13

July

It’s Time to Right this Wrong – Jerry Kramer Belongs in the NFL Hall of Fame

JERRY KRAMER, G, GREEN BAY PACKERS

Career Highlights:

Played 11 Seasons for the Green Bay Packers, 1958-1968

Played in 4 League Championship games and two Super Bowls

Earned 5 Championship rings.

5-Time All-Pro and 3 Pro Bowls

 

The Case for Jerry Kramer:

A fourth round draft pick in 1958, (selected after Jim Taylor and Ray Nitschke), Kramer earned a starting job immediately. As a rookie, the 6′ 3″, 250-lb Kramer quickly gained the reputation as a tenacious player that could hold his own against the best defensive tackles. In 1959, a fiery new coach came to town and soon recognized Kramer’s talent. Years later, Vince Lombardi would say of Kramer, “He didn’t know how good he was…”

Lombardi helped develop Jerry Kramer into an All-Pro NFL guard.  Kramer became the key blocker to the success of the famous Green Bay Packer sweep. Along with fellow guard Fuzzy Thurston, it was Kramer’s job to provide the inside “seal” Vince Lombardi famously talked about, keeping pursuing linebackers or defensive backs away from Jim Taylor and Paul Horning.

While Hall-of-Fame membership has eluded Jerry Kramer, fame itself has not. In the historic Ice Bowl game against the Dallas Cowboys, Kramer threw the most famous and recounted block in the history of the NFL, giving Bart Starr just enough room to score the winning TD. Kramer also appeared in one of the most famous Sports Illustrated covers ever, the classic photograph of Kramer carrying Vince Lombardi off the field after the Packers’ Super Bowl II victory.

Kramer was famous for his physical ailments, injuries and multiple operations. Kramer underwent 22 surgeries in 11 seasons, his many  scars earning him the nickname “Zipper”. Despite all of these obstacles, Kramer made it onto the field to play in 129 regular season games in his 11 years. As Bart Starr once said, “When Jerry wasn’t on his deathbed, he was making life miserable for defensive tackles.”

As if that wasn’t enough, Kramer also filled in as the Packers’ placekicker for two seasons. His three field goals helped the Packers win the 1962 championship game against the New York Giants, 16-7. He tallied 65 points in 1962 and was the team’s leading scorer the following season with 91 points.

In addition to his playing career, Jerry Kramer gained fame off of the football field. He became a best-selling author, with his first book, Instant Replay, a diary of the 1967 Packers championship season. He would go on to write three more books, “Farewell to Football”, “Lombardi: Winning is the Only Thing”, and “Distant Replay.” Kramer is also the original founder of Gridiron Greats, the non-profit organization Mike Ditka is associated with, dedicated to offering financial assistance to old-time NFL players with physical disabilities and difficult lives.

Kramer earned the respect of teammates and opponents alike, and was named All-Pro 5 times. If not for the Packers having so many other All-Pro players on their team, Kramer would have certainly been named to more Pro Bowls. Still, his playing career was not short on accolades. Kramer was named to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 1960′s. He was named  a starting guard in “The Ultimate Super Bowl 40 Man Roster”, the 40th anniversary all-time Super Bowl team. And most impressively of all, he was the ONLY guard selected for the NFL’s 50th Anniversary all-time team. Incredulously, Kramer is the ONLY player on that that team that is NOT a member of the Pro Football Hall-of-Fame. How is that possible?

Jerry Kramer is a 10-time Hall of Fame finalist and thus, the only player named 10 times or more that has not been inducted. Many former teammates and competitors have come out and accused the voting writers of being jealous of Kramer’s success as an author. Joe Horrigan, Hall of Fame Vice President has said that 25% of the mail that the Hall receives on a daily basis is about Jerry Kramer. Steve Sabol, legendary President of NFL Films, named Kramer as his choice for the best player not in the Hall of Fame. Clearly, it seems that almost everyone except the Hall of Fame voters recognize that Jerry Kramer belongs. It’s beyond ironic that Kramer has earned so much fame, yet can’t get acknowledged by the Hall of Fame. The Seniors committee needs to nominate Kramer every year until all of the Hall of Fame voters come to their senses and this wrong is righted.

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I would suggest sending an email supporting Jerry Kramer to the following members of the Hall of Fame Senior Committee:

 

The Complete Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee is comprised of:

(Email addresses for most of these gentlemen can be found at this link.)

