The Spectacle Blog

Thunder Foot O’Reilly: The Untold Story of Football’s Greatest Punter

By on 2.5.14 | 3:05PM

In his younger days, as an intern at WPLG Channel 10 in Miami in the early 1970s, Bill O’Reilly could have been playing in the Super Bowl — instead of just interviewing the president on Super Bowl Sunday. He could out-punt Ray Guy.

At least, according to Bill O’Reilly, he could.

“Did you know I can kick a football more than 60 yards?” he told the back-up anchor at the television station, who warmed to the idea — somehow thinking it was uproariously funny.

“Hell, Bill, if you can do that, I can get you a try-out with the Miami Dolphins,” the assistant anchor (a friend of mine) replied. “I’m going to introduce you to Don Shula. Boy, is he going to be excited to see someone who can kick a football 60 yards.”

Coach Shula — who won Super Bowls in 1972 and 1973 with the Dolphins — had a weekly show at the station and used to drop by the news room. So there was no doubt that my friend could broker a meeting and possible try-out.

But then O’Reilly got cold feet — or a cold foot.

“The problem is I don’t have any hang time,” he revealed.

“Oh, don’t worry about that,” my friend (a star quarterback in high school) persisted. “If you can kick a football that far, they can find people who are fast enough to provide coverage.”

But O’Reilly — who acquired the nickname around the station of “Thunder Foot” — would not be persuaded.

And that is why Ray Guy (who averaged just 42.4 yards a punt) was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last week — instead of Bill O’Reilly.

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