It took the Pro Football Hall of Fame Senior Committee to do it, but the doors to Canton have finally opened for a punter. Ray Guy, widely considered among the best punters of all time, received word yesterday that he had been selected, meaning it only took 28 years after he retired for Guy to be recognized for enshrinement in the Hall of Fame.
A seven-time Pro Bowl selection, three-time First-team All Pro, three-time Super Bowl champion, and a member of both the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 1970s and the 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, Guy's exclusion from the Hall of Fame all these years was inexplicable, and it has not been rectified. But, will Guy's induction open the door for other punters?
Could Reggie Roby one day be included on the list of inductees?
Roby spent 16 seasons in the NFL, 10 of them with the Miami Dolphins. He was a three-time Pro Bowl selection, and a two-time First-team All Pro. He appeared in 238 career games from 1983 to 1998, kicking the ball 992 times for 42,951 yards, of 43.3 yards per punt. He only had five punts blocked in his career, with his longest kick coming with the Dolphins in 1987 when he connected on a 77-yard punt. His 45.7 yards per kick average in 1991 led the league, spending 13 of his 16 seasons in the top ten in the league in punting average, eight of those in the top five.
Let's compare Roby and Guy statistically:
|Years||Pro Bowls||1st-Team All Pro||Punts||Yards||Yards/Punt||Long||Blocks|
Both Roby and Guy were known for being able to pin opponents deep in their own territory, with Guy record 209"inside the 20" kicks in the 11 years of his career in which those records were kept, while Roby had 298 in his career (161 officially over the last eight years of his playing time). Both also boomed kicks high into the air, recording incredible hang times. Roby went so far as to wear a watch during games, simply so he could time his punts.
In dome games, on the day before the game, Roby would kick balls straight up, hitting the ceiling high above the field.
If he were ever to have the bronze bust placed in the museum in Canton, Ohio, it would be a posthumous honor for Roby. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2005 at the age of 43. No official cause of death has ever been released.
Should Roby be in the Hall of Fame? In an era when the Dolphins have Brandon Fields, another punter blasting the ball and finding himself near the top of the league in yards-per-punt every season, now nearing 50 yards per kick, could we see the day when Roby is recognized for the greatness that happened every time he kicked the ball high into the air, only to see it perfectly spiral back down to the field and change the field position contest with one single play?