There are plenty of times when punter is easily the most underrated position on the football field. Take Thursday night’s game between the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills, for example. Buffalo rookie punter Shawn Powell tied a franchise record by landing five punts inside Miami’s 20-yard line during the 19-13 victory — one of which went out of bounds at the 1-yard line at a crucial time late in the fourth quarter. Without Powell’s performance, you could easily make the argument that the Bills would have lost.
After seeing a game like the one Powell had on Thursday night, it’s easy to understand how people like former Oakland Raiders punter Ray Guy become infuriated that there are no punters in the Hall of Fame. Here’s what Guy had to say about young punters aspiring to play in the NFL.
“I watch them and in the back of my mind I know you’re wasting your time because we got some stupid people who don’t understand,” Guy told Les Carpenter of Yahoo! Sports earlier this week. “Here’s a kid who’s got a dream of being a punter in the NFL, but you got people here who cut him down before they even get out of the chute. So what are you telling these kids? To forget about it?
“I guess it all stems around people just don’t understand the importance of a punter. They really don’t. Unless you played. You have to be in there. You have to understand every player on that team has a position or play to do. And all they do is drag and fuss about ‘well yeah he can punt and this and that and the other thing,’ but they don’t really respect that and they think it shouldn’t be alongside the other guys in the Hall of Fame.”
Personally, I agree with Guy. No one is saying punters are ever the best player on the field, but I believe the best players to ever play the game at their position deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. That being said, the prospect of making a few hundred thousand a season to play the safest position in football and have the opportunity to do it for 20 years should be enough to keep youngsters interested in punting.
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