  • Arizona — Kent Somers, Arizona Republic
  • Atlanta — Len Pasquarelli, The Sports Xchange
  • Baltimore — Scott Garceau, WMAR-TV
  • Buffalo — Mark Gaughan, Buffalo News
  • Carolina — Darin Gantt, Rock Hill Herald
  • Chicago — Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune*
  • Cincinnati — Joe Reedy, Cincinnati Enquirer
  • Cleveland — Tony Grossi, Cleveland Plain Dealer
  • Dallas — Rick Gosselin, Dallas Morning News*
  • Denver — Jeff Legwold, Denver Post
  • Detroit — Tom Kowalski, Booth Newspapers
  • Green Bay — Cliff Christl, Green Bay Press Gazzette
  • Houston — John McClain, Houston Chronicle*
  • Indianapolis — Mike Chappell, Indianapolis Star
  • Jacksonville — Sam Kouvaris, WJXT-TV
  • Kansas City — Bob Gretz, KCFootballReport.com
  • Miami — Edwin Pope, Miami Herald*
  • Minnesota — Sid Hartman, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
  • New England — Ron Borges, Boston Herald*
  • New Orleans — Pete Finney, The Times-Picayune
  • New York (Giants) — Vinny DiTrani, Bergen Record
  • New York (Jets) — Gary Myers, New York Daily News
  • Oakland — Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange
  • Philadelphia — Paul Domowitch, Philadelphia Daily News
  • Pittsburgh — Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • St. Louis — Bernie Miklasz, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • San Diego — Nick Canepa, San Diego Union-Tribune
  • San Francisco — Nancy Gay, FOXSports.com
  • Seattle — Mike Sando, ESPN.com
  • Tampa Bay — Ira Kaufman, Tampa Tribune
  • Tennessee — David Climer, The Tennessean
  • Washington — David Elfin, AOL Sports/FanHouse
  • PFWA — Darryl Ledbetter, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • At Large — Howard Balzer, The Sports Xchange
  • At Large — Jarrett Bell, USA Today
  • At Large — John Clayton, ESPN/ESPN Magazine
  • At Large — John Czarnecki, FOXSports.com*
  • At Large — Dave Goldberg, AOL Sports/FanHouse*
  • At Large — Peter King, Sports Illustrated
  • At Large — Ira Miller, The Sports Xchange*
  • At Large — Len Shapiro, Miami Herald*
  • At Large — Vito Stellino, Florida Times-Union
  • At Large — Jim Trotter, Sports Illustrated
  • At Large — Charean Williams, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He is a PFWA member who can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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19 Responses to “It’s Time to Right this Wrong – Jerry Kramer Belongs in the NFL Hall of Fame”

  1. Ron LC says:

    Thanks for initiating this effort Al. No one deserves this honor more than Jerry. I’m doing my emailing starting now.

    I remember suffering through Scooter McLain’s tenure but always being hopeful because the Oline was taking shape in that miserable year. No one had more serious health problems than Jerry. Yet, after each cirsis he came back stronger than before. The broken leg on a kickoff was a bad. But the stomach infection due to a piece of wood lodged in that area from an old hunting accident was the worst. For a time his life was in the balance. Yes, he came back and was the lead blocker on the Lombardi sweep for many great years. The only reason he didn’t make the hall was the idiot reporters decided that the Lombardi Packers already had more than their share of HOF members. So, lesser linemen got the honor and Jerry stayed outside.

    It is time to correct this error! Everyone else that enjoys Al and his minions shuld spend some time helping to get this GREAT PACKER the honor he has earned and deserves.

    GO PACK – Play Ball!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  2. iccyfan says:

    Wonderful article! I have a 17 year-old son who loves the Packers and devours books on their history. Just this weekend, he presented his case to me on why Jerry Kramer deserved HOF induction and I did my best to explain why it’s eluded him (difficult task). He’s away on a college visit but I can’t wait to show him your article upon his return this evening. Great job!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. Curley2808 says:

    I believe it was SI’s Peter King who said they’ve maxed out inductees on that GB team with 4 (I think) players and Lombardi. He said something silly about how they would have to pull Vince out if they let Kramer in because “how good a coach do you have to be to win with 5 players in the HOF?” Argument doesn’t hold water when you’re talking about the 60′s Packers and Vince Lombardi.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

      yeah, that’s a pretty dumb statement from king… Steelers have 8 or nine in the Hall plus Knoll from their seventies era.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

      • Michalske says:

        Al, that’s exactly why I didn’t like the Swann and Stallworth inductions. Sure, those guys may belong, but if I were on that committee I’d have been ‘swapping votes’ for Kramer.

