Jerry Kramer, Alicia, The Chancellor & A Hall of Fame Trip

 

As we near the 2018 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony it’s impossible not to look back at how we got here. It seems surreal as so many fans didn’t think we would see the day when Jerry Kramer would get that call to the hall. That knock on the door.

kramersWhere our odyssey began was the birth of all this love of football which started in the summer heat in Denver Colorado 1977. Outside throwing a football around when I came in to cool off and an “NFL Presents” had a special on “The Ice Bowl.” I can remember being glued to the tv as the Packers and Cowboys played in what looked like ungodly weather. Of course with John Facenda’s narrative he made the names of Vince Lombardi, Bart Starr, Willie Davis, Tom Landry and Jerry Kramer become etched in my mind.

Several weeks later school had started and my 2nd grade teacher Mrs. Carmen and I were in the library and she gave me Jerry Kramer’s Distant Replay to read. After that I brought home at least 3 books on football a week or was reading the old NFL Punt, Pass, & Kick books at the Boys Club. Of course when I wasn’t outside playing football but the pilot light was on and I wanted to read more first on Kramer’s Packers and beyond.

Fast forward many decades and into the social media age and I looked up a couple of random old school football players and connected. Jerry was one of them. Of course to say hello and was a fan of his and make a mild acquaintance. Then in early 2010 things changed… Bored with several business writing courses I decided to write a few short stories based on championship teams to get people talking about football on Facebook. I grabbed a series of Super Bowl and conference championship rings and wrote 15 abstract stories based on what I knew of those teams and could share beyond a box score.

One of which was “The Ghost of Vince Lombardi” and the strange circumstances that befell every 2 time champion trying to win 3 in a row. Yet it was Jerry and several former players responding to the story of the Baltimore Colts not receiving a ring for losing Super Bowl III is when the “Aha” moment came. Like I said I was just trying to get Vance Lockett and a few football fanatics to talk old teams and in one day afternoon more than 500 email notifications while I was out with Edie. That validation is what started me writing and accumulating articles here.

When thinking of content to write about I thought of players who hadn’t made the Pro Football Hall of Fame who should be. If I were in that room with the writers, what would I say to make my point and  deflect counterpoints before they could take shape? On July 26th, 2011 I penned Jerry Kramer Belongs in The Hall of Fame which was read and widely shared. Alicia and I had become friends then and our conversations began.

You wouldn’t believe how many posted and emailed saying they thought Jerry was in already. No… he isn’t. One of the first conversations was with the late Dave Edwards who played across from Jerry’s Packers in The Ice Bowl for the Cowboys. Then Alicia embarked on her journey to raise awareness that her father Jerry, an all time great, had yet to have that “knock on the door”.  Alicia asked if I would help her with the page and without hesitation let her know that I would. I was known for uploading a lot of football footage from all I had recorded from 1982 to the present. So up went “The Ice Bowl” several America’s Game’s for the Lombardi Packers and she grew it from there.

All the while asking people to write Joe Horrigan and the Pro Football Hall of Fame on behalf of her father being selected. She grew that group incredibly quick and a sea of Packer fans flocked to the group in support and the letter writing took off in earnest. Posts with autographs Jerry had given fans over the years, publications shared and everything Jerry to keep the movement going and raise awareness.

There were some disappointing days when Jerry’s name didn’t make it past the semifinal round. Then when it looked like February 2016 as a finalist… this would be it! No knock on the door. However Alicia was the first to tell me Kevin Greene did get in from the hotel in San Francisco and 6 months later I was preparing to go as Kevin and Tara’s guest when I said “Alicia, you have to send me something to wear as a political statement” to which she agreed.

Fully expecting a JK for the Hall of Fame t-shirt, I opened the package to an autographed jersey. I told her I’m wearing it into “The Hall”. Now keep in mind Brett Favre was being inducted also and Packer jerseys were there 10-1. As I toured the autograph area and bunched in with fans trying to catch a glimpse at HOF members going in and out of what I believed was the Nitschke Luncheon. “Jerry should be in the hall!” “Open your doors for #64!” was shouted at least 100 times by Packer fans in the few hours before entering The Hall.

