Best OL not in the Hall of Fame? It’s Kramer


Photo courtesy of the Green Bay Packers
Kramer2
(Jerry Kramer photos courtesy of the Green Bay Packers)

Talk of Fame Network

Johnny Unitas was named by the Hall-of-Fame selection committee as the greatest quarterback in the NFL’s first 50 years. He’s in the Hall of Fame. Jim Brown was named the greatest running back in the NFL’s first 50 years. He’s in the Hall of Fame.

Every player named the greatest at his position from the game’s first half century is enshrined in Canton except one. The greatest guard in the game’s first 50 years can’t get into the Hall of Fame – so Jerry Kramer waits for a turn that may never come.

Kramer remains the single greatest omission from Canton — an absence that was underscored in the Talk of Fame Network poll last week. We asked our listeners and readers to select the best offensive lineman not in the Hall of Fame and gave them six very deserving candidates.

Kramer won in a landslide with 66.8 percent of the vote. Of all the polls we posted over the last 22 months on our web site, this one charted the greatest participation with 4,100 votes. Kramer received 2,740 of the votes to outdistance former Washington Redskins tackle Joe Jacoby at 31.6 percent and 1,296 votes.

The Talk of Fame Network hosts all agreed with the vote.

“I will never understand how a guy picked as the only guard on the NFL’s 50th Year Anniversary team is not in the Hall of Fame,” Borges said. “Fifty years is a long time and a lot of guards. So it’s Jerry Kramer in a runaway.”

What puzzled Judge was that the Hall-of-Fame selection committee voted him the best guard of the first half century. Yet the same committee has passed him over 10 times for induction.

“It makes no sense to me,” Judge said.

Ed Budde of the Kansas City Chiefs, Winston Hill of the New York Jets, Kent Hull of the Buffalo Bills and Bob Kuechenberg of the Miami Dolphins all finished in single digits in the voting. And all four are worthy of Hall-of-Fame discussion, as well as Kramer and Jacoby. This may have been the most competitive slate of any poll we’ve ever posted.

Kramer has been eligible for the Hall of Fame for 42 years now and has been a finalist 10 times without ever having his ticket punched. He played 11 seasons with the Vince Lombardi-era Packers, helping Green Bay win five championships. He went to three Pro Bowls and was named to the NFL’s 1960s’ all-decade team. Kramer also served as Green Bay’s placekicker in 1962-63, scoring 156 points, and threw the key block that won the Ice Bowl in 1967.

Jacoby’s 1,296 votes would have won 98 percent of the previous polls we posted. Undrafted out of Louisville in 1981, he became a walk-in starter and a mainstay of the “Hogs” blocking front. He played on four Super Bowl teams – the first three at left tackle and the final one (1991) at right tackle.

Jacoby became the prototype for the modern-era left tackle with his basketball body (6-7, 295 pounds). He spent his career blocking the likes of Lawrence Taylor, Reggie White and Bruce Smith and was named to the 1980s’ NFL all-decade team for his efforts. Budde also was a 1960s’ AFL all-decade selection.

Courtesy Of The Washington Redskins

(Joe Jacoby photo courtesy of the Washington Redskins)

 

Previous State Your Case: Larry Brown
Next Who's the best DE not in the Hall of Fame?

