Is 12 enough for the Lombardi Packers?


Vince Lombardi photo courtesy of the Green Bay Packers

With the election of Jerry Kramer to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, there are now 12 Green Bay Packers from the 1960s … plus coach Vince Lombardi … enshrined in Canton.

In addition to Kramer, the 1960s’ Packers are represented in Canton by quarterback Bart Starr, halfback Paul Hornung, fullback Jim Taylor, tackle Forrest Gregg, center Jim Ringo, defensive end Willie Davis, defensive tackle Henry Jordan, middle linebacker Ray Nitschke, outside linebacker Dave Robinson, cornerback Herb Adderley and safety Willie Wood.

That Green Bay team appeared in six NFL title games in a span of eight years and won the championship five times in seven years, including the first two Super Bowls. Should the line now be drawn on the Packers – is 12 enough for the Lombardi-era Packers?

Not so fast. There is still some unfinished business. There are two other Lombardi Packers who were voted to the NFL’s 50th anniversary team but have never been discussed as Hall of Fame finalists — tight end Ron Kramer and wide receiver Boyd Dowler. Green Bay historian Bob Fox addresses those two Packers here:

https://greenbaybobfox.wordpress.com/2018/02/14/the-pro-football-hall-of-fame-both-boyd-dowler-and-ron-kramer-deserve-consideration/

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19 Comments

  1. Tom K
    February 15, 2018
    Reply

    In my opinion, if you deserve to get then you deserve to get in. How many other HOFers that were on your team should be irrelevant. With that said, I’m not sure Ron Kramer or Boyd Dowler should be in the HOF but Dowler certainly has a much stronger case.

  2. Rasputin
    February 15, 2018
    Reply

    Do you agree, Rick, that there’s still unfinished business for Landry’s Cowboys too, whose greatness spanned not just 8 years but 20 seasons of sustained excellence? At the top of the list:

    Chuck Howley
    Cliff Harris
    Drew Pearson

    Do you agree or disagree that at the very least those men belong in the Hall of Fame?

    • Scott Remington
      February 15, 2018
      Reply

      Lombardi’s Packers five titles in eight years, Noll’s Steelers four titles in six years, or even Montana/Walsh’s 49ers four titles in nine years are way more impressive than Landry’s Cowboys two titles in 20 years.

      It also doesn’t help the Landry Cowboys legacy that the Lombardi Packers (twice), the ’70s Steelers (twice), and the Montana/Walsh 49ers (The Catch) blanked them in head-to-head playoff competition.

      Even in regular season matchups, Landry’s Cowboys never beat Lombardi’s Packers, won once then lost four straight to the ’70s Steelers, and–after running up the score on a weak 1980 ‘Niners team QBed by Steve DeBerg–never again beat the Montana/Walsh 49ers.

      Donnie Shell, Mike Wagner, Dwight Hicks, and even Glen Edwards (more INTs; more or equal Super Bowls) were better than Harris. Andy Russell was just as good as Chuck Howley (with more rings). As for Drew Pearson, give his HOF spot to Dwight Clark (More catches; equal number of TDs; more rings).

      • Rasputin
        February 18, 2018
        Reply

        I dispensed with your central argument by using the facts posted below. Here I’ll just add that actually 20 consecutive winning seasons, including 18 playoff years, is arguably more impressive than a single burst of greatness with the same set of players lasting only a few years. That’s especially true since even those two Lombardi title wins came when the Packers had been an established NFL franchise for decades while Dallas was still a recent expansion team, and yet both games were decided by 1 TD or less.

        But setting “impressive” aside, length of sustained team success is more pertinent here when we’re talking about the quantity of Hall of Fame caliber players. The longer time period you’re talking about the more chances you have for HoF players, all else being equal. There wasn’t much difference between the mid 1960s Cowboys and Packers, and yet Dallas hadn’t even hit their high point yet. Two of the Landry players I listed who are most deserving of Canton weren’t even on the team yet. Landry had more great players over his 29 years than Lombardi did in his Green Bay stint. Period.

