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The W - Football - 2009 NFL Hall of Fame Class (Page 3)
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supersalvadoran
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Since: 10.1.08
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#41 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.77
Among all of this back and forth about Ray Guy, I'm frankly shocked that you guys haven't pay any attention to two things:

A.) That Shannon Sharpe wasn't elected. Say what you will about his mouth (and I'll agree: he annoyed the crap out of me whenever he did an interview) but he did back it up. 8-time Pro Bowler, 3-time Super Bowl champion, and holder of several career records for tight ends (or was until Tony Gonzalez broke them this year, I believe). If he isn't the best player ever at his position, he has to at least be considered among the top 3-5, IMO.

B.) The whole controversy about Bob Hayes 'sister'. I'm surprised how little media attention this has gotten. Maybe the NFL doesn't want to make a big deal about her faking his 'acceptance' letter because it seemed to be a genuine and emotional moment to watch. Other than wanting to be in the media limelight, I don't understand why someone would want to pull a stunt like this.


(edited by supersalvadoran on 9.2.09 0135)


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Since: 17.1.02
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#42 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.00
    Originally posted by Downtown Bookie
      Originally posted by K.C. Joyner from link two
      Next up are the net punting charts for 1976-1986 for Guy and all punters who had at least five seasons of direct competition with him during that time frame (with partial seasons being counted as a season played).

      Rank Punter Total Punts Yds Ret + TB yds Net Avg.
      1 Rohn Stark 391 17567 3482 36.0
      2 Maury Buford 291 12124 1817 35.4
      3 Tom Skladany 297 12425 1943 35.3
      4 Ray Guy 76-86 841 35263 5814 35.0

      Now here is the chart comparing punts inside the 20 for that same 1976-1986 group:

      Rank Punter Total Punts In 20 In 20%
      1 Craig Colquitt 429 112 26.1%
      2 Max Runager 546 138 25.3%
      3 Ray Guy 76-86 841 210 25.0%

      Last but certainly not least is the percentage of punts returned chart for the 1976-1986 group:

      Rank Punter Total Punts # of Returns Return %
      1 Greg Cater 340 144 42.4%
      2 Maury Buford 291 131 45.0%
      3 Ray Guy 76-86 841 380 45.2%

    Fourth, third, and third. Among contemporaries. In stats specifically selected by an author attempting to prove his dominance. So if this is the statistical argument that is supposed to prove that Ray Guy is "the best punter ever", color me unconvinced.

    (edited by Downtown Bookie on 8.2.09 0038)


You are missing a key number in those stats, look at the total # of punts, Guy's 11 year career is being compared to 5 year numbers of some of these guys. Its an unfair comparison for Guy, and he still ranks in the top 3-4.
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Since: 7.4.02
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#43 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.25
    Originally posted by brick
    You are missing a key number in those stats, look at the total # of punts, Guy's 11 year career is being compared to 5 year numbers of some of these guys. Its an unfair comparison for Guy, and he still ranks in the top 3-4.
Why would the author, K.C. Joyner, select these stats and those qualifiers (remember, these were his parameters, no one else's) if they were unfair to Guy? Especially if the whole point of the articles was to "debunk the myth" that Ray Guy's stats aren't HOF worthy? I submit that the reason is because, even when handpicking the criteria, a statistical case cannot be made that Ray Guy is "the best punter ever".

(edited by Downtown Bookie on 9.2.09 1159)


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#44 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.86
    Originally posted by Downtown Bookie
      Originally posted by brick
      You are missing a key number in those stats, look at the total # of punts, Guy's 11 year career is being compared to 5 year numbers of some of these guys. Its an unfair comparison for Guy, and he still ranks in the top 3-4.
    Why would the author, K.C. Joyner, select these stats and those qualifiers (remember, these were his parameters, no one else's) if they were unfair to Guy? Especially if the whole point of the articles was to "debunk the myth" that Ray Guy's stats aren't HOF worthy? I submit that the reason is because, even when handpicking the criteria, a statistical case cannot be made that Ray Guy is "the best punter ever".
Did you read what brick wrote? Because it sounds like you didn't, and that you're just repeating yourself.



