Jerry Kramer Belongs In The Hall of Fame

Jerry Kramer leads Elijah Pitts on a sweep during Super Bowl I

When you think of the Green Bay Packers of the 1960’s, two images come to mind. Of course that of Vince Lombardi, and then the image of Jerry Kramer and Fuzzy Thurston leading Paul Hornung or Jim Taylor on a power sweep. It was this fundamental approach to football that made the Packers perennial champions and lifted their greatest players to Hall of Fame status. Except for one glaring omission. Packers Guard Jerry Kramer.

Vince Lombardi once said that football will always be a game of blocking and tackling. His teams executed the blocking side of that equation with lethal precision. The great Green Bay Packer machine that churned out 5 NFL championships in the 1960s was powered by the offensive line and the power sweep was their principle play.

On many a Sunday afternoon, Jerry Kramer could be seen leading Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor around the end while making multiple blocks as the Packers captured the flank of the defense.  Kramer led the way for both Taylor and Hornung to both make the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In fact, it was a sweep where Kramer led Hornung to the clinching touchdown to defeat the defending champion Cleveland Browns in the 1965 NFL Championship. This was the first of a series of three straight NFL Championships won by the Green Bay Packers and the only such 3-peat achieved in the championship game era.

However the career of Jerry Kramer started with his being drafted out of the University of Idaho and being driven to be the best he could be by hard nosed coach, Vince Lombardi. Kramer was voted All Pro 5 times and was a member of the NFL’s 50th anniversary team.

Jerry Kramer kicks field goal as Erich Barnes is too late for the block

How do you gauge impact?? For most NFL linemen this would be hard to equate because rarely can a specific game or play come down to a key block that everyone saw. After missing the 1961 NFL Championship Game with a badly injured ankle in Green Bay, Kramer not only returned to play in the 1962 Title Game, he also handled place kicking duties that day. While blocking Giant Dick Modzelewski all day he also kicked 3 field goals for the difference in Green Bay’s 16-7 victory. A feat that is unsung in football annals. Where winds gusted up to 50 m.p.h., and forced each team to run the football even more than usual.

Kramer went 3 for 4 on field goals and an extra point on battered legs from blocking on a brutally cold day. One so cold one of the cameramen suffered from frostbite as the stadium had many bonfires to keep players and officials warm. Although fellow Packer Ray Nitschke was voted game MVP, we find it hard to believe Kramer didn’t get the vote for being able to kick on a day when even YA Tittle and Bart Starr passed sparingly.

Just like any skill position, you’re gauged by how well you play in the big games. Aside from the great line play of the Packers in their run to 5 NFL Championships there are individual efforts where Kramer’s greatness was showcased. In the 1965 NFL Championship Game the clinching touchdown was a Green Bay sweep to the left where Kramer can be seen making two blocks as he escorts Paul Hornung into the endzone.

After the 1967 season the Packers found themselves in position for that elusive 3 peat when they faced the Dallas Cowboys. However conditions were worse for this game than they were in the 1962 NFL Championship Game.  The famed “Ice Bowl” was played at a -15*F and a negative wind chill close to -70* below zero.

Yet with the game on the line the Packers began a march that culminated in their being stuck just 1 yard from the winning touchdown. After 2 shots at it, Bart Starr took the Packers final timeout. With the season and perhaps the dynasty of the Packers in his hands, it was his wedge block on Jethro Pugh that Bart Starr followed into the endzone to win it with :16 left. So of the 3 NFL Championship Games that concluded the dynasty he had a hand in several key plays.

Ice Bowl Sneak in Progress

Bart Starr follows Jerry Kramer’s block to clinch the Ice Bowl 21-17 to give the Green Bay Packers 3 championships in a row

Did you know that Kramer has already been picked as the Guard for the 1960’s NFL’s All Decade Team as selected by the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee??  How can he not be in the Hall of Fame as a player?? Some think it could be due to having an injury plagued career but he lined up for 11 years and made countless blocks that led to his entire backfield being immortalized in Canton when you include Bart Starr. If Jim Parker of the 1950’s Colts and Johnny Unitas’ chief protector, was the standard bearer for all tackles and made the Hall of Fame. The same can be said for Mike Webster at center for the Pittsburgh Steelers and one of the team’s anchors. He too made the Hall of Fame. Where does that leave a guard who:

  • Was a 5 time All Pro,
  • Was a 5 time World Champion,
  • Member of the All Decade Team for the 1960’s voted by the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee
  • Was voted one of the Guards on the NFL’s 50th Anniversary Team commemorating the greatest players from the league’s 1st 50 seasons.
I’ll tell you where that leaves him, an overdue member of the football Hall of Fame. One of the unique aspects is that most offensive linemen live in a world of anonymity. Yet Jerry Kramer is one of the most recognizable faces of all the famous Packers. He has been the keeper of the flame for his former Packer teammates through a series of books and has been a great ambassador of the game.  A long overdue title he has rightfully deserved is that of a Hall of Famer.
Ladies and Gentlemen, for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I present to you Green Bay Packer legend, Jerry Kramer.
chancellor.hallofame.kramer.crest

The Chancellor right before entering The Pro Football Hall of Fame wearing an autographed Jerry Kramer jersey from the family. Its time he is enshrined.

We have to get this right and I believe they will in 2018. Please lend your thoughts as well by writing in to the Pro Football Hall of Fame to the address below. Please be respectful and positively lend your voice:

Please write & nominate #64
Send letters to:
Pro Football Hall of Fame
Attention Senior Selection Committee
2121 George Halas Dr NW, Canton,
OH 44708

Thanks for reading and please share the article.

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Jerry Kramer Belongs In The Hall of Fame

  1. He will get that call this time around, He is one of those players that you just automatically think that he is already been enshrined. You can’t talked about those great teams that the Packers had without Jerry not being mentioned. Time to show love for that O- Lineman

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The Chancellor Of Football’s Take: Hall of Fame Voting | Taylor Blitz Times

  3. Pingback: Overcoaching: Vol 3. Super Bowl XLIX Edition | Taylor Blitz Times

  4. Pingback: Vincent T. Lombardi – Growing Up Lombardi & The 1965 NFL Championship Season | Taylor Blitz Times

  5. Pingback: The Chancellor Of Football’s Take: Hall of Fame Voting « Taylor Blitz Times

  6. Eye opening article. My first reaction was to scratch my head. I just don’t get how Kramer can be recognized by being on the all-decade team of the 60s, then to be selected as a guard for the 50th anniversary team, and NOT be in the HOF. If you would’ve asked me if Jerry Kramer was in the HOF, I would’ve said ‘Of course he is!’ When you told me he wasn’t I would be shocked! What a shame!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Without a doubt Jerry belongs in the HOF…Hard to believe he isn’t there…Love ya Jerry…one of the best…thanks for the great memories…

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s