Where does Marquette King fall on the list of greatest Raiders punters?
5: Mike Eischeid
Height: 6-0 Weight: 190
College: Upper Iowa
Raider career: 1966-1971
Jersey number: # 11
How acquired: Undrafted, signed as a free agent
Eischeid did not amass any awards as a punter in Oakland and since he was one of the last players to hold the position before Ray Guy he is a forgotten man. What puts him on this list is his versatility during his rookie season and his consistency throughout his tenure in silver and black.
During his rookie season (1966), Eisheid started as Oakland’s punter and placekicker. He scored 70 points that year (11 field goals and 37 PATs) and he set the franchise mark that year with 41.6 yards per punt.
Eischeid was solid but unspectacular during his remaining years in Oakland. He punted in four straight AFL/AFC Championship Games (1967-1970) and in the second Super Bowl ever played. His 42.3 career punt average ranks sixth all time in Raider history.
4: Marquette King
Height: 6-0 Weight: 192
Born: 10/26/1988 Macon, Georgia
College: Fort Valley St.
Raider career: 2012-present
Jersey numbers: #2 and #7
How acquired: Signed as an undrafted free agent
Awards: Second-team All-Pro (2016)
Regardless of what you may think there is no doubt that Marquette King is one of the most talented punters in the league today.
An interesting fact regarding King is that he is only the fifth African-American to exclusively play punter in NFL history. Like punter and fellow Raider Jeff Gossett, it was up to Marquette King to follow up a legendary Raider punter after Shane Lechler was let go. For the most part, King has responded with solid play even though he has already seen three of his punts blocked during his short career.
King led the league in punt average in 2013 but he was denied a Pro Bowl berth. He has played in 64 straight games and as of this writing he has punted 357 times (fifth best in Raider history) for 16,671 yards (fourth best in Raider history) and overall he has averaged nearly 47 yards per punt (second best in Raider history).
His sometimes overzealousness has often found him in trouble even if it is jawing with an opponent, being accused on social media of having an affair with a married Kim Kardashian West, or being called out publicly by Jack Del Rio. Marquette King is a very talented punter but if he keeps his nose clean and if he continues to boom punts he will move up on this list.
3: Jeff Gossett
Height: 6-2 Weight: 200
Born: 1/25/1957 Charleston , IL
College: Eastern Illinois
Raider career: 1988-1995
Jersey numbers: #6 and #7
How acquired: Signed as a free agent
Awards: Pro Bowl (1991) & All-Pro (1991)
Gossett was not a bad punter but the biggest knock against him was he took over for Ray Guy. Despite the oversight, Jeff was a steady compliment to a decent special teams unit for nearly a decade. Evidence can clearly be seen when two things are considered.
First, Gossett’s specialty was pinning kicks inside the 10-yard line, something he did with regularity.
Second, unlike punters of any era, Gossett could tackle, though not with the same force of the rest of the special teams but it was good enough to save the Raiders from giving up big plays.
Gossett’s greatest season was in 1991 when he was named first team All-Pro for his 44.2 yards per punt average.
He currently ranks third all-time in punt average (minimum of 600 punts) in Raiders history. Overall, his punt average is 7th all-time in Raider history regardless of the number of kicks. His Raider career longest punt is 65 yards and that also ranks seventh all-time. Lastly, his 642 career punts and his 26,747 punt yards currently rank third all-time behind Shane Lechler and Ray Guy.
2: Shane Lechler
Height: 6-2 Weight: 225
Born: 9/7/1976, Sealy, Texas
College: Texas A&M
Raider career 2000-2012
Jersey number: #9
How acquired: Drafted by Oakland in the 5th Round (142nd overall) of the 2000 NFL Draft.
Awards: 7 Pro Bowls, 6 First Team All-Pro Awards, Pro Football Hall of Fame 1st team All-2000s Team
Younger Raider fans should not be shocked by this selection and they could make a fair argument that Lechler was even better than Ray Guy. He has the five best single-season punting averages in Raiders history, including a career-best 51.1 in 2009, the second highest single season average in league history. His 47.5 punt average leads ever player who has ever punted for the silver and black.
During his career he threw one touchdown pass off a fake field goal, kicked seven extra points and missed two field goals.
