Brazile, Kramer HOF senior candidates for Class of 2018


Photo courtesy of the Green Bay Packers

CANTON, Ohio_The Pro Football Hall of Fame senior committee Thursday elected linebacker Robert Brazile and guard Jerry Kramer as its two candidates for the Class of 2018.

It will be the 11th time Kramer has been in the room as a finalist and his second time as a senior. The last time he reached the finals was 1997 as a senior. This will be the first time Brazile has been a finalist.

“I don’t know what to say,” said an emotional Brazile. “I’m speechless.”

Kramer was voted the best guard in the NFL’s first half century and also was named to the 1960s’ all-decade team. Kramer played 11 seasons and won five championships with the Packers. He was a first-team All-Pro selection five times and a Pro Bowler three times.

In addition to leading the way as a pulling guard on the signature play of the Green Bay Packers’ era – the Lombardi sweep – he served as the placekicker on the 1962-63 teams, booting 29 career field goals and scoring 177 points. He scored 10 of Green Bay’s points in a 16-7 victory over the New York Giants in the 1962 NFL title game.

“It’s a final chapter, I guess, in life,” said Kramer. “I won’t assume I get in, but it could possibly be a crown on top of everything else … the cherry on top of the pudding. It’s been a wonderful ride. Football has been a wonderful part of my life.”

Brazile was in the first wave of dominant outside linebackers in a 3-4 defense, lining up on the edge at Houston in the 1970s when Bum Phillips implemented that scheme with the Oilers. He played only 10 seasons but his 1,281 career tackles still ranks second in franchise history.

The sixth overall pick of the 1975 draft out of Jackson State, Brazile was named the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year and was the cornerstone of a defense that powered the Oilers to back-to-back AFC title games in 1978-79. Brazile was voted to seven Pro Bowls in his 10 seasons before retiring in 1985 following the death of his wife in a car accident.

Brazile collected 48 career sacks and 13 interceptions on his way to NFL all-decade acclaim for the 1970s.

Brazile and Kramer will be stand-alone candidates next February, not in competition for busts with the 15 modern-era candidates. They will be subjected to a yes/no vote from the full 48-member selection committee and would need 80 percent of the vote to be included in the Class of 2018.

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22 Comments

  1. Sports Fan
    August 24, 2017
    Reply

    “11TH TIME (JERRY KRAMER) HAS BEEN IN THE ROOM AS A FINALIST AND HIS SECOND TIME AS A SENIOR”

    INDUCT J.K. WHILE HE IS ALIVE!

    (previous comment/question from another post w/TOF)

    August 8, 2017
    August 2, 2017

    Question for:

    “THE KNOW HUDDLE”
    Ron Borges
    “Bogus or Borges”
    Rick Gosselin
    “Dr. Data”
    Clark Judge
    “Here Come da Judge”
    TOF Network
    &
    All Readers

    TRUE
    OR
    FALSE

    The Great Jerry Kramer and Tom Flores were teammates at one time?

  2. Rasputin
    August 24, 2017
    Reply

    Chuck Howley – 5 first team All Pro selections, SB MVP, 81 years old
    Robert Brazile – 2 first team All Pro selections, 64 years old

    I’m fine with Kramer getting nominated one last time, but Howley is even more qualified than Kramer, let alone Brazile, and has never had his shot. He’s also almost 20 years older than Brazile. At this point I consider any nomination slate that excludes Howley to be a failure.

    • bachslunch
      August 24, 2017
      Reply

      Rasputin, all good points to make, and Howley is the no. 1 OLB Senior snub for me as well, not to mention one of my top 5 Senior snubs period. Brazile and Kramer strike me as excellent choices, though, and given that we could have had one or more bad options nominated (which has happened in past at times), I’m happy these two are on the docket this time around.

      I count non-AP 1st team all pro selections, so for me that also makes Brazile a 5 time 1st team all pro.

      But yeah, I see your point, and it’s a fair one to make. Glad you did.

      • Rasputin
        August 25, 2017
        Reply

        Thanks, Bachslunch. While I agree that it’s legitimate to note awards given by other outfits, I’ll just say that I single out AP awards for two reasons. One, it’s the biggest media organization that’s been doing it the longest and its awards receive the most attention. For example, while some other groups name NFL MVPs, the AP chooses THE NFL MVP, the one everyone talks about, which is honored along with a slew of other AP awards at the NFL banquet each year (e.g. Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year).

        Two, selecting one outfit for special emphasis allows for apples to apples comparisons over time. Various entities naming All Pro teams have risen up and gone away at different times, or have gone back and forth between only picking All Conference teams and choosing All Pro teams, so the number of outfits giving such awards has fluctuated. If you’re going to pick one for special emphasis, the AP is the most logical choice since it’s been the most consistent over the decades.