        You mention the Danny White Cowboys losing to the Montana 49ers (barely). But you omit that the Cowboys repeatedly beat the 49ers in the playoffs in the early 1970s (3 years in a row! Otherwise San Francisco’s dynasty might have began earlier). Dallas also owned the Steelers in the 1960s through the early 1970s (including into the Bradshaw era), which is as relevant as whatever point you were trying to make. Even the two later SB losses were by only 4 points each, one of them decided in extremely controversial fashion. The 3 point SB V loss to the Colts was even more controversial and featured the worst officiating in SB history, as proved by video footage and admitted in a lengthy piece by a Baltimore writer recently. A game of inches. Good calls. Bad calls. Luck. A couple of slight changes and Landry would have won 5 Super Bowls. That’s not the kind of thing that should decide the HoF fate of several players one way or the other. What matters is that the Cowboys were consistently excellent in the mix at the top. And they did win it all twice. The rest is about individual players’ cases.

        Cliff Harris and Drew Pearson were each voted first team All Decade, the best at their respective positions in the NFL during the 1970s, by HoF selectors shortly before the rise of the anti-Cowboys bias in the early 80s through the 2000s. So I disagree with your laughable claims.

        Andy Russell over Chuck Howley? LOL! Howley was named AP first team All Pro, the best at his position in the NFL, 5 times. Russell never had such honors. Howley was Super Bowl MVP and a member of the prestigious “20/20” sack/interception club. Russell accomplished neither of those feats either. In fact Howley had 43 combined takeaways, 2nd in NFL history among NFL OLBs to only Jack Ham.

        Chuck Howley’s career peak straddled decades (though he still should have been 1960s All Decade), but he was named “Mid Decade First Team OLB” (1965-1975) recently by respected football historian John Turney, alongside fellow starters (and HoFers) Dick Butkus and Bobbie Bell, and AHEAD of HoFers Chris Hanburger, Dave Robinson, and Dave Wilcox.

        Chuck Howley should have been in the Hall of Fame a long time ago.

    • Rasputin
      February 16, 2018
      Reply

      After all, the Landry Cowboys still only have 7 HoF players representing that entire 29 year period, which, unlike some other dynasties, wasn’t just a few years’ burst of greatness mostly powered by the same group of guys but instead featured multiple waves of great players over the decades.

      • Scott Remington
        February 17, 2018
        Reply

        Two titles in 29 years is hardly a “dynasty.” Two titles in seven years hardly qualifies, either.

        • Rasputin
          February 18, 2018
          Reply

          That’s hardly the only metric of on field success.

          Super Bowl Wins
          Landry Cowboys – 2
          Lombardi Packers – 2

          NFC Championship/Pre-SB NFL Title Wins
          Landry Cowboys – 5
          Lombardi Packers – 5

          NFC Championship/Pre-SB NFL Title Appearances
          Landry Cowboys – 12
          Lombardi Packers – 6

          Winning Seasons
          Landry Cowboys – 20
          Lombardi Packers – 9

          Division Championships
          Landry Cowboys – 13
          Lombardi Packers – 6

          Playoff Seasons
          Landry Cowboys – 18
          Lombardi Packers – 6

          Primary Players Currently in the Hall of Fame
          Landry Cowboys – 7
          Lombardi Packers – 12

          Landry’s Cowboys posted more than twice as many division titles and winning seasons, and three times as many playoff years, and yet only have about half as many players in Canton.

          Heck, even the Vikings, who started just a year after Dallas and have never won a Super Bowl, have NINE(!) Hall of Famers who played during Landry’s tenure alone.

          The Hall of Fame is ultimately an individual award, but if one is to take team success into account as a major factor to consider, as this article does in its premise, then the Dallas Cowboys are one of the most underrepresented teams in Canton.

          • Tom K
            February 18, 2018

            To say the Cowboys come anywhere close to the 60’s Packers is absolutely ridiculous. They at worst, had the 2nd most dominant period in NFL history.

          • Rasputin
            February 18, 2018

            “Close” in what? I posted facts. You didn’t. The Packers weren’t close to the Landry Cowboys in number of winning seasons, playoff years, or division titles. Landry had more HoF worthy players than Lombardi did. He certainly had more than 7 to Lombardi’s 12. That’s a ridiculous skew. Even the Vikings, with 0 SB wins, have more players in Canton (9) than Landry. That’s inexcusable.

          • Rasputin
            February 18, 2018

            And that’s 9 HoF Vikings who played during the Landry era, not counting the ones since then. There are only 7 Landry Cowboys in. That’s too low.

