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Former left fielder whose dream of playing for the Atlanta Braves never came to fruition. Instead, worked my way through college and got a degree in journalism, pulling off a rare feat: working in the field of my degree. Began working at The Augusta Chronicle in 1998 and have covered many exceptional events since then (12 Masters Tournaments, the 2001 PGA Championship, 1998 Peach Bowl, 2002, 2010 and 2011 SEC Championships, two of USC Aiken's three golf national championships, Augusta State's 2010 and 2011 NCAA Division I golf national championships and four of Augusta State's Division II Elite Eight appearances (men-2008-2010; women-2004) and 12 Augusta Futurities -- along with myriad high school state championship games). In 2008, had a streak of 100 consecutive days of stories in the paper (from January-April). Honored to win first place in the Georgia Press Association's Sports Writing contest in 2009. I live in Augusta with my beautiful wife and our wonderful triplets.
 
Posted December 31, 2009 01:22 am

Another Hall of Fame Ray Guy Hater

Ray Guy's in Thomson this week holding his annual kicking camp at the high school there. And whenever he's in the area, one thing comes to mind: his annual Pro Football Hall of Fame snub. And with Guy as one of 25 Hall of Fame semifinalists for the 2010 induction, the same arguments arise.

Breaking news: some Hall of Fame voters still don't believe Ray Guy should be enshrined. The same ones who've shut him out the past two decades. 

He is only considered the greatest pure punter ever. Yet, no pure punter ever, make that EVER, has been elected. Instead, guys like Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette would rather have Steelers center Dermontti Dawson, a 7-time Pro Bowler, immortalized. Fine. But there's still room on the ballot for Guy.

There are 44 members on the selection committee (see below). And they disagree with the fans, who believe Guy should be inducted. Check out fanschoice.com to find out who's leading fan voting for the Hall of Fame. Yep, the punter.

The argument for Guy is simple. 1) He revolutionized the punting position and 2) When you ask a number of people who the greatest punter ever is it's one person -- Ray Guy.  (He's a seven-time Pro Bowler and a member of the prestigious National Football League 75th Annivesary All-Time team. 'Nuff said.)

Bouchette, who can be contacted at ebouchette@post-gazette.com,  disagrees. He wrote this in 2008:

Yet a punter, Ray Guy -- not even close to the best in the history of the game -- keeps making it to the final 15. The hall of fame should have a special wing -- make that a closet -- for special teams players. That would be better than having punters such as Guy -- who participated in probably an average of five plays a game -- somehow knocking real players such as Dawson out of spots in the finals. Put Guy in the special category, along with Steve Tasker if you must and a few kickers. They can even put in a long-snapper because, as the supporters of kickers and punters have argued for years, they are part of the game too.

And there's this gem he wrote earlier this month regarding the fan's vote:

A guy who trotted onto the field and swung his leg six or seven times a game and rarely came into contact with anything more than a football is the player the fans think most belongs in the Hall of Fame.

It's a good thing the fan vote does not count. Unlike fan votes for all-star teams, thankfully they will not determine who makes up the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2010.

Last time I checked, it's not called the Pro Football Hall of Fame of Contact or the Pro Football Hall of Fame for Guys who Played 35-60 Snaps a Game. 

But we can stop worrying because thankfully we have 44 open-minded electors who will thoughtfully decide who gets elected in 2010 -- and not just some bunch of electors who cut backroom deals. Or worse, those darn fans who actually pay money to attend games and actually go the Hall of Fame. Who wants those nimrods voting anyway?

Because we have 44 electors we can trust we don't have to argue about stats. If we did so, we'd have to go this route. Let's mention a Hall of Fame QB who completed 50.1 percent of his passes and threw 173 touchdowns, 220 interceptions and had fewer career passing yards than Jake Plummer, Brad Johnson and Chris Chandler. Yet, Joe Namath is in the Hall of Fame. That one Super Bowl win carried him all the way to Canton, Ohio.

Namath helped changed the way the American Football League was viewed after that Super Bowl III victory. Guy helped changed the way people view punting. Two game-changers. Two great ones. One's in the Hall. Here's hoping the open-minded 44 voters decide to elect the other.

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(From profootballhof.com) Here are the 44 selectors:

ArizonaKent Somers, Arizona Republic
AtlantaLen Pasquarelli, ESPN.com
BaltimoreScott Garceau, WMAR-TV
BuffaloMark Gaughan, Buffalo News
CarolinaCharles Chandler, Charlotte Observer
ChicagoDan Pompei, Chicago Tribune*
CincinnatiJoe Reedy, Cincinnati Enquirer
ClevelandTony Grossi, Cleveland Plain Dealer
DallasRick Gosselin, Dallas Morning News*
DenverJeff Legwold, Rocky Mountain News
DetroitTom Kowalski, Booth Newspapers
Green BayCliff Christl, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
HoustonJohn McClain, Houston Chronicle*
IndianapolisMike Chappell, Indianapolis Star
JacksonvilleSam Kouvaris, WJXT-TV
Kansas CityBob Gretz, KCFX Overland Park, KS
MiamiEdwin Pope, Miami Herald*
MinnesotaSid Hartman, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
New EnglandRon Borges, Boston Herald*
New OrleansPete Finney, Times-Picayune
New York (Giants)Vinny DiTrani, Bergen Record
New York (Jets)Gary Myers, New York Daily News
OaklandFrank Cooney, The Sports Xchange
PhiladelphiaPaul Domowitch, Philadelphia Daily News
PittsburghEd Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
St. LouisBernie Miklasz, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
San DiegoNick Canepa, San Diego Union Tribune
San FranciscoNancy Gay, AOL Sports/Fanhouse
SeattleMike Sando, ESPN.com
Tampa BayIra Kaufman, Tampa Tribune
TennesseeDavid Climer, The Tennessean
WashingtonDavid Elfin, Washington Times
PFWAAlex Marvez, FOXSports.com
At LargeHoward Balzer, The Sports Xchange
At LargeJarrett Bell, USA Today
At LargeJohn Clayton, ESPN/ESPN Magazine
At LargeJohn Czarnecki, FOXSports.com*
At LargeDave Goldberg, Associated Press*
At LargePeter King, Sports Illustrated
At LargeIra Miller, The Sports Xchange* 
At LargeLen Shapiro, Miami Herald* 
At LargeVito Stellino, Florida Times Union 
At LargeJim Trotter, Sports Illustrated 
At LargeCharean Williams, Ft. Worth Star Telegram