was like a high scoring guard on a bad basketball team. Somebody is going to score points, and going for 25 in a one-sided loss doesn’t make you an all-time great.

My own feeling? Brown’s early success as a return specialist will help him and he’ll be in the conversation. But if Branch isn’t in, I have hard time seeing Brown in Canton.

— Don’t even get me started on Lynn Swann, who wasn’t in Branch’s league but made it courtesy of NFL Films and his juggling mid-field Super Bowl catch against Dallas.

But it is exactly that sort of play which Brown doesn’t have on his resume _ a signature moment or game which separated him from everyone else. I’ve heard the argument from a selector or two that he is a package of statistics who never did anything truly extraordinary.

— Woodson was already going to be a Hall of Famer before he ever got to Oakland, but I’ve got no problem with featuring him in the media guide as a Raider in the Hall of Fame because he might have been the second-most important player behind Rich Gannon to the club’s last AFC championship.

Woodson’s 97-yard interception return against Denver on Gannon’s near-perfect Monday night turned the entire season around.

— Leave it to Woodson, to one of the classier guys you’ll ever meet, to add a dose of perspective to the life-and-death NFL Network coverage of the Hall selection. It’s as if those who didn’t make it were scarred forever.

“As a player, you have to take this with a grain of salt,” Woodson said. “There are worse things than not making the Hall of Fame. At the end of the day, if you have your health and your family, that’s all that matters.”

— If former Vikings guard Randall McDaniel is still hanging around with 12 Pro Bowl selections, and Miami’s Bob Kuchenberg is still waiting, don’t look for Steve Wisniewski to get much run when eligible.

As selectors are fond of saying, Wiz would fall into the category of the “Hall of Very Good,” but not necessarily the Hall of Fame.

On a Roll

Brian Roll takes over as the Raiders strength and conditioning coach for Jeff Fish, who accepted a job with the Atlanta Falcons.

His resume looks impressive enough, but can he throw a pass? Fish was threw one of the nicest balls on the team and often worked with defensive backs during training camp drills.

The Chad campaign

Disgruntled wide receiver Chad Johnson, according to Pro Football Talk.com, made a pitch on Jim Rome’s ESPN television show to be dealt to the Raiders.

Heck of a talent, but do the Raiders want to go down this road so soon after Randy Moss?

Johnson is under contract through 2010 and is scheduled to make $3 million this season, $4.5 million in 2008, $6 million through 2009 and $5 million in 2010.

Is it just me, or can’t you just see Johnson looking for bigger money before that deal is up?

Haggling with Davis in public over money is never a good idea.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Here let me ask you guys this would you trade say the #3 overall and Stanford Routt/and or Fabian Washington for #9 overall and Chad Johnson??

  • # Florida Pete Says:
    February 3rd, 2008 at 11:22 am

    uh… i don’t know about making an appeal based on race…


    Why not?

  • Once upon a time in the west


  • After a quick look at stats and awards, I can tell you that celebrated HOFamers Namath and Griese have nothing on Stabler.

    They were before my time so I can´t tell you I watched them but check this:


    Career Stats
    TD-INT 194-222
    Yards 27,938
    QB Rating 75.3

    Career Highlights and Awards
    4x Pro Bowl (1973, 1974, 1976, 1977)
    NFL 1970s All-Decade Team
    AFC Player of the Year 1974, 1976
    1974 NFL MVP
    1976 Bert Bell Award
    Led NFL in Passing Touchdowns in 1974 and 1976
    Super Bowl Champion 1976

    Of particular note regarding his career, Stabler was the quickest to win 100 games as a starting quarterback having done so in 150 games, he broke Unitas mark, later Montana and Brady passed him.


    Career Stats
    TD-INT 173-220
    Yards 27,663
    QB Rating 65.5

    Career Highlights and Awards
    Pro Bowl (x5) (1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1972)
    All-Pro 1966-1969 and 1972
    AFL All-Time Team
    1x Super Bowl champion (III)
    1969 AFL MVP
    1968 AFL MVP
    1969 UPI AFL-AFC Player of the Year
    1968 UPI AFL-AFC Player of the Year
    1974 NFL Comeback Player of the Year

    Bob Griese:

    Career Stats
    TD-INT 192-172
    Yards 25,092
    QB Rating 77.1

    Career Highlights and Awards
    6x Pro Bowl Selection (1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1978)
    2x AFL All Star (1967, 1968)
    Miami Dolphins #12 Retired
    1977 Bert Bell Award
    2 time Super Bowl Champion

    Griese was known for passing little in some games, leaving the game up to Miami’s running game. In Super Bowl VII, Griese passed the ball only 11 times, completing 8. In Super Bowl VIII, Griese completed six of his seven passes.