        FWIW the 60′s Packers have a total of 9 players plus Lombardi in the HoF (Starr, Hornung, Taylor, Gregg, Davis, Jordan, Nitschke, Adderley and Wood). That is more than any other ‘team’ (played for same franchise at same time), even the 70′s Steelers, but it doesn’t make Kramer any less deserving — 5 championships in 7 years make the 60′s Packers more ‘Famous’ than any other group of men who played pro football together.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • PackersRS says:

      Peter King being in the voting process is the clearest statement that the system is completely flawed.

      That man is an imbecil who doesn’t know anything about football and carries on based on being a brown-nosed “reporter” and spewing out cliché lines that appeal to the most fairweather of fans.

      Also, shame on Cliff Christl. He should be doing a much better job with Kramer and Sharper, but he has some personal agenda against both of them.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. I believe Jerry Kramer has been a no brainer for the HoF for years. As a Rams fan I have to compare him to the HoF guard Tom Mack. Mack’s career was very similar to Kramer’s in every way except team achievement. I agree completely that Kramer deserves to be in. Mack did make 11 Pro Bowls, but he was only named once as First Team All-Pro (5 overall) where Jerry Kramer was First Team every year he was named All-Pro. The fact that he was also versatile enough to contribute as a kicker and only missed games in 2 of 11 seasons despite mounting injuries is an added caveat to his legacy. Mack was also a 10 time failed finalist before being inducted in his 11th try as a finalist.

    The only reasoning, faulty at best, that can be made against Kramer you went over very well: lack of Pro Bowls – Kramer was oft injured and I’m sure that had more to do with his lack of Pro Bowls than his talent. Quantity of HoF teammates – a very specious argument, especially for a guard whose job is opening and closing holes to make his teammates look good. Professional Bias – this isn’t even an argument, it’s prejudice and has no place in voting for a lifetime on field achievement like the Hall of Fame.

    Overall Jerry Kramer is at least equal to Tom Mack both in quality of play and impact on his team’s performance. Over Mack’s 13 seasons the Rams averaged 22.71 points on offense while Kramer’s Packers averaged 23.07 during his 11 seasons. Kramer added 177 points as a kicker and 5 NFL Championships put him over the top in this fans opinion.

    My final analysis is the article is great and the sentiment expressed is valid. This Rams fan is 100% in the Jerry Kramer for Hall of Fame corner.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  5. Wiscokid says:

    Amen brother. It it is indeed a mockery of justice that he isn’t in the HOF already.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  6. Steve Tate says:

    This is great info Al and I will be sending off my email to all of these people letting them know that I too AGREEE that Jerry should be in the Pro Football HOF!! Thanks!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  7. I got my emails sent off to the HOF Sr Committee (one bad email address):dpompei@tribune.com;rgosselin@dallasnews.com;john.mcclain@chron.com;rborges@bostonherald.com;bjmiklasz@post-dispatch.com;john.czarnecki@foxsports.com;dgoldberg@ap.org;imiller@sportsxchange.com;badgerlen@aol.com

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. BILL HEISER says:

    THE HALL OF FAME SHOULD RUN FOR DAYLIGHT AND GET THE OLD ZIPPER IN. COME ON JUDGES GET OFF YOUR BUTTS
    AND DO THE RIGHT THING

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. Shavager says:

    What a thrill it was to watch those Packer teams, being a fan as long as I’ve been, I had the opportunity to watch(on television) Hornung score 5 TD’s against the Colts in ’65, saw the ’65 championship game in which Taylor, Hornung dominated the stats while Nitschke, Davis harassed Browns and Jim Brown all game. Watched Green Bay beat Dallas for ’66 and ’67 championships as well as win SB 1 and 1. Jerry Kramer was an integral part of those championships and a standout performer at his position. JERRY KRAMER IS A HOF’er, it’s PAST TIME FOR OFFICIAL ELECTION.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. Dutch Lawson says:

    I bought a Signed Jersey because I think he belongs. I support the comments of why he belongs. The question that needs to be answered is: Why isn’t Jerry Kramer nominated every year? With all the support I have seen, there has to be a very specific underlying reason. He must have fans on the nominating committee. He should, at the VERY LEAST, be nominated every year.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Bobby Gans says:

    More proof that fat lardass idiots that never played the game have zero business deciding who should be in the HOF. Kramer not in is just a joke!! Plain and simple!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0