Now that the Seniors Committee has corrected the egregious oversight that prevented Ray Guy from entering the Hall of Fame for years after he deserved to get in, it’s time to look at another punter from the same era, who is equally deserving, former Giant (and Jet), Dave Jennings.
Jennings was undrafted out of tiny liberal arts St. Lawrence College in upstate New York and joined the Giants after being cut by the Houston Oilers. He punted for the team for 11 years, before finishing his career with the cross town rival New York Jets and retiring in 1987. Punting for the Giants during their leanest years in the 1970’s, Jennings booming kicks with impressive hang times often kept the offensively challenged Giants in games longer than their overall talent level warranted. His specialty was the “Coffin corner,” pinning opponents deep in their own territory and providing a field position advantage for his team.
Jennings was an All-Pro four times, following the 1978, 1979, 1980, and 1982 season. His finest season statistically, was 1979, when he averaged an eye-popping 44.8 yards per punt on 94 punt, a higher one season average than Hall of Fame colleague Guy enjoyed during his impressive career. Jennings career average, which includes three unimpressive seasons wearing Jet green, is 41.2 yards kick.
After retiring as a player, Jennings became a broadcaster for the Giants, a position his soft spoken, articulate personality was perfectly suited. He retired in 2008 and passed away in 2013, at the age of 61, from Parkinson’s disease.
Guy and Jennings were viewed as the premier punters of their time, but Guy received far more publicity playing for the contending Raiders. The Giants record was a paltry 56-104 during Jennings time with the team. As Guy has finally received the recognition he unquestionably deserved, the Senior Committee’s focus should shift to Jennings, who should join the former Raider in the Hall of Fame.