    COME ON!.

  • Sorry for the long post, but I had never before compared those numbers, I´m shocked and pissed now.

  • Huff24

    Florida Pete – I wouldn’t be surprised. Especially when you consider all the talking the Giants have done. They obviously didn’t pay attention to the 1st game they played in week 17. If the Pats are known for learning from video tapes which SpyGate would indicate then the Patriots have a full game of week 17 to break down and 2 weeks to do it. The Giants are in trouble.

  • Sorry to get back to the draft and trades but, remember there goes either Dorsey, McFadden, Chris Long or Sedrick Ellis AND either Routt or Washington. Losing your nickel corner wouldn’t be the end of the world but losing Routt who actually played well??? I don’t think I would do that. Seriously. And I like #85.

  • Once upon a time in the west

    Puppy Bowl on animal planet,Man that blk/white dog reminds me of Matt Millen,that guy was a true raider.

  • Remember Huff, the Giants have two weeks as well. You guys this whole game boils down to the Giants D line against the Patriots O line. That’s the entire game right there,and as I’ve said a ton of times on this site, you can’t rush Brady from the outside, watch how quickly the ball leaves his hands. You gotta rush that turd up the gut to be successful. Which means either Dorsey or Ellis to me.

  • Just sell Baby……..

    So many Great Players came and went when the Raiders Greatness played like Raiders. I have asked one of them, why he was not called upon to help the Now Faiders? This old Retired Raider Pro Bowler told me, “he and a few others did received call”s if he and others would coach at some level of the now Faiders”!! He went on to say, Al Bundy Davis is like our Military Leaders in Iraq = complete chaos ! So I took that as a “NO”. He then went to say “Raider Fans in his day payed for entertaining win’s, now there’s no entertainment to be found”.

    Just sell Baby, and so it is !

  • Florida Pete

    MaddenRaider Says:
    February 3rd, 2008 at 11:55 am
    # Florida Pete Says:
    February 3rd, 2008 at 11:22 am

    uh… i don’t know about making an appeal based on race…


    Why not?


    because it demeans the truth of the accomplishment… and that is that Flores won 2 super bowls as the head coach of the raiders…

    flores doesn’t need the advantage/disadvantage of being a minority…

    i won’t get into the whole EOE thing…

  • M

    I would not give the pick of a D-lineman. Having Russell and Johnson sitting on the sideline exchanging pleasantries while the D can’t get off the field because the D-line is not good enough, well, that scenario sounds quite poor ro me.

  • All Stabler had to do was predict his Super Bowl 11 victory, and he’d be in. Perhaps he can make up some ground by showing up drunk on sidelines of prime time games, and hitting on female reporters.

  • Florida Pete,

    What is the “eoe thing”?

    And what’s wrong with pointing out race, if it’s true?

  • And Pete, how would pointing out ethnicity demean any accomplishment? It never did, in my eyes. I don’t see Plunkett as some sort of irresponsible welfare queen because he’s recognized by many as the first minority quarterback and the only Chicano quarterback to win a Super Bowl. Do you? If so, why?

  • Once upon a time in the west

    You would get Aqib Talib the #1corner on the board,or Vernon Golston the #2 DE on the board,OR Leodis McKelvin the #2 corner on the board .All playmakers like CJ.WE HAVE TO SHAKE UP THINGS WHAT WE HAVE IS NOT WORKING.

  • Florida Pete

    eoe – equal opportunity employer or something extremely similar…

    it’s a generic term for “color blind”…

    i do think it is demeaning to the accomplishment if Flores is perceived to be given a pass into the HOF because he’s “brown”…

    really, he should get in because of his accomplishment as an NFL coach…

    not because he was the best “mexican-american” NFL coach…

  • Coach Ko

    Giants 37
    Patriots 34, OT

    This will be the first OT game in Superbowl history!!

  • Florida Pete

    mr west…

    were you shouting into oakglenn’s left ear???

    or right???