          • Tom K
            February 18, 2018

            Cowboys won 2 league titles in 20 years. Green Bay won 5 in 7. More HOF players??? In what world? There’s a reason Lombardi has 12 (13 if you count Tunnell) and possibly isn’t done either per the post. Green Bay didn’t just win, they dominated. In 1962, they were winning games on average by nearly 20 points, that’s insane. 20 straight winning seasons is very impressive. However, getting only 2 championships out of it is minuscule compared to Lombardi winning 7 in 9 years. Not to mention Lombardi didn’t let any team win more than 1 championship during his reign. He also has a great track record vs HOF coaches and legendary teams.

          • Rasputin
            February 18, 2018

            A pre-Super Bowl “league title” is more equivalent to a conference championship than a Super Bowl championship, and Landry won as many as Lombardi did, while playing in twice as many, as I showed. As for “dominance”, those two head to head title games were decided by 4 and 7 points respectively. They both went down to the wire despite Dallas being a recent expansion team.

            Don’t you at least agree that a team with 20 years of sustained success likely had more great players on its rosters than a team with 9 years of sustained success? If nothing else they certainly had a lot more players. And what about the comparison with the Vikings?

            Shouldn’t the numbers at least be less skewed against the Cowboys than they are? Maybe there should be 10 Landry primary players in Canton instead of just 7?

          • Tom K
            February 18, 2018

            A pre super bowl title is = to a super bowl as confirmed by the NFL, HOF, and every major news outlet. So get out of here with your ignorant bias statements. I said his teams were more dominant than the 70s Cowboys ever were.

            I’m not saying the Cowboys shouldn’t have more players in. I agree that Chuck Howley should be in and Harris certainly has a great case. However, the Packers rightfully have more. How many years isn’t really very relevant. Otherwise, the Cardinals would be near the top of teams with the most HOFers but the reality is they aren’t

          • Rasputin
            February 19, 2018

            Equating a pre-SB NFL title completely with a Super Bowl as if there’s no difference at all just means you’re ignorant of math, Tom K. Just because you say something doesn’t make it true. And no, the NFL lumps them together when counting “NFL championships” but it also routinely lists them separately and doesn’t pretend they’re exactly the same. The 1966 and 67 Dallas/Green Bay games were officially called “NFL Championships” too. They were the same thing the Packers had won earlier in the decade. Except this time the winner went on to play in what we retroactively call the “Super Bowl”. Be honest. That sounds a lot like a conference championship. I wouldn’t say NFL titles are exactly the same as modern conference championships either, but it’s a fact that there were far fewer teams involved pre-merger. A Super Bowl win is a bigger deal for good reason. If Lombardi’s head coaching career had started in 1966 instead of 1959 and he lived and coached much longer I doubt he wins 5 Super Bowls. He probably just wins a couple as he did in real life.

            None of that matters much though. Let’s pretend the 60s Packers did win 5 Super Bowls. They did so WITH BASICALLY THE SAME ROSTER YEAR AFTER YEAR. That’s a small group of potential HoF guys. Landry’s Cowboys had many more great players even if they were spread out over time.

            The “Cardinals”? LOL! I listed the metrics of on field success I did for a reason. Landry’s Cowboys had more playoff seasons in a little over a decade than the Cardinals have in their entire 98 year history.

            Playoff Games Won
            Landry Cowboys (1960-1989) – 20
            Cardinals (1920-2017) – 7

            And yet the Cardinals DO have 12 HoF players despite that lackluster team success. Quantity of time matters. Even if the Landry Cowboys matched the Lombardi Packers (and Cardinals) with 12 HoF players, you could still say the Packers had a greater concentration in one time period. Heck though, at this point I’d be satisfied if they had just 10 players rather than a measly 7. That’s an injustice.

          • Sam M. Goldenberg
            February 19, 2018

            Rasputin

            I certainly think Chuck Howley should be a Hall of Famer. However, both Cliff Harris and Drew Pearson, although fine players, fall just short in my opinion.

            I understand your argument that Landry’s Cowboys sustained a long period of winning, but this cannot be compared to Lombardi’s Packers. Lombardi’s Packers were a dynasty! The ultimate team of the sixties. The Steelers of the 70’s are the comparison.

          • Rasputin
            February 19, 2018

            Sam, how can you object to Cliff Harris and Drew Pearson? They’re the only two starting members of the 1970s All Decade team not already in the Hall of Fame.