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Since: 7.4.02
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#45 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.26
    Originally posted by CRZ
    Did you read what brick wrote? Because it sounds like you didn't, and that you're just repeating yourself.
I thought I had read and comprehended brick's post well; but since you've raised the possibility (indeed, suggesting that it is a probability) that I did not, allow me to summarize here what I understood his post to mean.

In post #12 in this thread, brick stated:
    Originally posted by brick
    "The problem with the Ray Guy's stats aren't that good argument, is that it is wrong.

    KC Joyner does a good job debunking that myth."

The point being made (and, please, correct me if I am wrong) is that using the stats normally used to rank punters show Ray Guy in a poor light which he does not deserve (see post #31); however, the two referenced articles will show Ray Guy in a much truer statistical light, and demonstrate his HOF-worthiness. See also post #35, by TheBucsFan, which reads
    Originally posted by TheBucsFan
    Twice in this thread, links have been provided to a person making statistical arguments in defense of Ray Guy as the best punter ever.
Well, having looked at the two linked articles by K.C. Joyner, I came to the conclusion that they proved nothing of the kind, and I stated as such. In post #42, brick contended that the stats used by K.C. Joyner amounted to an unfair comparison for Guy; yet, despite this unfair comparison (specifically, Guy's 11 year career was being compared to those with fewer seasons), Guy still managed to place in the top 3 or 4, thus (by extension) proving the earlier point made in post #12. I disagree with the premise that the parameters were unfair; after all, the author wrote the article to make the specific point that Ray Guy was HOF worthy; the author set those parameters in order to prove his point, and we were directed (in earlier posts) to review these articles as proof of this point. We are now told that the statistical analysis being made in those articles is unfair to Guy. If comparing Guy to those with fewer NFL seasons was unfair, then why didn't K.C. Joyner use a higher cut-off (i.e. six, or eight, or ten seasons) to make his point? Brick concluded that Joyner had created an unfair comparison, an unfair comparison in which Guy still did well. Since I disagree with the premise Joyner created a statistical comparison that was unfair to Guy, by extension I disagree with the premise that Guy's ranking in the top 3 or 4 is equal to a ranking of number 1 in a "fair" comparison.

I hope this demonstrates that I did indeed fully read and comprehend brick's post to the best of my ability. Unfortunately, I realize that by proving such I engaged in quite a bit of repetition, for which I do apologize; but I saw no other way to fully answer your question. If you feel that I'm still missing brick's larger point then please so state. Thank you.





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#46 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.86
No, I think I get it now. Thanks. ALTHOUGH:
    Originally posted by Downtown Bookie
    The point being made (and, please, correct me if I am wrong) is that using the stats normally used to rank punters show Ray Guy in a poor light which he does not deserve (see post #31); however, the two referenced articles will show Ray Guy in a much truer statistical light, and demonstrate his HOF-worthiness.
This is probably a problem with MY reading comprehension skills, but are you FOR or AGAINST Ray Guy in the Hall of Fame? ;-) (Don't worry; I went back and figured it out.)

I guess my beef (and maybe brick's, although I shouldn't speak for him) is you don't think it's a big deal to dismiss out of hand the fact that in the quoted stats, Guy has 300-550 more punts than the other folks in the list and still manages to rank as highly as he does.

I guess that's the problem with folks purely using stats to make a case - it's too easy to cherry pick the stuff that people think helps their case and throw out the stuff that people think don't.

Me, I don't have an opinion, because I haven't gone and done my own research....and it's doubtful I'll ever find it an important enough topic to go DO that research. But I've been bored enough before, and may be again...




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Since: 9.12.01
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#47 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.53
This all goes back to my favorite question about the baseball hall of fame, in a tangential way.

Should all positions be represented in the HoF?

If the answer is yes, who is a better choice than Ray Guy? Are we holding out until we can get Feagles in? Will there be one punter in my lifetime?

For comparison, is Gossage being kept out of the HoF because Trevor is going to get in, and they only want one closer in so that they don't have to let in 5-10 people because of diluted stats?

Is there a "Saves" guy in the hall yet?

Is Ray Guy the Gossage of Football?