  • M

    O-line, D-line, O-line, D-line… the rest takes off from there.

  • Once upon a time in the west

    Sorry Guys I am just passionate about our team.

  • So West what you’re saying is basically we replace the corner, possibly upgrade there and then the trade is basically a Potential Stud D linemen for a very Good WR. I wouldn’t do that. Good WR’s are the easiest position on the field to stock. Good QB’s and stud DL’s are REALLY TOUGH. See Raiders years 2003- present.

  • West you got great points, don’t worry, you do a good job.

  • Equal opportunity employer. Got that. Sorry, Pete, I’m slow with all the political chat room codes.

    Why do you quote “color blind”? It has a hint of mockery…

    I don’t think it’s demeaning at all to Flores’ accomplishments if he’s recognized as the first minority and first Mexican American head coach to win a Super Bowl, nor would it be demeaning if the Raiders played on that, for both him and Plunkett, to pressure the HOF voters. It’s not to ask them, “vote him in because he’s Mexican”. It’s instead to ask them, “are they not in because they’re Mexican”? It’s a fair question to ask, even if the answer is no.

    You quote “brown” too. I can just visualize you doing the sarcastic finger quotations, a la David Spade. Why so?

    And, the point I’m making is that Plunkett and Flores should already be in because of their accomplishments. The question to ask is, why aren’t they? And, why shouldn’t the Raiders at least ask the question if race is involved?

  • Once upon a time in the west

    Yes We know what CJ is.Potential is a dangerous word the draft is full of potential that couldnt play. Also history says it takes 3yrs for a drafted wide reciever to grasp the speed of the NFL.I agree that stud D-Lineman are hard to come by.IE your previous posts about the Patriots and Giant D-line and their draft pos.
    The 3 players from post 166 are a crapshoot like any other draft pick.CJ is a proven player.

  • Florida Pete

    i think the only race involved in their not being selected is because they are both silver and black…

    and honestly… think about this…

    plunkett’s career was not so great until he did get to the raiders… it was not so much offense that won those two super bowls as it was an amazing defense…

    flores did not enjoy nearly as much success in seattle as he did with the raiders… he ended his coaching career with a 97-87 record… in context of his entire career and career record… he may not be a HOF head coach…

    Jimmy Johnson also is not in the HOF, and neither is George Seifert…

  • Great points, Pete. But I still see no harm whatsoever in the Oakland Raiders asking the race question regarding Plunkett at the very least, if not Flores as well. This country has come a long way ridding itself of racism. But merely not discussing the racism that still exists is not going to make it go away. The elephant in the room theory would apply to this just so much as it would apply to some drunk guy in a room harassing all the women, which reminds me, if Joe Namath is in, Plunkett should be in, too.

  • You guys enjoy the game. I’m off to my father’s pad. He’s got a bigger tv, and more food.

    And, go Giants! Take down the evil empire.! Eli, the future of democracy rests on your soldiers…

  • West, there’s a real philosophy about that. Brian Sabean the GM of the SF Giants baseball team, (whom I hate) feels that way. He’d rather trade 5 prospects for one REAL major leaguer. And he’s done well with that philosophy until recently. So, it is out there and guys have won that way.
    Trading the #3 overall and Fabian for the #9 and CJ, I would strongly consider doing. Fabian regressed in front of all of our eyes and I don’t know why. In training camp, he made Nnamdi look like ME out there. He was that good. And then he regressed. Routt actually played REALLY WELL, again all things considered. So Routt I would not throw in on this deal. I am sure the coaching staff would never consider giving up on either of those players, at least not just yet.

  • Florida Pete

    Namath has to be the worst QB in the HOF…

    winning percentage was like .400 in his career…

    50 % passer…

    he’s in more because of notoriety than anything else…

    kinda like voting for someone because you vaguely remember the name…

    Namath was not special… i still remember him crying on national tv about being told to ditch his participation in the “3 Bachelors” night club…

    he was more lucky than good… and he wasn’t that lucky…

  • Huff24

    Martin Luther King Jr. used the race card and he changed the world. Why can’t Tom Flores play the same cards?

  • Once upon a time in the west

    That is the great thing about this blog it lets a few armchair GMs like you me Fl Pete.MR,Marley,Huff24And the rest of us talk Raider football. BTW where are you South Texas and our across the pond GM Scottish.
    By the way I am A NY Yankee fan.