Even met my friend Ryan VanAcker entering the Hall of Fame because of my wearing Kramer’s jersey. Now 2 years later we’re attending Jerry’s enshrinement together from Arizona.

Now we’re just 48 hours away as a 7 year march for TBT and a 46 year march for Jerry concludes Saturday evening. To watch Alicia and Daniel keep up the march from the Facebook page over the years has been special. Especially Alicia as I watched the movement grow from an idea to former players rallying and writing letters, even former Hall of Famers lending their names. Proud of all the work she put in and tirelessly worked toward. I am happy to have been a part of it as a weekend that at times felt would never arrive, is actually upon us.

There will definitely be a few glasses of wine to celebrate Jerry’s enshrinement. A lifetime achievement where he will be recognized as a giant of the game. He’s always been one… its just time for his official commencement. The Chancellor of Football will be boarding a plane in less than 24 hours. I just had to chronicle this before we gather in Canton.

Congratulations Jerry Kramer, you’re a Hall of Famer!

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SUPER BOWL II CHAMPION 1967 GREEN BAY PACKERS & The Ghost of Vince Lombardi

To threepeat or 3 NFL Championships in a row…only time it’s been done in the modern era…19651966-1967…concluded with Super Bowl II win over the Oakland Raiders 33-14 and included the legendary ICE Bowl win over Dallas in the NFL Championship game 21-17. Legendary teams do legendary things! Can you imagine playing football in -15*F and wind chill near -50*F in 1960s fabrics?? Yikes but that’s what made the difference between Lombardi’s Packers and Dallas during that game. I can’t remember a famous last minute drive under similar conditions. I mean “The Drive” of Elway fame, Cleveland v. Denver in 1986, took place in a balmy 12 degrees.

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Super Bowl II was the final of 3 NFL championships in a row. Hence the 3 large diamonds.

But wow, three championships in a row! Vince Lombardi IS a football God and he kept teams from equaling that feat. Look at the strange circumstances that surrounded others trying to equal it…its Lombardi I tell ya’

1. Early 70s Dolphins after winning Super Bowls 7 & 8, loses to the Oakland Raiders in the famous Sea of Hands play in ’74 playoffs…Divine intervention? Go watch that play and you’ll see that the Dolphins had 2 backups trying to cover the throw from Ken Stabler to Clarence Davis…the Dolphins lost two DBs in the second half of that game and also gave up a bomb to Cliff Branch in the 4th quarter also…not saying Lombardi did it…but he had a hand in it…

2. Pittsburgh Steelers win Super Bowls 9 & 10 come into ’76 primed to duplicate. Long story short…Pittsburgh overcomes a bad start and in winning their last 9 games while only giving up 28 pts including 5 shutouts. Both Rocky Bleier AND Franco Harris rushed for 1,000 yds that season with Bradshaw injured.

Finally healthy they light up Baltimore 40-14 in the divisional playoff (only AFC playoff pt total that high in the 70s) and lose BOTH Franco and Rocky in that game? Really?? Without either RB able to play the next week, they lose to the Raiders in AFC title game 24-7. I’m tellin’ you…Lombardi has something to do with all these strange circumstances…

super bowl ii23. Oh those wonderful 49ers of late 80s lore. Won back to back in Super Bowls 23 and 24, started 1990 10-0 and went on to go 14-2 and host their old protagonist, the New York Giants in the NFC Championship. Now yes, Leonard Marshall knocked Joe Montana from the game…but leading 13-12 and running out the clock, dependable Roger Craig loses the ball, squirting out behind him without really being hit? WTH? Giants recover and make last second field goal to escape 15-13: I can’t make this up!! Ghost of Lombardi and another strange circumstance…

4. The boisterous Dallas Cowboys of Super Bowls 27 and 28, and fairly healthy yet without Jimmy Johnson are coming to San Fran for the ’94 NFC Championship, were geared up for this battle. OK, Emmitt Smith was nursing a hamstring injury. Including the playoff game with the Packers, the week before, the Cowboys had only turned the ball over 20 times all year!! ALLYEAR!!

