Ray Guy
refer to caption
Guy playing for the Los Angeles Raiders in 1985
No. 8
Personal information
Born:(1949-12-22)December 22, 1949
Swainsboro, Georgia, U.S.
Died:November 3, 2022(2022-11-03) (aged 72)
Hattiesburg, Mississippi, U.S.
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:195 lb (88 kg)
Career information
High school:Thomson (Thomson, Georgia)
College:Southern Miss (1969–1972)
NFL Draft:1973 / Round: 1 / Pick: 23
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Punting yards:44,493
Average punt:42.4
Longest punt:74
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

William Ray Guy (December 22, 1949 – November 3, 2022) was an American professional football player who was a punter for the Oakland / Los Angeles Raiders of the National Football League (NFL).[1] Guy was a first-team All-American selection in 1972 as a senior for the Southern Miss Golden Eagles, and was the first pure punter ever to be drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft, when the Oakland Raiders selected him with the 23rd overall pick in 1973.[2] He won three Super Bowls with the Raiders. Guy was elected to both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014. An eight-time All-Pro, Guy is widely considered to be the greatest punter of all time.[3]

With his induction to the Hall of Fame on August 2, 2014, he became the first pure punter to be so honored.[4]

Early life

Guy attended Thomson High School in Thomson, Georgia, where he was a four-sport star. Playing quarterback, safety, linebacker, and tailback, aside from kicking and punting duties, Guy led Thomson to the Georgia Class A state football championships in 1967 and 1968. Guy averaged 49.7 yards per punt in 1968. Playing basketball, Guy scored 39 points in a Thomson basketball game the day after the 1968 state championship football game, with no practice. In baseball, Guy pitched a 15-inning scoreless game for Thomson in the state playoff semifinals in 1969. He was also a member of the track team.[5][6]

College career

Guy was both a punter and a placekicker at the University of Southern Mississippi, once kicking a then-NCAA record 61-yard field goal in a snowstorm during a game in Utah.[7] In 1972, he kicked a 93-yard punt in a game against the University of Mississippi.[8] He led the nation with an average of 46.2 yards per punt, earning him first-team All-American honors from the Football Writers Association of America.[6][9] After his senior season, Guy was named most valuable player of the 1972 Chicago College All-Star Game, in which an all-star team of college seniors played the current Super Bowl champion.[10] His career average of 44.7 yards per punt is still a school record.[11][7] He was also a starting safety at Southern Miss; during his senior season, he set a single-season school record with eight interceptions and was named an All-American defensive back by the Walter Camp Football Foundation.[8][10][12]

Guy continued playing baseball at Southern Miss, striking out 266 in 200 innings and pitching a no-hitter.[13]

Professional career

Guy was the first punter ever to be selected in the first round in the NFL Draft, when the Oakland Raiders selected him with the 23rd overall pick of the 1973 draft.[14]

In his career as a punter, Guy played his entire career with the Raiders and was selected to seven Pro Bowl teams, including six in a row from 1973 to 1978.[15] He was named as the punter on the NFL's 75th and 100th anniversary teams.[16] His trademark was kicking punts that stayed in the air for long periods of time.[17] Pro Football Hall of Fame historian Joe Horrigan once said of Guy, "He's the first punter you could look at and say: 'He won games.'"[18]

In Super Bowl XVIII, Guy punted seven times for 299 yards (42.7 average), with 244 net yards (34.8 average). Five of his punts pinned the Washington Redskins inside their own 20. Due in part to his effective punting, the Los Angeles Raiders easily won the game, 38–9.[19]

After a 1977 game against Houston, Oilers coach Bum Phillips accused Guy of using footballs illegally inflated with helium. Houston returner Billy Johnson stated that he had "never seen anyone hang kickoffs like Guy did", and that the ball was "hanging up there too long". Additionally, the Raiders had used a new ball for every punt, adding to the Oilers' suspicions. Phillips said after the game that he would send the ball to Rice University for testing.[20] Guy punted three times for 107 yards in the game,[21] slightly less than his career average.