26 Comments

  1. Sam Goldenberg
    May 4, 2016
    Reply

    Rick and Ron: Thank you for bringing Jerry Kramer’s case back into the limelight. As a Kramer fan I was amazed by the response and it led me to do some research into nominations made over the years by the Senior Selection Committee. My findings were a little troubling. Dick Stanfel was nominated 3 times (gaining induction last year). Stanfel, no doubt a fine player, was an offensive guard in the first 50 years of the NFL. Claude Humphrey, Lou Creekmur, and Henry Jordan were nominated twice before gaining induction. Yet the man named the the greatest guard in the first 50 years of the NFL can’t get another crack since he was nominated way back in 1997? I am not one for conspiracy theories and I know there are many candidates to consider annually, but it seems plausible that perhaps Mr. Kramer’s work as an author and personality in general may have alienated some writers that are on the Senior Selection Committee, as stated by some of the Kramer supporters on the thread during the voting process. The fans may never know the truth, but if this is the case it is very unfortunate. The Senior Selection Committee should be the guardian for the NFL Hall of Fame. A players credentials should be evaluated, not personality This committee should see to it that the most deserving candidates gain induction. The fact that the greatest offensive guard in the first 50 years of the NFL is not in the Hall of Fame is a glaring omission and diminishes the entire Hall of Fame. I have read the work of both you guys over the years, and you are not only fine writers but are fair minded and men of integrity. Thus, I have to ask you a favor. Please provide the other members of the Senior Selection Committee an “attitude adjustment” when considering Jerry Kramer’s case this year. I hope you don’t take my request as being out of line, as I know the issue is somewhat sensitive. Thank you.

  2. Mike avolio
    May 4, 2016
    Reply

    The NFL HOF voters should be ashamed of themselves. …

    Kramer is the single biggest omission by far.

    Whatever disagreements voters may have with him, they should rely on their integrity and vote him in simply because he DESERVES to be in…

    Stop being children about it and man up ..

  3. Daniel Kramer
    May 4, 2016
    Reply

    Thanks Rick and Ron. The only scenario that makes sense to me is that Dad really annoyed some Hall of Fame voters with his book Instant Replay. And fyi, Dad played 11 years, not 10. His rookie year was 1958 and his final year was 1968. GO Pop GO!

  4. Michael Lacey
    May 4, 2016
    Reply

    C’mon powers that be lets please get Jerry a gold jacket…he deserves one,oh and he only has FOUR championship rings,because for those of you who dont know Jerry gave up one of his most prized possessions his FIFTH championship ring (Superbowl #1) so that his beloved grandchildren could have a nest egg for their college expenses…who does that?!…I’ll tell you who,A true champion deserving of the Hall of Fame in Canton,thats who!

    my two cents
    M.L.

  5. Coby
    May 4, 2016
    Reply

    Jerry kramer is and will forever be my hero n friend..he was really nice n very respectful,n im very proud to have gotten to know him..he was really nice about taking pictures n i was well pleased.hes hall of fame n my book

  6. Anonymous
    May 5, 2016
    Reply

    I don’t understand whyJerry has not been inducted in the HOF. Something is not right and it appears to have nothing to do with the criteria for getting voted in. Jerry not only meets but exceeds all of the requirements. So many people from within the NFL and so many sports writers and fans are baffled by this position taken by the selection committee .

    It’s time to do the right thing. Vote Jerry Kramer in!!!!!

  7. May 5, 2016
    Reply

    I am so glad the Rick, Ron and Clark have put this matter into the limelight again. Rick and Ron are just two members of the Senior Select Committee. The other seven members need to realize what Rick and Ron (plus Clark) so obviously see.

    Not only did Jerry have a stellar career in the NFL in the regular season, where he was named All-Pro fives times, went to three Pro Bowls, was named All-Decade in the 1960s, plus was on the NFL’s 50th anniversary team, No. 64 truly excelled in crunch time, aka the postseason.

    The postseason when Vince Lombardi’s Packers were 9-1, with five NFL titles in seven years, which included victories in the first two Super Bowls. That era also included three straight NFL titles, which is something that no other team in the history of the NFL has ever done since the playoff era began.

    Jerry played a big role in the success of the Packers in the postseason. For instance, in the 1962 NFL Championship Game versus the New York Giants at cold and windy Yankee Stadium, Jerry doubled as a right guard and as placekicker. Jerry booted three field goals on a very difficult day to kick, as some wind gusts were over 40 mph during the contest.