        I agree that Brazile was a 5 time 1st team All Pro, but if I’m comparing his accolades to someone else like Howley I’d add an asterisk or point out that he made 2 first team AP teams while Howley made 5. I’d post similar clarifications if we’re discussing something like NFL MVPs to make sure we keep the comparisons in the same category. Maybe it’s somewhat analogous to Golden Globes and the Oscars in movies. They both give “Best Picture” and “Best Actor” awards, but if you’re comparing career awards won by people you don’t lump the Golden Globes, Oscars, and other groups’ awards together without qualification.

        • bachslunch
          August 26, 2017
          Reply

          Rasputin, thanks for the reply.

          The question of all pro teams is an interesting one that deserves a good, well-considered exploration (and in fact might make a good thesis or extended scholarly article subject). Best I can tell, there have been several organizations that have done this kind of thing.

          During the 1920s, these were picked by a small group of newspapers and magazines: Collyer’s Eye Magazine, the Green Bay Press-Gazette, and Chicago Tribune. And that tradition continued with papers like the New York Daily News, Sporting News, etc.

          News agencies didn’t get in the game here until UPI did in 1931. AP didn’t begin participation until 1940, so they’re not even the oldest news organization to do this. NEA joined the bandwagon still later.

          There have apparently been times when the leagues themselves picked teams (like the NFL in the 30s or the AFL during part of its run). And organizations like Pro Football Focus and Pro Football Writers have chosen teams of their own also. Nowadays, only AP, PFF, PFW, and SN do so.

          As far as whose teams to value, that’s the million dollar question. I’ve seen criticism of several such organizations, but it’s unclear how they really should be ranked. In fact, when NEA was choosing teams, they were considered in some quarters to be the best because they drew a good bit of input from the players themselves.

          So where does this leave things? Good question. My feeling is that absent good information about how to rank them, it’s best to treat them all equally unless there’s reason to believe they’re incompetent or biased in some way or have some other problems (such as Sporting News all pro teams being so broadly inclusive that they might as well be all conference teams up until the late 70s or thereabouts — I don’t count them during this time, for example). Thus for me (and for several other football researchers such as those at the PFR website), AP is just one of several organizations I count and weigh equally. For me, it’s the best way to go.

          • Rasputin
            August 26, 2017

            Bachslunch, I agree with you on the complexity of accolade dispensers and that there’s room for disagreement on how to view them. I’ll just add that the UPI stopped doing All Pro teams after 1969, switching to just doing All Conference teams for a couple of decades, before ending that too after 1996. The NEA, which did a player’s poll, ended theirs around the same time.

            So the AP is by far the longest running All Pro team namer, having continuously published them since 1940. Their choices have been described as the NFL’s “semi-official” All Pro team in news articles.

            Maybe more problematic are All Decade honors. They’re legitimately a huge feather in the cap of anyone who receives such an honor, but I don’t think they should necessarily count against a well qualified candidate who doesn’t land on an All Decade team. They’re inherently biased by calendar timing, working against players whose career peaks straddle decades. There has been some speculation that Chuck Howley’s lack of All Decade status could be hurting his candidacy (maybe if Gosselin were to chime in here we could get to the bottom of that), but I think that’d be misguided.

            As I’ve posted here before, respected football historian John Turney made Chuck Howley first team All Decade linebacker on HIS team (1965-1975), and as I think you (correct me if I’m wrong) and others have pointed out here, he really should have been 1960s All Decade anyway. The Talk of Fame Crew here routinely cite Turney as an authority worth listening to, so I wonder if they’re going to acknowledge his All Decade picks at some point, especially in regard to Howley.

          • bachslunch
            August 27, 2017

            Agreed that there are some issues around all decade teams, though they can be useful. The biggest problem is that they work well for players whose careers line up in sync with a decade but not for those whose careers straddle decades; folks like Howley, Jimmy Patton, Abe Woodson, Gale Gillingham, Jim Ray Smith, and John Niland get the short end of the stick here.

            And the teams themselves have some strange memberships. To pick four such teams — For the 50s, why is Joe Fortunato here when his best play happened in the 60s? Why is Jim Parker listed as a guard when he spent the 50s playing OT? For the 60s, why Larry Morris and Dave Robinson over Chuck Howley and Maxie Baughan? Why Howard Mudd over Ken Gray? Why John David Crow over Don Perkins or Dick Bass? For the 70s, why Lynn Swann over Harold Jackson? Why Harvey Martin over Claude Humphrey? For the 80s, why John Anderson and Carl Banks over Karl Mecklenburg and Rickey Jackson? Why Jimbo Covert over Jackie Slater?

            Again, these teams are useful. But they need to be looked at with a critical eye, too.