During his career, Guy was also the Raiders' emergency quarterback.[22][23] He also handled kickoffs in the first five years of his career.[23][24]

In his 14-year career, Guy:

Hall of Fame

Guy was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the class of 2014 on August 2, 2014.[29][30] For many years before his induction, he was considered one of the most worthy players who had not yet been selected for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.[31] He was the first punter enshrined in the Hall of Fame, and as of 2022, is still the only player at his position in the Hall. In his enshrinement speech, he proudly proclaimed, "Now the Hall of Fame has a complete team."[32]

Guy was inducted into both the Mississippi[33] and Georgia[34] Sports Halls of Fame, the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame,[35] the National High School Sports Hall of Fame,[36] and the College Football Hall of Fame.[37]

NFL career statistics

Won the Super Bowl
Led the league
Bold Career high
Regular season
Year Team GP Punting
Punts Yards Avg Lng Blk
1973 OAK 14 69 3,127 45.3 72 0
1974 OAK 14 74 3,124 42.2 66 0
1975 OAK 14 68 2,979 43.8 64 0
1976 OAK 14 67 2,785 41.6 66 0
1977 OAK 14 59 2,552 43.3 74 0
1978 OAK 16 81 3,462 42.7 69 2
1979 OAK 16 69 2,939 42.6 71 1
1980 OAK 16 71 3,099 43.6 77 0
1981 OAK 16 96 4,195 43.7 69 0
1982 LA 9 47 1,839 39.1 57 0
1983 LA 16 78 3,336 42.8 63 0
1984 LA 16 91 3,809 41.9 63 0
1985 LA 16 89 3,627 40.8 68 0
1986 LA 16 90 3,620 40.2 64 0
Career[38] 207 1,049 44,493 42.4 77 3

Ray Guy Award

In 2000, the Greater Augusta Sports Council instituted the Ray Guy Award, to be awarded to the nation's best collegiate punter.[39]

Pro kicking camps

In 2005, Guy helped organize and participated in two-day kicking camps, held throughout the United States, for high school punters, placekickers, and long snappers.[40]

Personal life and death

Guy was married to Beverly Guy. The couple had two children, Ryan and Amber.[41]

In 2011, Guy filed for bankruptcy and auctioned his three Super Bowl rings to help pay his debts.[42] The auction of the rings brought in $96,216, exceeding the upper estimate of $90,000.[43][44]

After a lengthy illness, Guy died on November 3, 2022, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, at age 72.[45][46] The cause was advanced-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.[45]