    Kramer scored 10 points in the 16-7 victory for the Packers (the difference in the game), plus helped lead the way for fullback Jimmy Taylor to gain 85 yards rushing and also score the lone Green Bay touchdown. As a team, the Packers gained 148 yards rushing that day.

    In the 1965 NFL Championship Game versus the Cleveland Browns at snowy and muddy Lambeau Field, Kramer and his teammates on the offensive line had a sensational day.

    The Packers rushed for 204 yards behind Taylor and halfback Paul Hornung, as the Pack won 23-12. The power sweep was especially effective, as Kramer and fellow guard Fuzzy Thurston kept opening big holes for the backs, mowing down defenders so the Packers gained big chunks of yardage on the ground.

    Hornung scored the last touchdown of the game on one of those power sweeps. Kramer pulled left and first blocked the middle linebacker and then a cornerback as the “Golden Boy” found the end zone.

    In the 1967 NFL Championship Game (better known as the “Ice Bowl”) versus the Dallas Cowboys at frigid Lambeau Field, Kramer made the most famous block in the history of the NFL.

    The playing surface that day was truly a frozen tundra, as the game-time temperature was 13 below zero.

    In the closing moments of the game, down by a score of 17-14, the Packers had to drive 68 yards down the frozen field to either tie or win the game.

    It all came down to 13 seconds to go with no timeouts at the 1-yard line of the Cowboys. The Packers could have kicked a field goal at that point to tie the game at 17-17.

    But Vince Lombardi decided to go for the win. If the Packers run the ball and are stopped short of the end zone, the game is over.

    Bart Starr called a 31 wedge play in the huddle, which calls for the fullback to get the ball. However, Starr decided to keep the ball after conferring with Lombardi on the sideline about the play.

    Starr thought it would be better to try to get into the end zone himself due to the slippery and icy conditions near the goal line. No. 15 followed Kramer’s classic block on Jethro Pugh and found a hole behind No. 64 to score the winning touchdown and tumble into NFL immortality.

    Finally, when one looks back on the great success of the Lombardi Packers of the 1960s, there are two things about that era which are pretty obvious.

    The power sweep was the signature play for the Packers under Lombardi.

    Plus, Starr’s quarterback sneak with just seconds remaining in the “Ice Bowl”, had to be the signature moment of the Lombardi legacy.

    Jerry Kramer played a huge role in both of those instances.

    Bottom line, Jerry should have had a bust in Canton decades ago. It’s definitely time to right a wrong and induct Gerald Louis Kramer into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and make him part of the class of 2017.

  8. Mr X
    May 5, 2016
    Reply

    He’s not even the best Packer guard not in the hall. Gale Gillingham was better, but came along too late to get the full Lombardi limelight (and never wrote a book)

  9. Terry Huffman
    May 5, 2016
    Reply

    We need to make this go viral to get him elected #64 needs to get in the hall I’ve sent my vote the last two years we need all the packer fans and football fans to write in there vote to make this happen I’m only one person I would if I only knew how let’s make this happen .🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈😊👍👍👍

  10. Rasputin
    May 6, 2016
    Reply

    Wow. The Packers’ and Redskins’ online fan operations must have both been really organized for this one.

  11. Mike avolio
    May 6, 2016
    Reply

    Suprised at Mr X and Rasputin. ..

    Kramer is an obvious Hall of Famer …

    No question about it…

    • Rasputin
      May 6, 2016
      Reply

      I didn’t comment on his HoF case (he has a solid one but he’s by no means the biggest snub of any position; Chuck Howley certainly trumps him, for example), but on these guys getting over a thousand votes apiece in a series where votes are typically measured in the dozens. Obviously there was an organized online effort at play, and looky here at this social media: “Great job by everyone so far for voting for Jerry on Talk of Fame Radio’s poll for best best offensive lineman not in the Hall of Fame (www.talkoffamenetwork.com) Please keep spreading the word as the race is tightening up some.” https://www.facebook.com/JerryKramer4HOF Similar vote drivers have been commented on involving the Redskins in these polls.