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Jerry Kramer’s ring last week 9/23/17 in Green Bay

Wouldn’t you know they turned it over 3 times in 5 minutes and were out of it 21-0 after 7 minutes of play on their way to losing 38-28…so Emmitt’s hamstring had nothin’ to do with it! LOL. This represented the first time in NFL/NFC championship history that a team was down 21-0 in the 1st quarter. That is a span from 1933-1994!! 61 yrs that hadn’t happened. Off in the distance you can hear Lombardi’s ghost chuckling…

super bowl ii35. Then you had the steady Denver Broncos who won Super Bowls 32 and 33, over the Packers and Falcons respectively. With an opportunistic defense, John Elway with Terrell Davis (the 2000 yd rusher in 1998) was the engine that made that team go.

With the specter of a possible three-peat looming, Elway decided to retire. Shanahan whom many thought would start Bubby Brister the veteran over 2nd year player Brian Griese… a total brain freeze where Lombardi must have “clouded his judgment.” LOL So what happened…? Enter 1999, the Broncos struggled out of the gate 0-2 when Griese threw an interception against the Jets in week 3, Terrell Davis blew out his knee while making the tackle.

Now the two most indispensable Broncos: Davis and Elway were gone and the 0-3 record doomed the season… In a more ironic twist, tackle Mark Lepsis was a backup tackle in ’98, was the first to help Davis off the ground when he crossed 2,000 yards. It was he who fell on Davis in ’99 blowing out his knee on exactly the same spot on the field. Ah, that Lombardi…can almost hear his voice now “What the hell is goin’ on out here?”

super-bowl-logo-1967Now someone may ask “what about the 78-79 Steelers or the ’03-’04 New England Patriots?” Well let’s just say Lombardi’s intervention wasn’t necessary. The ’80 Steelers were swept by perennial division rival doormat Cincinnati, which gave the Browns the division title knocking Pittsburgh out of the playoffs. Hmmm maybe Vince was busy.

The Patriots just seemed to run out of gas in their playoff run. All strange circumstances of Green Bay’s 3 championships about to be equaled and goofy, weird circumstances kept it from happening EACH time. If you listen closely, off in the distance, you can hear Vince laughing.

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SUPER BOWL I CHAMPION 1966 GREEN BAY PACKERS

War of the Worlds… The first meeting of champions from both the upstart American Football League, and the established National Football League took place on January 15, 1967 in Los Angeles. NFL Films called it “Spectacle of a Sport” and it was when you think about it. Separate leagues, separate television contracts, and even different balls made the two leagues as different as night and day. The AFL was the league that went for 2 pt conversions and had the names of the players on the back of the jersey where the more established NFL was more conservative by nature.

Even the Super Bowl trophy was new as Pete Rozelle commissioned a new trophy produced every year. Up until that point the championship trophy rotated to the winning organization for that year. So the NFL trophy that made the rounds stayed in Green Bay at the conclusion of the 1965 season when the Packers dethroned the defending champion Cleveland Browns 23-12.

4654756ringDid you know the LA Coliseum for Super Bowl I had over 15,000 empty seats? The game was broadcast on 2 networks….well kinda…lol Pete Rozelle and the NFL had the main CBS feed and microphone, where the AFL’s NBC just gave a commentary over the video supplied by CBS for their broadcast. So after the game, commentators for both networks were fighting over the INDIVIDUAL locker room microphone after the game when it was time for the trophy presentation and subsequent interview of Vince Lombardi. That is nuts…

How far had the AFL come in the 6 years since its inception? The Chiefs were behind only 14-10 after a 1st half where the Chiefs held their own however the game changed on a Willie Wood interception in the 3rd quarter, running it back to the Chief 5. A few touchdowns later and the Packers were on cruise control 35-10 which was the final.

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Super Bowl I Trophy sits in the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame.

