The Hall of Fame committee will be meeting Saturday to decide who gets in and who does not. Among those who have waited a very long time to get the call is Ray Guy. He remains the only player to be considered the greatest at his position to not be in those hallowed halls.
Ray Guy has his best shot of finally getting in the Hall of Fame this year and it took being elected by the Senior committee to give him his first real shot. He's been eligible since 1991 and been a finalist seven times but never got in. His last time as a finalist was six years ago.
Senior committee nominees almost always get in, but "almost" is a scary word for someone like Guy. He "almost" got in seven other times only to be left sitting by the phone; stood up by voters who consider punter to not be a position worthy of the Hall of Fame.
"From what I've gathered and what I've heard, it's a bit more relaxed for me this time," Guy told Scott Bair of CSN Bay Area. "But you still have a chance of not getting in. It may be easier, but this never gets easy to go through."
It has now been 23 years and Guy's name has been passed to the Senior committee who don't seem to share the same stubborn attitude toward the punter position as the modern era voters do. They have nominated Guy and defensive end Claude Humphrey to join the 2014 class.
The term "hang time" was invented because of Guy and each year that passes that he gets passed up for the Hall of Fame, it seems appropriate to remind these voters who don't think he is worthy. He was the first ever pure punter. Before him punting was not taken seriously enough for teams to have one guy to perform the function. After him, punter became a pure position. He changed the game. That's what it means to be a Hall of Famer.
In the 42-years since the Senior Committee has nominated members for the Hall of Fame, 38 of the 49 nominees have been enshrined. That means Guy is almost assured to get the call this year. It would be kind of nice to finally stop speaking of him and his exclusion with exasperation and start using his stats as his credentials as to the obvious reasons why he is a Hall of Famer. Guy has grown tired of it as well.
"I really want to put it to rest," Guy said. "I want it for my family, but also for the fans I meet across the country who have always assumed I was already in the Hall of Fame. It's no fun to explain the process of this whole thing over and over again. If I get in, it's for them. It's for the Raiders and my school. It's for those who have always stood behind me.."
Ray Guy made history long ago. He was the first and only punter ever chosen in the first round of the draft, the first pure punter, and now - though 23 years late - he stands on the precipice of making history one more time as the first pure punter ever enshrined in the Hall of Fame.