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Since: 8.10.03
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#48 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.91
I'd say that a great placekicker is more the saves guy. They have a harder time getting in, but if they're great enough they do make it. To me punters are more like the excellent middle reliever/set-up man. They can be great at what they do and make a difference in winning and losing, but nobody will vote them in because of their role.
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Since: 9.12.01
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#49 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.53
I probably phrased it poorly. I wasn't trying to say punts = saves, I was trying to say a relief pitcher who specializes in Saves should be in the HoF, and a punter should be in the HoF. At this time, neither position is represented.




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#50 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.91
But there are. Bruce Sutter, Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckersley and Goose Gossage are all in.
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Since: 11.2.03
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#51 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.02
Also Hoyt Wilhelm, who represents an earlier era when saves weren't as important (the best reliever didn't necessarily close the game), but was clearly a relief pitcher most of the time.
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Since: 9.12.01
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#52 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.53
Well, then nevermind.

I thought Eck was in for his starting pitching.

This is why I don't make arguments.

I'm thinking Cy Young, not HoF. Nevermind.




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#53 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.95
The nature of the game has changed so much that the "All-Time Leader in X" doesn't mean you have to make the HOF. Saves (or receptions or FG percentage) are all "attained" at a much higher rate than ever before, thus comparison to the past doesn't work. That makes it difficult to evaluate Relief Pitchers, or wide Receivers/Tight Ends, or Kickers.

IMO, the difference in net yards from the best punter to the worst is rather small in any given year. On that basis, I'm not sure that anyone will ever get into the HOF strictly on their value as a punter.
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Since: 24.3.02
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#54 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.24
Ok, I did some of what wikipedia would call "original research" to see what the numbers I could find regarding the punter question. Sorry for posting so late after the thread appeared to have ended, but I really have been working on this for almost a week.

Methodology: Using information about gross yardage from NFL.com and punt return yards allowed per team available from databasefootball.com, I assigned a pro-rated percentage of each team's punt returns and punt return yards allowed to each player who had punts for that team in that year. From 1976 onward, the data also included information on touchbacks. Using this information, I calculated the average punt return and the net punting average for each year of the study. I then compared those averages with the players actual stats for that year. Instead of using the actual punt return yardage allowed, I assumed an average return for each punt that was returned. This is because I believe (in the majority of cases) that a punter has very little control over how far a punt is returned against him, which is more a function of the quality of the team's punt coverage unit. If you disagree with this assumption, I'm working on a set of numbers that includes the actual punt return yardage allowed as well. Where information on touchbacks was available (1976 onward), the loss in field position due to touchbacks is also included in the calculation. From 1991 onward, actual punt return data is used instead of team estimates.

From these numbers, we calculate how many Punt Yards Above Average a player was worth in a given year, based upon his gross average, number of punts, number of punt returns allowed, and touchbacks. All seasons for which a player punted were then added up. The players listed aren't much different from Eddie Famous' list, but in a different order. These numbers obviously value longevity. If we were looking for the player who was best at his peak we might choose the best 5 to 8 years out of his career and add up just those. This is a cumulative stat, so players with more punts in a year have more opportunity to rank higher (or lower) than players with less punts.

1. Jerrel Wilson (Kansas City 1963-1977, New England 1978): 2395 PYAA. I calculated Wilson as the top punter in the AFL in 1968, and in the top 3 punters for every year from 1970-1974. Add in 9 more seasons with positive yardage, and only one with negative (his final year), and you have quite a career.

2. Ray Guy (Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders 1973-1986): 2059 PYAA. Guy might have been first expect that several season in his prime ended up being almost average because of his propensity for touchbacks. 15% of his punts from the 1976 season onward ended up going for touchbacks (the NFL average usually hovers around 10%). Those extra touchbacks, which are each equivalent to a 20 yard return, add up. I have him in the top three punters each year for 1973-1975 (which are all the years in his career where touchback data is not available, so if they were anything like the seasons that followed, that would have hurt him some more), as well as for 1978 and 1981. And like Wilson, only his final year was below average. Obviously the number of touchbacks is mildly dependent on a player's punt coverage team, but it's hard to make that claim when you are close to the league leader in touchbacks every year, even years when other players had many more punts overall.

3. Shane Lechler (Oakland Raiders 2000-Present): 2022 PYAA. Obviously with the shortest career of any players on this list, the numbers are saying he could be the best punter ever if he keeps it up (and he doesn't stick around for too many below average years). He is listed as the top punter for 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2008.