In my opinion, this was the best of the Green Bay champions of the 1960s. They were more diverse than previous champions and the mixture of young talent with the veterans made for a lethal combination. The exact peak where veteran savvy and physical ability meet before aging would slow the Packer machine. You still had Jim Taylor as the bludgeoning fullback where at halfback Elijah Pitts along with rookie Donny Anderson supplemented aging Paul Hornung. Bart Starr was now the chief QB in the league who threw for 4TDs in the ’66 NFL title game against Dallas and 2 more against the Chiefs in the Super Bowl which doesn’t include a 64 yd TD strike to Carroll Dale that was called back. What 3 yards and a cloud of dust? This team wasn’t just running sweeps anymore.

Speaking of sweeps: Forrest Gregg, Jerry Kramer, Bill Curry, Fuzzy Thurston (always loved that name), and Bob Skoronski were still supplying those holes and were the essence of the Packers. They beat you on the line of scrimmage…that plain and simple. Forrest Gregg went on to win a 3rd ring with the Cowboys in Super Bowl VI and coached the Cincinnati Bengals to Super Bowl XVI. Kramer became the voice of that team thru a series of bestselling books. Curry went on to play in 2 more Super Bowls with the Baltimore Colts and coached at the University of Alabama as well.

Thurman SuperBowl XXV 233These men paved the way for many a 1,000 yd rusher in the 60’s. TE Marv Fleming has to be added to the mix since TEs had to block back then. Fleming replaced Ron Kramer as Starr’s short pass option over the middle. He would go on to play in 5 of the first 8 Super Bowls (3 with Miami) becoming the first man to win 4 rings (the Charles Haley of his day). Carroll Dale, Boyd Dowler, and “out all night” Max McGhee were steady, heady receivers. Max went on to enjoy success in the restaurant business… Chi Chi’s I believe.

Again…winning on the line was the name of the game with the Packers when it came to defense: Willie Davis, Ron Kostelnik, the late Henry Jordan, and the late Lionel Aldridge were draped on Len Dawson in the second half of Super Bowl I like a tailored suit. They were a veteran group that did its main job of stopping the run, and in a 4-3 defense, keep blockers off of the MLB. Since the late Ray Nitschke skated into the Hall of Fame, I think it’s fair to say they did it well. How many highlights do you see Nitschke making plays tackle to tackle? Tons. Texan Lee Roy Caffey and Hall of Famer Dave Robinson were solid at outside linebacker. Robinson along with Bobby Bell were the prototype to the modern outside linebacker with their size and range when the league brought in the Robert Braziles, Clay Matthews, Lawrence Taylors and Ricky Jacksons in the 80’s.

super-bowl-logo-1966The late Bob Jeter, former USC quarterback turned safety Hall of Famer Willie Wood, Tom Brown, and Hall of Famer Herb Adderley (converted RB from Michigan State) was simply the best defensive backfield in football…maybe football history. Who could read a QB better than a former QB? When it came to athletes Adderley in his heyday was Deion Sanders without the flash. Adderley won another ring in Super Bowl II with the Packers then would go on to play in 2 more Super Bowls with Dallas, winning in Super Bowl VI along with Forrest Gregg. However Adderley was still a starter and blanketed Hall of Famer Paul Warfield, of Miami, in that game some 5 yrs later.

Another look at this team tells you another story. Lombardi coached at a time when it was expressed Italians / Catholics weren’t viewed as football coaches. See how he didn’t get the job to replace Jim Lee Howell in New York originally. This is at a time where would be voted President back in the late 50’s. I bring this up because as you look up the racial make up for most teams in the 60’s, the Packers more than any team did more for diversity and breaking quotas than any other team. At least in the NFL. This group was champion a few years before the 1969 Chiefs who became the first team to win it all with minorities comprising more than half their roster.

Yet Lombardi had black linebackers and safeties on his defense or in the “thinking man spots” that wasn’t prevalent in the 1960’s NFL.

