As a Chicago Bears fan, the Green Bay Packers aren’t exactly dear to my heart. The anti-Cheesehead sentiment escalated to new heights last week when Aaron Rodgers and company ripped the hearts out of Bears lovers everywhere. But, no matter who your team is, fair is fair, right is right, and wrong is wrong. Right now there’s something rotten in Canton, and it has nothing to do with cheese.
Jerry Kramer is one of the best to ever put on an NFL uniform. During his 11-year career with the Packers, Kramer shined at guard, blocking his way to five All-Pro selections and five NFL championships. After creating holes for greats like Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor, Kramer made the NFL All-Decade squad for the 1960s. Later, he was named to the NFL’s 50th anniversary team. Well deserved. One huge problem though. Everyone on that team has been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Everyone that is, except for Kramer. This must change.
Vince Lombardi’s teams reeled off five championships in the 60s and Kramer was a main cog in the operation. Not only was he a tremendous guard, he even did some kicking. Kramer booted three key field goals despite big New York winds to help his Pack beat the Giants in the 1962 NFL Championship Game. In the 1965 title tilt Green Bay downed the Browns behind a running attack that featured over 100 yards for Hornung and just under 100 for Taylor. Kramer was one of those doing the dirty work so his backs had room to roam.
Kramer also starred in the Ice Bowl. The Packers 68-yard drive with under five minutes to go ended on Bart Starr’s game winning quarterback sneak for a touchdown behind a Kramer block.
So why no call from the Hall? Sure, it’s harder to gauge the career of offensive linemen because you don’t have the stats to look at or the numbers to crunch like you do with backs and receivers. It’s more of an eye test. But that’s exactly what makes Kramer’s omission even more of a head scratcher. Any tape of Kramer shows him doing his job and than some. Pulling, blocking, working hard, and winning. Over a decade of standout play. Kramer’s been a Hall of Fame finalist several times, but for whatever reason he has been shut out. This should bother anyone who loves the game of football. A man who played the game at a high level, with integrity and class is not among the greats where he clearly should be. This Pro Bowler is in the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame but still Canton eludes him. If you think he’s sitting and waiting for the phone to ring though, you’d be wrong.
“I was very emotional about it the first few years I didn’t get in,” Kramer said. “I expected to get in especially after being named to the 50th anniversary team. Then it didn’t happen, it didn’t happen, and it didn’t happen.”
That’s the reality. The reason for it is a mystery.
“I must’ve made somebody very unhappy along the way,” Kramer said. “I am not going to let this impact my life or my career. It’s been an absolutely wonderful ride. The game has been sensational to me. I have zero regrets. It’s just been a moment of a lifetime. I couldn’t ask for anything more. I’ve been very blessed in the football world.”
What a class act.
Still Kramer is human, and he admits he’s puzzled by it all. Recently while watching the NFL Network, Kramer saw a segment on the top ten Packers of all-time. He’s on that list, while several Hall of Fame Packers are not. “It’d be fun to find out precisely what it is,” said Kramer. “It’d be interesting to find out.”
The only incident Kramer can recall was when he got in to a little tussle with the Green Bay Hall of Fame representative years ago. Vince Lombardi wasn’t happy. “I later apologized for it and he was fine,” Kramer said. “In fact he nominated me for the Hall. That’s all I can think of.”
While the still effervescent Kramer seems to be taking the snub in stride, not all Kramers are so, shall we say holding back. Kramer’s daughter Alicia has been pushing hard for her father to be inducted. She started a web site , a Facebook page , and a Twitter account encouraging fans to write to the Hall of Fame and nominate her dad.
“I told her I’m not involved,” Kramer told Breitbart Sports. “I said if you want to do it though, go ahead. She has been doing it the last couple years and she’s been having fun with it. It’s been a pleasant exercise for her.”
NFL greats are backing Kramer too. Many have written the Hall of Fame to express their support for old #64. He’s been endorsed by not only Packers but peers from several different teams. Even Bears greats Doug Atkins and Mike Ditka have backed Kramer.
“The whole thing is funny because I’m getting so much conversation about it,” Kramer said with a smile. “If I had been in the Hall for thirty years no one would care.”
Either way, plenty of people care now. Jerry Kramer is a Hall of Fame player. It’s time to make it official. We’ve all seen that famous photo of Kramer carrying Lombardi off the field after Green Bay’s Super Bowl II win over Oakland. Now it’s up to us to carry Kramer into the Hall of Fame. His daughter, NFL greats, the city of Green Bay, and even Bears fans won’t stop until it’s a reality.
Before Jerry Kramer blocked for Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor, he was opening holes for Chuck Heath Sr. That’s right, Sarah Palin’s dad and Kramer were teammates in high school. Kramer will discuss his days in Idaho with Heath and much more when he appears on “The Palin Update” with Kevin Scholla Sunday, January 12 on SarahNET Radio. Follow Kevin Scholla on Twitter @KevinScholla