4. Bobby Joe Green (Pittsburgh Steelers 1960-1961, Chicago Bears 1962-1973): 1972 PYAA. Best Punter in the AFL 1960 and 1961; Best Punter, NFL 1962, 1963, 1967. Every single year of his career has positive value.

5. Reggie Roby (Miami Dolphins 1983-1992, Five Other Teams 1993-1998): 1472. More than any other player, this is a longevity award. Roby was only the best punter in the league in 1991, but he was above average for 14 of his 16 seasons.

6. Sammy Baugh (Washington Redskins 1937-1952): 1421 PYAA. We are missing statistics for 4 of the 10 years where Baugh may have been his team's leading punter. We only have gross punt yardage from 1939 onward, and we don't have team punt return yardage allowed until 1941. Baugh only punted sparingly after 1947. Even so, I have him as the best punter for 1941, 1942, 1943, and 1945, and though return yardage isn't available for 1940, his average punt that year was an amazing 12 yards above average, which might have made it the best punting season of all time.

Best Seasons of All Time:
Sammy Baugh 1943 (408 PYAA),
Bobby Joe Green 1961 (385 PYAA-AFL),
Yale Lary 1961 (380 PYAA-NFL),
Todd Sauerbrun 2001 (370 PYAA).

Worst Seasons of All Time:
Mike Eischeid 1974 Minnesota (36.1 yard gross average over 73 punts, -499 PYAA),
Bryan Barker 1990 Kansas City (38.7 yard gross average over 64 punts, -349 PYAA),
Cotton Davidson 1957 Baltimore Colts (35.4 yard gross average over 47 punts, -325 PYAA),
Kyle Larson 2008 Cincinnati (39.4 yard gross average over 100 punts, -322 PYAA),
Mike Eischeid 1973 Minnesota (32.4 gross average over 66 punts, -320 PYAA).

(edited by Mr. Boffo on 17.2.09 0130)
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#55 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.53
Where does Scifres fall based on these criteria? I'm surprised there is a different modern punter on the list. I suspect that there may be a bias towards teams that are bad and punt more. Those are some bad Raiders teams we are talking about.




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#56 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.05
I didn't use punting yards in my list only because I felt that it penalizes punters that were on teams that could actually convert 1st downs and/or get into FG range.

I felt that their average yards were a better gauge as to how good they are. My think was "Who is better, a punter who had 3000 punting yards with a 30 yard average, or a punter who had 1500 punting yards, but a 48 yard average? I'd take the punter with the better average."





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#57 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.53
I'm just thinking out loud here.

The average Scifres kick for the Chargers probably came from better field position than the average Lechler kick for the Raiders. You are discounting return, which would penalize a kicker with good hang time, as more hang time would mean more men at the ball when caught - and more chance for a FC.

Compare Scifres 2007 and 2008 with Lechler the same years, and something doesn't seem right with the criteria. I have no idea how to factor in the position where the ball was kicked from, though.

http://www.nfl.com/players/mikescifres/careerstats?id=SCI453647

http://www.nfl.com/players/shanelechler/profile?id=LEC090322

Over his career Scifres has allowed fewer return yards than Lechler's lowest year (2002) in all but one season. The season Lechler had the fewest return yards of his career is the only one that you don't have him leading. This points to a problem with the metrics, I think. I don't know how to fix it, though.




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#58 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.90

    Originally posted by Mr. Boffo

    4. Bobby Joe Green (Pittsburgh Steelers 1960-1961, Chicago Bears 1962-1973): 1972 PYAA. Best Punter in the AFL 1960 and 1961; Best Punter, NFL 1962, 1963, 1967. Every single year of his career has positive value.



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#59 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.24
    Originally posted by Eddie Famous
      Originally posted by Mr. Boffo

      4. Bobby Joe Green (Pittsburgh Steelers 1960-1961, Chicago Bears 1962-1973): 1972 PYAA. Best Punter in the AFL 1960 and 1961; Best Punter, NFL 1962, 1963, 1967. Every single year of his career has positive value.



    Mr. Green never played in the AFL.


You're right. I wrote that he was a Pittsburgh Steeler, and I forgot that the Pittsburgh Steelers were an NFL team who moved to the AFC following the merger. Soon people will start to forget that the Seattle Seahawks were an AFC team too.