Lombardi had a lot to do with that obviously and they were constant champions. Not 3 in 4 yrs, not 2 Super Bowls in a row, not 4 Super Bowls won in a decade. They won half (FIVE) of the decades championships, there must have been suicidal Bears fans everywhere in the 60s.

Aside from football X’s and O’s this football team will never be forgotten.

Vincent T. Lombardi – Growing Up Lombardi & The 1965 NFL Championship Season

Vince Lombardi carried off the field by Jerry Kramer at the end of Super Bowl II

Vince Lombardi carried off the field by Jerry Kramer at the end of Super Bowl II

When the NFL talks about winning coaches, one name towers above all others…Vince Lombardi. He was a leader of men and motivated the Green Bay Packers to great heights in the 1960’s. His team won half the NFL championships of the 1960’s while appearing in 6 total. No team has won more than four in a decade in the modern era. Yet when folks talk about a three-peat, everyone keeps forgetting Lombardi and his Packers achieved this feat.

Think about that for a second… Chuck Noll would have had to take the 1970’s Pittsburgh Steelers to two more Super Bowls to equal that feat. Yet there is debate on who was the greater team. You have to give the edge to Green Bay because they did win three in a row. When they say no one has achieved this in the Super Bowl era, that isn’t entirely true.

The two that concluded this 3 year period were victories in Super Bowl I & II. Yet there is one season that seems to go overlooked of the Lombardi Packers…the 1965 NFL Championship team.

The 1961 Packers were known for Lombardi’s first championship. It’s the 1962 team that was remembered as Lombardi’s greatest and strongest team. Only a Thanksgiving Day ambush 26-14 loss to the Lions kept them from going undefeated. They were 13-1 while outscoring the opposition 415-148 while repeating as champions. Of course his ’66 squad won the first Super Bowl and the ’67 team was known for winning The Ice Bowl then Lombardi’s last game, Super Bowl II.

However when you go back to 1965, the Green Bay Packers were trying to re-establish themselves among the NFL elite. They had a chance to win 3 in a row after ’61 & ’62, however Paul Hornung’s season long suspension for gambling short circuited that effort. After watching the Bears and Colts win their conference in 1963 and 1964, the Packers were back to contend.  However there was a new bully on the block. The Cleveland Browns powered by Jim Brown had won it all in 1964, and were looking to repeat in 1965 to take their place among greatest league champions.

In their 23-12 victory over Cleveland, the Packers not only ended Jim Brown’s playing career on a down note, they would be the last to hold the rotating NFL trophy that moved from champion to champion. The following year was the first to be played under the merger agreement and the Tiffany Company started to produce a Super Bowl Trophy every year. Lombardi had driven his team back to prominence where they would sit atop the football world for three years. They had unseated a reigning champion to do it. That can’t be underscored.

After defeating the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II, Vince Lombardi stepped down as coach. He had his secretary draft his resignation letter which sits in the Packers Hall of Fame:

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After winning 99 games in 9 years, 6 conference championships, and five world championships, how does one follow that type of success?? Most of the Packers players had mainly played for Vince Lombardi and were used to his demanding, driving spirit. Bart Starr, Jerry Kramer, Fuzzy Thurston, Ray Nitschke, Willie Davis, Forrest Gregg, and Herb Adderley had all grown up Lombardi. Now as we look back should they have replaced the Green Bay legend with a coach that was similar in temperament??

Vince Lombardi will always be seen as the gold standard when it comes to NFL coaches. One unique aspects of his tenure and times are the broken stereotypes that were forged through his career. It was thought of at the time he wouldn’t become a head coach or be successful because of his Italian and Catholic roots. It was one of the reasons he didn’t succeed New York Giant Head Coach Jim Lee Howell, whom he served as Offensive Coordinator during the championship years 1956-1958. Only once he was hired and successful in Green Bay did they try to lure him back. Ironically he beat the Giants for his first two championships. Prejudice is bad for business.