  1. ^ "Ray Guy, P at". Nfl.com. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
  2. ^ "USM's Ray Guy talks about getting left out of Pro Football Hall of Fame - again (poll) | gulflive.com". Blog.gulflive.com. August 3, 2013. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
  3. ^ [1] Archived August 21, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Derrick Brooks headlines HOF class". ESPN. February 1, 2014.
  5. ^ Holcomb, Todd. "Best player in school history: Region 3-AAAA teams".
  6. ^ a b "Ray Guy (2004) – Hall of Fame". National Football Foundation.
  7. ^ a b Shook, Nick (November 3, 2022). "Ray Guy, Hall of Fame punter with Raiders, dies at age of 72". NFL.com.
  8. ^ a b "Pro Football Hall of Fame punter, USM legend Ray Guy passes away". WLBT.com. November 3, 2022. Retrieved November 4, 2022.
  9. ^ "Huff Gets Spot On Writers 11". Panama City News-Herald. UPI. November 30, 1972. p. 1D. Retrieved November 4, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ a b Nix, JW (May 30, 2009). "Crazy Canton Cuts = Ray Guy". Bleacher Report. Retrieved November 4, 2022.
  11. ^ "rayguy". Southern Miss. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  12. ^ "Camp Honor To Rogers Once Again". The Spokesman-Review. AP. November 29, 1972. p. 20. Retrieved November 4, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  13. ^ "A true game changer — Ray Guy: 1949–2022". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved November 4, 2022.
  14. ^ "Ray Guy, first Pro Football Hall of Fame punter, dies at 72". KIRO-TV. Associated Press. November 3, 2022.
  15. ^ Rickerson, Chris (November 3, 2022). "Thomson native and NFL Hall of Fame punter Ray Guy dies at age 72". The Augusta Press.
  16. ^ Axxson, Scooby (November 3, 2022). "Pro Football Hall of Famer punter, Raiders legend Ray Guy dies at 72". USA Today.
  17. ^ a b Mosher, Marcus (November 3, 2022). "Former Raiders P Ray Guy passes away at age 72". USA Today.
  18. ^ "Why Shane Lechler will have a tougher time reaching Canton than admirers believe". SI.com. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  19. ^ "Super Bowl XVIII". Pro-Football-Reference.com.
  20. ^ "Helium Hangtime Hunch". Eugene Register-Guard. November 14, 1977. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  21. ^ "Houston Oilers at Oakland Raiders – November 13th, 1977". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  22. ^ "Ray Guy – All-Time Roster". Las Vegas Raiders.
  23. ^ a b "ONE-ON-ONE WITH RAY GUY". Pro Football Hall of Fame. July 12, 2014. Retrieved November 4, 2022.
  24. ^ "CSRA native and NFL punting legend Ray Guy dies at 72". WRDW-TV. November 3, 2022.
  25. ^ "Los Angeles Raiders punter Ray Guy, citing an accumulation of injuries in recent years, retired Tuesday after a 14-year NFL career". United Press International. June 2, 1987.
  26. ^ "Ray Guy". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. August 3, 2014. p. C3 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  27. ^ a b "Pro Football Hall of Fame punter Ray Guy dies". WSAZ-TV. November 3, 2022.
  28. ^ Lamarre, Tom (November 3, 2022). "Raiders' Royalty: HOF Punter Ray Guy Dies at 72". Sports Illustrated.
  29. ^ Tafur, Vic (August 1, 2014). "Ray Guy's long wait ends with his Hall of Fame induction". SFGate.com. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
  30. ^ "RayGuy.net". RayGuy.net. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
  31. ^ Joyner, K.C. (January 24, 2009), "A Case for Ray Guy Belonging in Pro Football Hall of Fame", The New York Times, retrieved March 2, 2009
  32. ^ "Ray Guy: "Now the Hall of Fame has a complete team;" Martin Gramatica gets a shoutout". The Kansas City Star. The Associated Press. August 2, 2014. Retrieved November 4, 2022.
  33. ^ "Ray Guy". Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved November 4, 2022.
  34. ^ "Alphabetical list of inductees". Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved November 4, 2022.
  35. ^ "Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame – 2008 Inductees". Bashof.org. Archived from the original on January 23, 2016. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
  36. ^ "Hall of Fame Inductees By State". National Federation of State High School Athletic Associations. Retrieved November 4, 2022.
  37. ^ "Inductees". College Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved November 4, 2022.
  38. ^ "Ray Guy Stats". Pro-Football-Reference.com.
  39. ^ "About". Ray Guy Award. Retrieved November 3, 2022.
  40. ^ Jones, Conner (July 26, 2005). "Youngsters treasure time at Guy's kicking camp". Hattiesburg American. p. 1B – via Newspapers.com. open access
  41. ^ "Ray Guy, widely known as greatest punter of all time, dies at age of 72". the Guardian. November 3, 2022. Retrieved November 3, 2022.
  42. ^ Gloster, Rob (August 10, 2011). "Bankrupt Ex-Raiders Punter Ray Guy Auctions Super Bowl Rings for $96,216". Bloomberg.
  43. ^ Gay, Chris (August 10, 2011). "Ray Guy's Super Bowl rings sell for $96,000-plus | The Augusta Chronicle". Chronicle.augusta.com. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
  44. ^ "Ray Guy's Ring". Natedsanders.com. Retrieved November 4, 2022.
  45. ^ a b Williams, Alex (November 3, 2022). "Ray Guy, First N.F.L. Punter Named to the Hall of Fame, Dies at 72". The New York Times. Retrieved November 4, 2022.
  46. ^ Schwab, Frank (November 3, 2022). "Raiders Hall of Famer Ray Guy, considered the greatest punter ever, dies at age 72". Yahoo. Retrieved November 3, 2022.