Did Hang Time Even Matter Before…

The Oakland Raiders are probably the least represented franchise in the Hall of Fame. Why? Well, Al Davis, of course. Al had so many run-ins with the league that they have pretty much ignored anything the Oakland/L.A./back-to-Oakland Raiders have done.

But, yes, there are nineteen members of the black and silver who ARE in the hall of fame, according to the Raiders’ own website. And one of them is that same Al Davis – but for some unknown reason the Raiders’ site lists his tenure with the team as “1963-present”… Hey, didn’t anyone tell them that ol’ Al died last year?

The nineteen are:
name position tenure (inducted)
Jim Otto C 1960-1974 (1980)
George Blanda QB/K 1967-1975 (1981)
Willie Brown CB 1967-1978 (1984)
Gene Upshaw G 1967-1982 (1987)
Fred Biletnikoff WR 1965-1978 (1988)
Art Shell T 1968-1982 (1989)
Ted Hendricks LB 1975-1983 (1990)
Al Davis Owner 1963-present (1992)
Mike Haynes CB 1983-1989 (1997)
Eric Dickerson RB 1992 (1999)
Howie Long DE 1981-1993 (2000)
Ronnie Lott S 1991-1992 (2000)
Dave Casper TE 1974-1980,84 (2002)
Marcus Allen RB 1982-1992 (2003)
James Lofton WR 1987-1988 (2003)
Bob Brown OT 1971-1973 (2004)
John Madden Hd.Coach 1969-1978 (2006)
Rod Woodson S 2002-2003 (2009)
Jerry Rice WR 2001-2004 (2010)

But I am sure you will notice a lot of the names on that list did not have their most “hall of fame-worthy” years with the Raiders, they got their kudos in a different uniform.

Jim Plunkett is the only quarterback, I believe, to have won two super bowls who is NOT in the Hall of Fame, and he is never mentioned anymore. What a shame! That guy was simply incredible.

And now there is an article about Ray Guy, their famous punter. See http://sports.yahoo.com/news/nfl–legendary-punter-ray-guy-frustrated–but-resigned-that-he-s-not-in-hall-of-fame.html

Those are not the only Raiders to be left out in the cold. Wide receiver Cliff Branch, quarterback Ken Stabler, center Dave Dalby, cornerback Lester Hayes, and safety Jack Tatum are just a few of the players who should have been inducted years ago.

But the reason these guys give for not inducting Ray Guy is that punters are not that important in the game. And with most the punters I’ve seen, I could heartily agree. But Ray Guy was different.

Dallas had, at that time, a punter who was also the backup quarterback, Danny White. The games with him punting were always exciting because you were never sure if he was going to kick the ball or pass it.

Guy was different, kicking was his thing, and he did it so well, the telecasters began timing his kicks. Never before had the concept of “hang-time” meant anything because no one else could kick the ball that high with any sort of control. And he was probably the best there ever was in pinning the opposing team backed up against their own end zone because his aim for the corner was pretty darned good.

So, yeah, punting is not that important to the game most of the time but when a team really needed a punter, they looked for the ones that were most like Ray Guy.

He became the template to measure punters by. And if that alone is not enough to get him in the Hall of Fame, I don’t know what is.

I, for one, was never convinced that Troy Aiken should have been there either. His numbers were not that impressive and – more importantly – his team could win the really tough games without him. They did it without Michael Irvin too. But without Emmitt, they didn’t stand a chance. But it was the strength of their Super Wins that got them in the Hall. So why not some of these Raiders? It is time to stop the discrimination.

And if the guys on the voting for the inductees do not know football well enough to know how important Guy was, what the hell are their credentials for having a vote, anyway? Just because they have a fat behind to sit on doesn’t quite seem like qualification enough… even if it is located on top of their shoulders.

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