Furthermore the NFL during that time was one where black players were unable to play the “thinking” positions on defense such as linebacker or safety. There had to be a sensitivity to that plight because of the stigmas Lombardi himself faced. Although Willie Wood was unable to play quarterback in the pros, he went on to be an 8 time Pro bowl participant and became a Hall of Fame player. The same for Linebacker Dave Robinson, who was just elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this past February.

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Ryan and The Chancellor at Vince Lombardi’s statue outside Lambeau Field 9/21/17.

One reason his legend has become so large is he passed away in 1970, just 3 seasons removed from coaching his great Packer teams. This leads to several question. He coached the Washington Redskins to a 7-5-2 record in his only season of 1969. Ironically his first season in Green Bay was 7-5 in 1959.

  • Would he have completed the rebuild of the Washington Redskins?? Remember they did play in Super Bowl VII just 3 years later.
  • Would his legend have been damaged had he only a  moderately successful career had he lived longer and coached the Redskins into the mid 1970’s??
  • If he had gone back to New York and coached the Giants in 1960 would he have been as successful as he went on to become in Green Bay??
Green Bay Packers 1965 NFL Championship Ring

Green Bay Packers 1965 NFL Championship Ring

After his passing in September of 1970, the NFL decided to name the Super Bowl Trophy in his honor.  In such a condensed time of 9 years, his teams won 5 championships. Don Shula, the NFL’s all time winningest coach won 2 in 33 years. Tom Landry won 2 in 29 years. All time greatest coach in NFL history?? You better believe it. Of all his great teams, it’s the 1965 team that seems to be forgotten. After all they were the first in the only successful three-peat in NFL history won on the field, and is the chief reason he’s immortalized.

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Adderley

The Chancellor Of Football’s Take: Hall of Fame Voting

The Pro Football Hall Of Fame in Canton, Ohio

When I learned that Jerry Kramer was skipped over as a senior nominee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I just had utter contempt for the sportswriters who seem to be the gatekeepers of history. It felt like they were going to work against the groundswell of support for Kramer and the passion from fans talking about his exclusion. I think the selection committee needs to have a few more wrinkles thrown into the mix.

Sure there are personal reasons as to why I would think a player deserves to be in the Hall and is the foremost problem with the voting. There is no way to ignore your own thoughts or feelings about a person’s nomination being put before you. There will be partiality. You’ll remember that last year (______) didn’t vote for my guy so I won’t vote for his this year. That is human nature. So you have to do it by a committee there would be no other way.

Chancellor.halloffameWhen I think of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I think of a treasured museum for everyone who ever played the game, at ANY level, could appreciate. The ongoing history to the greatest sport there is and the telling of that story. Don’t tell me that Emmitt Smith is the greatest if you can’t tell me who Jim Brown was, or OJ Simpson, Ernie Nevers, or who Steve Van Buren was. Someone saying he didn’t see Bronko Nagurski or Red Grange isn’t enough. There are books, the Taylor Blitz Times or more important this incredible museum housing all this history. That’s what makes this building significant.

hof_gallery_visit-1With it’s enshrinees and special wings to memorable moments, the 92 year history of the NFL, the 10 years of the AFL, and early football pioneers before the NFL, come to life. This is where fathers get to teach sons moments in history… Like the famous “wristband” of Baltimore Colt running back Tom Matte from the 1960s. When injuries to the Colts quarterbacks pressed Matte into service, Don Shula supplied him with a “wristband” with the play calls on it for him to remember. That is how he got through the game as a fill in quarterback.

Not only does that legacy live on to this day with every NFL quarterback wearing one, but right now as you read this…there is a father or mother teaching their son that story and looking at the actual “wristband”. What dreams and goals will that kid aspire to upon learning that and tossing the ball with his father the next day?? What if that kid grows up to be the next Dan Marino or Johnny Unitas??

chancellor.blackcollegeThis is why it is important the players, coaches, innovators, owners and their stories should be here to be told. Its for us to relive moments and future generations to learn how things came to be. The special men who were the embodiment of  the very spirit of football.