    We know why Fabian regressed just ask Soul Patrol 2 on second thought please dont.

  • lefty 12

    what’s funny is Plunkett is the guy AD pushes for the HOF,yet AD wanted Pasterini over Plunkett before Pasterini broke his leg.at the time the fans wanted Plunk and the only reason he got his chance was Past. got hurt.that being said-the HOF is a total joke until the original Lefty12-Ken Stabler-is inducted.

  • lefty 12

    More rantings about Stabler.If he would have played in the west coast off. used today,his numbers would have been of historic proportions.He was Mr. accurate before that was the main concern.Stabler playing for Bill Walsh would have been a thing of beauty.

  • lefty 12

    BTW Jerry-great article.I was also at the “Sea of Hands” game.it happened right below me.I almost jumped off the 3rd deck(not really).that is without a doubt one of the greatest games in NFL history,not just play-off history-NFL history.I went to school with Manny Fernandez and will never forget the cheap shot dive he took at CD in the endzone.and i used to love rubbing that game into his brother and him. what great memories!

  • lefty 12

    since I’m the only one here i’ll continue.To those of you who compare Lechter to Guy-PLEASE.I never saw Guy shank a punt on the opponents side of the field.Too many times I’ve seen Lechter get off a below avg. punt when backed up inside the opp. 25.that’s why Guy was special.when he was backed up he’d boom one-just as high as far.for those who never saw him,you really missed something!And Pete,Guys forte was hang time way before he learned to hit the corners,that came later.He was just a great athlete.

  • explain it to me

    No Lefty 12 Al Davis prefeered Pastorini to Stabler not Plunket…. he traded Stabler to Houston for Pastorini. Plunket was all but washed up and Davis picked him up to give him another try.

    Don’t rewrite history …it’s interesting enough the way it really happened.

  • explain it to me

    Lefty 12 if you want to see Guy shank a punt deep in the opposing teams territory ….go back and rewatch the Raider ….Bears game in 84….the sent everybody.

  • Florida Pete

    lefty??? explain???

    keep talkin’…

    i’m listenin’…

  • Johnny Crock

    If you are allowed to cheat, you must repeat.

  • lefty 12

    Explain-Al traded Stabler for Past. -correct.he also signed plunkett to BACKUP pasterini.Al loved Pasterinis arm but didn’t take into account his lack of brain.Plunkett sat on the bench until Pasterini broke his leg-and the fans cheered when it happened.no rewriting,those are the facts.sorry,he may have have shanked 1 during his career.he also didn’t have alot of touchbacks either.Explain-what you say is true,plunk. was cut by the whiners and Al picked him up to BACKUP pasterini,liked he picked up V Evans years ago-to be a veteran backup.

  • Florida Pete

    i’m trying to teach my 3 year old that cheating is not nice… that it is not good…

    and that “cheaters never prosper” (remember that from your childhood?)…

    but as i get even older… i realize that cheaters do prosper… even when they are caught…

    somebody please prove me wrong…


  • Dan

    F the patsies. They deserve to lose for so many reasons. I’m wearing a Bledsoe jersey right now to jinx them.

  • lefty 12

    I wonder if belicheat really thinks he’s cheating or that he’s just smarter than everyone else.I’ve heard brady alot this week and he seems to think he’s better and smarter than everyone else.at least thats how he comes across to me.

  • Dan

    How do a re-tread bad coach from cleveland and a backup qb who held Griese/Henson’s jock become good? Cheating and one of the worst calls in NFL history (tuck). That’s it. F the patsies.

  • lefty 12

    well time to watch the game.don’t like NY teams-hate the Pats but is is the last real game of the year.just hope it’s an entertaining game.

  • Florida Pete

    right now… (and i am not a Brady fan)…

    he probably is the best in the business…

    and he has the results to prove it…

  • Florida Pete

    oh, and yes his first ring should have been ours…

    which would have led to Gruden staying with an extended contract, a subsequent victory over whoever would have been next…

    the raiders at that time were really that good…

  • Dan

    Florida Pete – Brady is the best in the business????

    He throws 3 picks in AFC championship and you lay that on him? Give us a break. The guy is a product of the system. Where would he be if Vinatieri, Belicheat and the D didn’t save him?

  • Florida Pete

    Hall of Fame???