  3. Sam Goldenberg
    August 24, 2017
    Reply

    It is great that Jerry Kramer has been nominated. His credentials are overwhelming and on top of everything he is a living football treasure. Kudos to Rick, Ron and Clark for keeping Kramer’s case current with this tremendous forum. One last hurdle now to get him over the goal line. I think Pugh is high in his stance and run the 31 wedge behind the greatest guard in NFL’s first 50 years will finally get him inducted!!!

    • Rasputin
      August 24, 2017
      Reply

      Don’t forget the generous sheet of ice underneath that robbed the defensive line of any traction and made a short range QB sneak an easy slam dunk.

      Kramer’s legitimate HoF credentials don’t rest on that play. Heck, a lot of people think he even false started, though it’s hard for me to tell either way with the low quality footage.

      • Joseph Wright
        August 24, 2017
        Reply

        These Cowboy excuses are ridiculous. “Generous sheet of ice underneath that robbed the defensive line of any traction…” Uh, Razzie, Kramer and the Packers O-line had to deal with the same field, too.
        Put Kramer, Brazile, AND Mike Curtis in before Howley.

        Good to see you’re up to your old redneck tricks. Got deleted off the recent Kenny Easley post. You STILL don’t get it, do you. SMH.

        • Rasputin
          August 24, 2017
          Reply

          The offense has the initiative though, and you’re basically talking about having to fall forward for the score. No “excuses”, just an overrated play.

          I think everyone but you can agree that all those guys belong in Canton before Jack Tatum does, lol. And no, I just checked and saw my latest posts on the Easley are page are still there. Only one round got deleted earlier, possibly by an overly jumpy mod since they got into legal details (though just spelling out public evidence informing prosecutor/jury decisions).

          “redneck”

          I see you’re still resorting to ignorant, bigoted characterizations of people who embarrass you in debates.

  4. bachslunch
    August 24, 2017
    Reply

    Excellent choices, and here’s hoping neither encounters any problems getting in. The committee did a very good job this time around. Congratulations to both, and well done to the Senior committee.

  5. Rasputin
    August 24, 2017
    Reply

    In the interest of transparency, are you going to let us know how you voted, Rick Gosselin?

    • Sam Goldenberg
      August 24, 2017
      Reply

      I do agree with you on Chuck Howley. Hope he gets considered in the future. He was an outstanding player.

  6. Rob
    August 24, 2017
    Reply

    Gentleman, do you expect both men to be elected to the Hall of Fame in February? Rick, how will you present Kramer differently than people in the past?

  7. Jeff
    August 24, 2017
    Reply

    Great selections! I would’ve preferred Chuck Howley (or Robinson) to Brazile, but have no problem with him being elected. I sincerely hope that Kramer runs in to no further resistance.

  8. Jack
    August 25, 2017
    Reply

    is this the same guy they tweeted about?

    @Bob_Grip Apr 28
    Robert Brazile III is the son of former Houston Oilers’ linebacker Robert Brazile Jr.

    @Bob_Grip May 2
    Court records say BC Rain coach Robert Brazile III sent this message to a 17 year old student..

    • bachslunch
      August 26, 2017
      Reply

      Looks like the person charged was Brazile’s son, not Brazile himself. He’s not responsible for what his son may or may not have done, and I don’t see it affecting his HoF argument. Regardless, the PFHoF does not have a character clause.

  9. Jack
    August 25, 2017
    Reply

    is this the same guy they tweeted about?

    https://twitter.com/Bob_Grip/status/859483227597283329

  10. dfr52
    August 25, 2017
    Reply

    Both are outstanding candidates but I share the same sentiment on Howley and his career.

  11. JEP
    August 28, 2017
    Reply

    In his “MMQB” today, Peter King briefly discussed Kramer’s HOF nomination, mainly pointing out the many times he was nominated but not elected in the past, and really concluding only that this will no doubt be Kramer’s last chance. (Brazile was hardly mentioned). Not exactly a ringing endorsement from King, although he did not say he would vote against him. Makes me wonder if possibly King’s mentor/hero Paul Zimmerman, who was known to have very strong HOF opinions, was perhaps among those that had opposed Kramer in the past.

    • Joseph Wright
      August 28, 2017
      Reply

      I wouldn’t put it past Zimmerman, that rotten, racist, sonuvabitch. He kepts Ken Stabler out of the Hall until after the Snake died. He also bigottedly said in the so-called “Thinking Man’s Guide to Pro Football” in 1987 that the Philadelphia Eagles should make Randall Cunningham a running back. He NEVEr made that suggestion on Fran Tarkenton, Roger Staubach, John Elway, or Steve Young. And Peter King foolishly follows him and hangs on his every word like he’s God.

      After that bigotted crack on the Eagle QB, from 1987-1990, Cunningham completed more passes and threw more TDs than every NFL QB during that span except Dan Marino.

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