    Originally posted by Zeruel

    I didn't use punting yards in my list only because I felt that it penalizes punters that were on teams that could actually convert 1st downs and/or get into FG range.

    I felt that their average yards were a better gauge as to how good they are. My think was "Who is better, a punter who had 3000 punting yards with a 30 yard average, or a punter who had 1500 punting yards, but a 48 yard average? I'd take the punter with the better average."

I agree, I'd hope that the second person would come out higher on my list. Let's see, let's assume that they both are playing in 2008, and 50% of each of their punts get returned, and another 10% go for touchbacks (both of which are average). Punter A would have 100 punts with a 30 yard gross average, Punter B would have maybe 32 punts with a 48 yard gross average. Punter A's net average would be about 23.5 yards, Punter B's would be about 40.5 yard gross average. Punter A would be worth -1425 Punt Yards Above Average, and Punter B would be worth 88 Punt Yards Above Average.

    Originally posted by GuruZim

    Where does Scifres fall based on these criteria? I'm surprised there is a different modern punter on the list. I suspect that there may be a bias towards teams that are bad and punt more. Those are some bad Raiders teams we are talking about.


Scifres has 683 PYAA above average in his 5 year career. On a per punt basis, that's just above 2 yards per punt. Lechler comes to just under 3 yards per punt.

Looking at the two of them side by side, I see that Lechler is 2.7 gross yards per punt better over the course of his career, and he's attempted exactly twice as many punts. I don't know if 2.7 gross yards is relevant or not. It is possible that a punter playing on a team with a worse offense is more likely to be punting from far enough back that he can boom it as far as possible, whereas a punter on a better team is more likely to be pooch punting. I don't know enough about regression to try correlating a punter's gross average with some measure of offensive proficiency like offensive yards per game.

Frankly those are the only numbers of his that are better than Scifres. Lechler has an above average touchback percentage, and an average punt return percentage. Scifres has an average touchback percentage and a below average punt return percentage (in this case, lower is better for both statistics).

Scifres also has a lower average punt return than Lechler, but I wasn't counting that because my assumption was that a punter can't control the amount of yardage a punt is returned for, but maybe I'm wrong. Perhaps Scifres does exceptionally well at kicking a punt both high and deep such he gives his coverage team time to cover the ball, and therefore the average return allowed against him is below average.

If I include actual (or approximated before 1991) punt return yardage, the 7 players I mentioned have their numbers change to:
Wilson: 1540.
Guy: 2247.
Lechler: 1081.
Green: 2267.
Roby: 1191.
Baugh: 1349.
Scifres: 716.

Roby and Lechler fall out of the top 6 and are replaced by Matt Turk (1995-Present; 1328 PYAA) and Yale Lary (Detroit 1952-1964; 1423 PYAA).

Under this metric, Scifres is definitely better than Lechler since he has half as many career punts. Either this means that a punter does control the average punt return against him, or good punt coverage teams make a punter look better than he actually is.
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Since: 17.1.02
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#60 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.00

    Under this metric, Scifres is definitely better than Lechler since he has half as many career punts. Either this means that a punter does control the average punt return against him, or good punt coverage teams make a punter look better than he actually is.


It is a little of both, IMO. Scifres has had the advantage of playing with much better coverage teams since he came into the league. Going by the Football Outsiders special teams rankings, the Chargers punt unit has out ranked Oakland's every season since 2004 until this past year. And it wasn't even close except for 2004 & 2008.

But like all things in football, nobody plays in a vacuum.

SD's offense has been signifigantly better as well. Due to field possition, Scifres often has less field to kick into. A shorter field can lead to more touchbacks, but it also limits the return team in terms of what they can do. Makes it easier for the coverage team to dictake the direction of the return, and makes it less likely that the punter will outkick his coverage (something Lechler is prone to do).

That, IMO, is a big reason that Scifres has a better average punt return against number. He has not been put in the possition where the team needs him to punt the ball as far as possible as often as Lechler has. (Of course I have no numbers to back this up, just observations from watching both play).

I'm not trying to take anything away from Scifres, even if he didn't have the advantage of the better team, he would still be neck and neck with Lechler, just due to the amazing control he has over his punts.
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