Which brings us back to The Chancellor’s thoughts on the matter. A few things should be changed which would allow for a  smoother selection process. First things first… we couldn’t just turn the vote over to the fans. This would significantly cheapen the situation and dumb it down to just a popularity contest. We would just have Dallas Cowboys or Pittsburgh Steelers enshrined from this point on…so this one gets thrown out yet not entirely…

The first item to be changed is there should be 30 Hall of Fame players involved in the voting. Who would be better at this than those players who played with or against players coming up for nomination?? How has it gone this far without their inclusion?? A Hall of Famer would best know what another Hall of Famer would look like and play like. Here a nominee would need a majority vote. These votes are confidential…

Secondly, scale back the number of non football playing voters to 30, which would include the Chancellor, and these accounts along with enshrined members would be a better panel to debate who is a Hall of Famer than not. Those writers would be able to hear accounts from the inside that they wouldn’t be aware of without hearing from those players peers. Here a nominee would need half of the vote to make it. Not only that…there needs to be new blood in this pool with the advent of successful blog writers and historians in the mix, the terms for limitation to be on this committee should be 7-10 years. These votes aren’t confidential…

ryan.ronLast would be one where the fans would have a vote. A write in candidate with a specific number of write in votes by the fans and former players. That number to be determined and the fans (who are the paying customers) would have a little say. Number to be determined later by a committee.

If this were to be done there would be a better selection process and those voting would be held accountable for their vote. Why have the Hall of Famers votes confidential?? They belong to an exclusive club. Its like the Ray Nitschke luncheon. That is not for us… that is for those players who belong to that club to share in it’s exclusivity about what it means to be there and how they are their brother’s keeper. They don’t have to share who they think should be in and why. They do so with a vote.

My feelings on the selection process has been this way for many years yet I had the chance to see it from the other side. Those of you who have been following this blog know that I have my own nominations for players who should be in the Hall of Fame. One of the first articles I wrote was on Jerry Kramer last year on July 26th. Now I’m not exactly sure as to where it took place but I shared many videos of the 1960’s Green Bay Packers here and on Facebook. I came to know Alicia Kramer who spearheaded a great campaign to help her father get inducted to his rightful place. She asked me to be an administrator to the facebook page Jerry KramerHOF to which I was honored.

Seriously, I read two of his books as a kid including Distant Replay, which is one of the reasons I love and write about Pro Football. The fact that he had read and enjoyed a few of my stories on Facebook were a reciprocal part of the journey and why I share with other fans what is on my mind about football and the history of the game.  I contributed as often as I could with videos and such and wrote a letter to “The Hall” pleading for his nomination. I remember uploading the 1968 Green Bay Packers America’s Game to the page. To be right there from the start of that page and watch her work grow to include Hall of Fame members lending their support and passionate fans as well, it is something incredible to be a part of.

When the senior nomination came back without Jerry Kramer’s name on it, I took it personally…and still am. There were countless letters written by enshrinees such as Lem Barney, Jim Kelly, Bob Lilly, Dave Wilcox just to name a few yet Kramer’s nomination comes down to writers over former players?? No way. All the while from my first article to placing it on my Facebook page several times, at least one person would ask “Jerry Kramer is not in the HOF?” every single time.

I also shared an email exchange with Kevin Greene when he didn’t make the finalist round this year. These players who deserve their legacies to be secured earned this right. Those gatekeepers to history need to be guarded more by the enshrinees themselves than writers. That is what I learned from this last year through Alicia’s work. If it were up to them, Kramer wins by a landslide. Yet its time for forward and positive energy. Onward to 2013 and his certain nomination.

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Dedicated to the memory of Hall Of Fame Member Steve Van Buren who passed away last week. RIP You were a great running back and a true warrior of the game. Thank you!!

Other articles on who The Chancellor thinks should be in the Hall

Kevin Greene

Chuck Foreman

Lester Hayes

Tom Flores

Cris Carter

Everson Walls

Terrell Davis

Randy Moss

Sterling Sharpe

Robert Brazile

Drew Pearson

Cliff Branch 

Ken Stabler

Ken Riley

Corey Dillon

Roger Craig

Andre Reed

Edgerrin James

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2011 Predictions Continued …and the winner of the NFC is…??