    • May 7, 2016
      Reply

      All I know Mike is that he was deemed so good that Hall of Fame voted him to its 50th anniversary team. So should be a gimme for Hall. Frankly, don’t understand it. Would like to have him brought back … and while he can appreciate honor.

  12. Mike avolio
    May 6, 2016
    Reply

    I believe you, but I didn’t see the social media push other than here.

    But regardless, I don’t understand how guys lIke Kramer, Howley, Mike Curtis and others keep getting overlooked.

    There are linebackers in th HOF who no team would have traded Curtis or Howley for …

    • May 7, 2016
      Reply

      Mike, there’s a huge backlog of deserving people. Think Rick figured that there are something like 82 all-decade players not in Hall. Why we didn’t like the idea of taking one spot from seniors for contributors every other year when contributor category was created. Hope it soon will be restored to at least two every year.

  13. Mike avolio
    May 7, 2016
    Reply

    Clark I could not agree more….Kramer and so many others…

    I just don’t understand it..

    • May 8, 2016
      Reply

      There are, Mike, and when I was doing workup on Al Wistert of Eagles this spring I was stunned that he wasn’t in. You look at his accomplishments, and you thin: What more could he have done? Kramer, though, is a different story. He was recognized by the Hall for 50th anniversary team. But now the same group that had him as its best guard on the 50th anniversary team doesn’t believe he’s good enough to be in the Hall, period? Someone will have to explain that one to me.

  14. bachslunch
    May 8, 2016
    Reply

    Clark, agree that the backlog is huge — most teams can claim at least one legitimate snub, and many can claim several. I did a list at another site of my personal top 50 snubs in order (at least that day) and there isn’t a single one that would bother me if they got in. 28 of them were members of all decade teams or the all AFL team.

    • May 8, 2016
      Reply

      That’s why I have to laugh when people can’t wait to put someone like Marshawn Lynch in (honest). Why? Because he was good? He was. But so were Shaun Alexander and Ricky Watters, and they’re ahead of him in line … and can’t even make it as semifinalists. There are so many deserving candidates from bygone eras that we’ve either neglected or forgotten, and that’s a shame. Senior committee has a chore each year to decide on no more than two (and sometimes only one). Why I liked Rick’s idea for 50th anniversary of Super Bowl to declare 10 seniors for admission. Would have helped.

  15. bachslunch
    May 8, 2016
    Reply

    Thanks for replying, Clark. Agreed — I don’t get the HoF chatter for Lynch, either. He has no better a HoF argument than Tiki Barber, Clinton Portis, Ahman Green, Ricky Williams, or Jamal Lewis, none of whom are getting in either. Also agree that Rick’s idea for a 10 member Senior class on the 50th anniversary year is great — hope it comes to fruition.

    • May 8, 2016
      Reply

      Agree on all points. Lynch simply is the latest. And in the era we live in, the latest becomes the greatest. Once we get some distance from Lynch, saner heads will prevail. But for now it’s what people want to argue … maybe just for the sake of argument. But I’m with you on all the guys you mentioned.

  16. May 8, 2016
    Reply

    I appreciate your take on all this, Clark. Rick told me that he is also trying to get the Hall to implement the declaring of 10 seniors for admission in the 100th anniversary of the NFL in 2019. I sure hope that happens for the deserving seniors who have been left out of Canton for so long. That being said, I am going to continue my crusade for Jerry Kramer to get inducted sooner than that.

    • May 8, 2016
      Reply

      More power to you, Bob. Absolutely deserves to be in. Don’t stop fighting on his behalf. We won’t, either.

      • June 27, 2016
        Reply

        Clark, I’s like to send a respectful message to the Senior committee members, but don’t have contact info for a few of them. Can you help?

        John Czarnecki
        Ira Miller
        Bernie Miklasz

        • June 30, 2016
          Reply

          I can, but contact me through twitter if you can. will send you contact info there.

          • July 1, 2016

            done

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