It's finally happened. Ray Guy is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Raiders legend became the first punter to be inducted on Saturday afternoon, following a selection committee meeting on the eve of the Super Bowl. Guy had been a finalist six times before, but this time the senior-selection-comittee nominee was confirmed by a 46-person panel.
"It's gratifying to now see a punter go into the Hall of Fame," Guy said. "But again, whether it was me or somebody else, there needed to be a representative and representation of that position. Because basically, you look at a football team and you have so many players on that team at one time, and that was one position that was never filled (in the Hall of Fame).
The threshold was finally broken due to an abbreviated voting process, an advantage afforded by the senior-selection commitee exemption, which only calls for one vote that exceeds an 80-percent approval rating. an Guy will be the first and, for now, the only punter in the Hall of Fame. Whether his induction opens the floodgates for others remains uncertain, Guy certainly hopes it is the start of a new appreciation for special teams in the Hall of Fame.
"So now, what I think is going to happen is, this is going to give the younger generation — the punters and the place-kickers and the snappers and all that (hope)," Guy said. "I've worked with them for 20 years. It's given them hope now. There is a place for them. For us. And now it's more recognized — I think it should be from now on — that punter is a very important position.
Tim Brown, however, is going to have to wait another year. At least.
The Raiders reciever was left out of the Hall of Fame for the fifth straight year, failing to qualify for final consideration when the selection committee met on Saturday in New York.
Despite superior statistics, Brown remains on the outside looking in. Former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo did not advance to final consideration. 49ers defensive end Charles Haley was not inducted.