The new version of the George S. Halas trophy given out last year. Emblematic of the Champion of the NFC

With every NFL season comes the prognostication of who will win each division and then who will win the Super Bowl. Well we’re not going to reveal that just yet but we are certain of several things. One, is our crystal ball is a little hazy but it usually works. It uses D Cell batteries and Duracell usua…..oops ,excuse me.  This happens whenever I write the article myself while having tequila…yet I digress

Our choices to make this year’s NFC Championship race are as follows:

1. Green Bay Packers – NFC North Champs w/ homefield advantage throughout playoffs.

2. Atlanta Falcons – NFC South Champs w/ second seed in the playoffs. If the Packers stumble in the divisional round, Falcons would host the NFC Championship Game.

3. Philadelphia Eagles -NFC East Champs. Will participate in the wildcard round and can only host the NFC Championship Game if #3 seed and lower meet. Will host the 6th seed wildcard weekend.

4. St. Louis Rams – NFC West Champs. Will participate in the wildcard round and can only host the NFC Championship Game if #4 seed and lower meet. Will host the 5th seed wildcard weekend.

5. Detroit Lions – The top record of non divisional winners and will face the 4th seeded team on the road during Wildcard weekend. Could only host the NFC Championship Game if #5 and #6 teams were to meet. (Has never happened)

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The second best record of a non division winner and will face the 3rd seed during Wildcard weekend on the road. Cannot host any playoff game no matter what.

Now that the lesser teams are vanquished, how would the playoffs line up.  Try the St. Louis Rams hosting the Detroit Lions during wildcard weekend. This would be a game to determine who would have the upper hand between two teams that would figure prominently in the Super Bowl chase in the upcoming years. In a game like that we would have to take the team with the most playmakers and that would be the Lions moving on.  In the other wildcard matchup, Tampa would face Philadelphia in a matchup to mimic those from the 2000 -2003 where a physical battle would be determined by mistake proof football.  The big question would be “Can Philadelphia stand up to the battle-hardened Buccaneers??” We say no…just like in 2010 and most of Michael Vick’s career he would be recovering from a late season injury and wouldn’t be 100%. This game would be a 50/50 toss up and would tilt in the upstarts favor if the game stayed tight.  In a game like this, the Eagles would have to get on top of the Bucs, 14- 0 or 20-3, and get them out of their gameplan early. Being a finesse team would play against the Eagles and they’d go down in wildcard weekend in the second upset of the playoffs.

On to the divisional round where the big boys would then kick things into high gear.  First the Buccaneers would take on the Atlanta Falcons for the third time in the season and would play them to a stalemate. However being that the Bucs were in their first foray late in the playoffs you’d have to figure the Falcons would force an additional turnover that would send Tampa to defeat. The Falcons would then make the pilgrimage to the NFC Championship game for the second time in their history.

There they would take on the Green Bay Packers who would best a Lion team who was in the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. The Lions would be arriving on the scene a year too early for their best effort and would lose to the Packers setting up the NFC Championship Game. Atlanta Falcons @ Green Bay Packers.

In a rematch of the previous year’s divisional playoff game won by the Packers 48-21, this would be a little closer based upon the cold weather. Yes, we’re saying that being in Lambeau Field would benefit the Falcon defense. The year before, the Falcons were carved up in a controlled environment at home.  In the arctic climes of Lambeau, the playing style would bring the teams closer together in terms of score. Yet the Packers would prevail 26-17 to make it to their second straight Super Bowl with the George S. Halas Trophy presented by former Packer legend Jerry Kramer. Hopefully Kramer would be there to deliver the trophy on the backdrop that he would be a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Packer faithful would then descend on Indianapolis in search of their 14th championship.  Would they get it?? Sorry, you’ll have to stay tuned for that.  As for this look into the crystal ball… Green Bay would represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLVI… So who would they play??

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