The date is December 31, 1967. Lambeau Field, Green Bay Wisconsin.
Green Bay Packers – Western Conference Champion vs. Dallas Cowboys – Eastern Conference Champion in the NFL Championship Game.
The visual of “The Play” that day is so clear. With just seconds on-the-clock and no time-outs remaining, Bart Starr sneaks over the goal line for the winning score. The block that made it all happen was from none other than All-Pro right guard Jerry Kramer.
It is arguably the single-most iconic play in the long history of the NFL’s most storied franchise.
The ‘Ice Bowl’ as it would ultimately be called, is one of the greatest NFL games ever played. It forever cemented the legacy of Coach Vince Lombardi and the 9 NFL Hall of Fame Players/Coaches on that team.
Jerry Kramer was highly decorated
Jerry Kramer was as good as there was. All-Pro at his position three times, elected to NFL’s 1960’s All-Decade Team and the NFL 50 Year Anniversary Team. He was the only guard selected to that 50th Anniversary team. A high honor indeed.
Kramer played in three pro-bowls during his career and was named to five all-pro teams.
With Kramer at right guard, and Fuzzy Thurston at left guard, the Packers won five NFL titles and Super Bowl’s I and II. The versatile Kramer also served as the team’s place kicker in 1962, 1963, and part of 1968. For his career he kicked 29 field goals and 90 extra points for a total of 177 points. He also kicked 3 field goals and 1 extra point in the Packers 16-7 victory over the New York Giants in the 1962 NFL title game.
Yet despite his decorated playing career the ultimate honor eludes him: selection into the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Kramer has appeared on the list of finalists ten times since becoming eligible, but has not been inducted. He was rated No. 1 in NFL Network’s Top 10 list of players not in the Hall of Fame. Kramer was nominated the first year of his eligibility in 1974. Now more than 40-years later the wait continues.
But why snub one of the best ever to play his position?
No one seems to know for sure, but there are many opinions. The most prevalent thought is that there are a plethora of Lombardi’s Packers elected to Canton and you can’t put them all in.
Alicia Kramer, Jerry’s adoring daughter, has made a life’s work to ensure that Jerry Kramer is rightfully elected to the NFL Hall of Fame. Per Ms. Kramer; ‘My mission: Having my father and Green Bay Packer great, #64 Jerry Kramer, inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.’
Alicia recalls a time when current NFL commissioner Roger Goodell asked Jerry why he does not attend the annual Hall of Fame festivities. When the 79 year-old Kramer told the commissioner that he was not in the Hall, Goodell was dumb-founded.
For 10 years, Kramer came up as a finalist and was denied the honor, the most anyone has been a finalist and not been inducted. Jerry finds himself at the mercy of the senior voting committee. The nine-member panel reviews 80-90 candidates — retired for 25 years or more — each year before paring the list down to 15 finalists. A rotating group of five senior voters with the help of two players already enshrined select two finalists each year.
Those two finalists need 80 percent of the vote from the overall panel of 46 people for the honor of joining the other 295 NFL HOF members.
You May Be Able to Help Alicia Kramer
Can “Joe Fan” do anything to aid Alicia in getting her father into the Hall?
According to Alicia Kramer there is. First you need to have him nominated to be on the ballot. That happens when a committee meets each year for special consideration of ‘senior members’ – those players who have left the game years before. No more than two senior members are elected each year. The committee considers comments from fans.
Ms. Kramer asks for your politely written letters, requesting the committee’s consideration of her father’s credentials for enshrinement in the NFL HOF, and mail to the Senior Committee:
Pro Football Hall of Fame
Attention: Senior Selection Committee
2121 George Halas Dr. NW
Canton, OH 44708
An apparel company, 1265 Apparel has marketed and is selling a line of printed tee shirts in support of Jerry Kramer and daughter Alicia’s quest for his election to ‘The Hall’.
If you’re on Facebook, be sure to “like” the “Jerry Kramer for Hall of Fame” page.
This week Jerry Kramer is a member of the Official Packers Tailgate tour through Wisconsin featuring former and current players. On departure Tuesday morning Kramer was asked about the HOF snub. His response was typically classy, saying that if the call comes ‘fine’ and if it doesn’t life is still very good. He says he is over it.
It is time to right-the-wrong and enshrine Jerry Kramer in Canton.
The sooner the better.——————
Jeff Albrecht grew up just north of Green Bay and was lucky enough to attend some of the Lombardi Era classic games, like the 1962 championship and the Ice Bowl. Jeff went on to play HS football in the Green Bay area and College ball at UW - Stevens Point. Jeff is retired but still does some writing for his local paper. Jeff is a writer with AllGreenBayPackers.com and you can follow him on twitter at @pointerjeff .