NFL to enshrine USM great this week
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 1:00 PM
Another Mississippi football great will join the annals of history this weekend, when Southern Miss' Ray Guy becomes the first punter to enter the NFL's Hall of Fame.
Guy was the first punter drafted in the first round when Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis selected him with the 23rd overall pick in the 1973 draft.
He earned Pro Bowl selections in seven of his first eight seasons in the league, played on just one team with a losing record in 14 seasons, and has more Super Bowl rings (three) than any other punter in history.
In Super Bowl XVIII, he punted seven times for 299 yards (a 42.7-yard average), and planted five of the seven inside the Washington Redskins' 20-yard line, helping Oakland to a 38-9 route of their NFC opponents.
"He changed the way that we played when I was an assistant when he first got there and then later as a head coach," Raiders' Super Bowl-winning coach Tom Flores told reporters last week. "You had a different game plan sometimes because you always depended on him and knew that he would put you in positions where you could win the game, especially later in the game and win the field position battle, which is a big part of winning and losing."
Jim Plunkett, the MVP of Guy's first Super Bowl in 1981, credited him with many of the team's victories.
"What stands out more than anything else is when you needed a big punt, Ray was your guy and he delivered," Plunkett said. "Whether it was a booming long punt with great hand-time or a pooch punt.
"He was alpa bout helping our team win a football game."
Guy will be the first player from Southern Miss to be inducted into the NFL's Hall of Fame, but he likely won't be the last (Brett Favre will be eligible for inclusion in the class of 2016).
A television documentary the standout punter, produced by NFL Films and set to air on the NFL Network, will debut this Thursday at 8 p.m.
Entitled Ray Guy: The Specialist, the hour-long documentary highlights the life of Guy and his road to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It is part of the Road to Canton series that will be aired on the NFL Network.
The show will also re-air at 11 p.m. as well as Friday at 11 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. on the NFL Network.
The enshrinement ceremony is set for Saturday at 7 p.m. in Canton, Ohio. Other inductees include Derrick Brooks, Claude Humphrey, Walter Jones, Andre Reed, Michael Strahan and Aeneas Williams.