In Week 12, on November 27, 2011, he kicked a career-best and a Raider franchise record 80-yard punt against the Chicago Bears. Another record that Lechler possesses is virtually unknown to both Raider fans and football fans alike. He booted at least one punt of 50 yards or more in 33 consecutive games from Week 13 of 2003 through Week 14 of 2005.
Shane finished with a higher career punting average than Guy after playing in one less game and with only 35 fewer punts. Both men were named to their respective decade teams and both went to seven Pro Bowls.
There are only two things that I can say that put Guy ahead of Lechler.
First, Lechler is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame (yet) and he only appeared in seven playoff games as a Raider. While neither is his fault it does slide him to second on this list but I will add that even though Guy is #1, Shane Lechler is really #1A.
1: Raymond Guy
Height: 6’3 Weight: 195
Born: 12/22/1949 Swainsboro, GA
College: Southern Miss
Raider career: 1973-1986
Jersey number: #8
How acquired: Drafted by Oakland in the 1st Round (23rd overall) of the 1973 NFL Draft.
Awards: 7 Pro Bowls, 3 First Team All-Pro Awards, Pro Football Hall of Fame 1st team All-1970s Team. 3 Super Bowl wins, 7 AFC Championship Game appearances. Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee (2014).
Dubbed “the greatest punter who ever lived,” it is hard to argue against that although several modern punters have surpassed many of Guy’s accomplishments. One thing that you cannot argue against Guy is two things. First, he is the only full-time punter ever elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and likely he will remain the only punter in Canton for a long time to come.
Ray Guy was so good that the annual collegiate award given to the best punter is named after him and he even has his own website!
Second, Guy changed the position forever by making the punt one of the most important plays of any game because it dictates field position for both teams. This influence makes Guy extremely special and it made him the first punter to be really recognized by the media and opponents alike. If you played the Raiders between 1973 and 1986 you understood that it was highly likely that Guy was going to pin your offense deep in your own territory. This contributed immensely to the Raiders success during the 1970s and early 1980s, helping them reign as the winningest team in football and overall in professional sports.
Guy’s website sums up the dominance that Guy had as a punter in the National Football League:
“Guy spent his entire 14-season, 207-game career with the Raiders. His career punting average was 42.4 yards and he averaged more than 40 yards 13 of his 14 seasons. The only time he fell below the 40-yard average mark came during the strike shortened (nine games) 1982 season, when he averaged 39.1 yards. Only three of his 1,049 punts were blocked and he ranked second all-time at the time of his retirement by punting 619 straight times without a block in a period from the 1979 season until the end of his career in 1986. Guy led the NFL in punting in 1974, 1975, and 1977 and finished second three times and third once. A veteran of 22 post-season games, he added 111 punts for a 42.4 average to his career totals.”
Finally, Guy made one of the biggest and most unsung plays in Super Bowl history. In 1984, the Los Angeles Raiders were leading the Redskins 7-0, early in the first period and Guy lined up to punt on fourth down. Los Angeles was just outside of Washington territory so everything seemed routine. Todd Christensen’s snap sailed high. Guy looked like an early version of Michael Jordan as he vaulted high into the air and snagged the football with his left hand. Then he calmly booted a 42 yard punt to save the day. Had Guy missed the ball, the Redskins would have likely recovered the ball deep in Raider territory or they would have scored a touchdown and the script of Super Bowl XVIII would have likely been very different. The Raiders went on to win 38-9.
Ray Guy was the greatest punter in Raider history.
Wayne Crow played only two seasons (1960-1961) but he goes down in Oakland history as the Raiders first punter. He also held an important Raider record for 50 years. In 1961, Crow booted a 77 yard punt to set a Raider record that wasn’t broken until 2011 (Shane Lechler). However, Crow wasn’t that good as a punter, barely averaged 40 yards per punt which ranks as one of the lowest totals in franchise history. What was interesting about Crow was his versatility as an athlete. Crow played defensive back, punter and running back for the Raiders, acquiring other statistics that you don’t normally see. Crow rushed for 490 yards, caught 17 passes and intercepted 4 enemy passes on defense.
- May 12, 2020
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- Raider Mike