            Harris made 6 Pro Bowls and was named AP first team All Pro 3 years. He won 2 Super Bowls and 5 conference championship games, and never had a losing team. I’ve posted Doomsday’s pass defense stats here before and they were among the NFL’s elite while Harris anchored the secondary. As soon as he retired before the 1980 season they plunged to mid-pack.

            As one of the hardest hitters in NFL history he even had a revolutionary impact on the game. HoF safety Larry Wilson said, “I feel Harris is the finest free safety in the business today. He changed the way the position is being played. You see other teams modeling their free safeties around the way Harris plays the pass, and striking fear in everyone on the field because he hits so hard.”

            Cliff Harris was even the starting free safety on Sports Illustrated’s All Time NFL team a while back, alongside and ahead of loads of Hall of Famers, making his omission even more glaring.

            Given all that, do you really think he doesn’t measure up to Canton?

            Drew Pearson was also first team All Pro 3 years and was the key player in 3 of the 75 greatest plays in NFL history as ranked by NFL Films in the 1990s, including the original “Hail Mary” catch. He was the most skilled receiver in Cowboys history and is widely considered to be the most clutch WR in NFL history. His stats were among the best in the league for his era and he led the NFL in yards in 1977, the same year he won the Super Bowl.

            Pearson was a key part of keeping the Cowboys offense among the NFL’s best while Harris was a big part of keeping the defense among the league’s best. I’m glad we agree Howley is Canton worthy, but both those other guys measure up too in my book.

            I think I’ve already dealt with the “dynasty” argument with the facts posted elsewhere on this page. Also note what I posted about the Cardinals having 12 HoF players despite only having 7 playoff wins in their entire 98 year history compared to the Landry Cowboys with 20 playoff wins and only 7 HoFers. If winning literally half the NFC championships of the 1970s and winning as many Super Bowls as Lombardi did (both in blowouts, with the losses all by 4 points or less) doesn’t qualify as a “dynasty” then the word has little meaning, especially since the Cowboys also played in 7 NFC championships in the 1970s alone and won more games that decade than any other team. At some point terms like “dynasty” become semantics. What matters is that Dallas was a dominant team that had an awesome run of on field success.

            This record setting run of success was fueled by more than just 7 Hall of Fame quality players.

  3. Kerouac
    February 15, 2018
    Reply

    Hall of Fame

    Kansas City Chiefs: the team that played in 2 of the first 4 Superbowl’s has 9 enshrined ‘Hall of Fame’, including Owner Hunt & Coach Stram; reality is they should have several more: Johnny Robinson, Jim Tyrer, Jerrell Wilson, Otis Taylor and Ed Budde.

    Were the venue a workplace other than the gridiron, ‘discrimination’ comes to mind – there oughta be a law agin’ it, HOF voting. ‘Justice’ is supposed to be blind – ditto re; a ‘league’. Alas, bias is precisely what occurs terms the old AFL teams/players (at minimum), my opine.

    Both the Chiefs & Raiders repudiated the myth of inferiority hanging with the Packers SB’s I and II until well into the second half, followed by the Jets & Chiefs beating ‘the best NFL team(s) ever’ according the media pundits/self-appointed experts back to back SB’s III & IV in ’68 and ’69 seasons.

    Tex Maule/his ilk still twisting arms and casting aspersions/HOF votes?

  4. Sam M. Goldenberg
    February 16, 2018
    Reply

    Rick: First off, great job and much thanks from all Jerry Kramer fans for assisting in finally getting Jerry inducted to the Hall of Fame. Clark, Ron and yourself kept Jerry’s case current and you are all aces in my book.

    That being said Jerry’s case was clearcut (in my view). His resume was overwhelming. Bob Fox does an excellent job in highlighting the cases for Boyd Dowler and Ron Kramer. Both were outstanding players. Dowler in particular doesn’t get enough credit for the big plays he made in the postseason. One of the most important plays in the Ice Bowl was a first down throw from Starr to Dowler in the final TD drive. Dowler made a sliding catch and then his head bounced off the frozen turf. An amazing and under rated play. He was clutch in the post season, and his numbers are comparable to Lynn Swann. Ron Kramer was one of first pass catching tight ends and a great blocker. However, I think you have say he was not as good a player as Mike Ditka or John Mackey who were his contemporaries.

    Unfortunately, you have to get back to how many Lombardi Packers can be Hall of Famers? The Lombardi Packers were my all time favorite team, but even I have admit 12 players is a lot. (I think Jim Ringo is a special case because he was a Packer for 5 years before Lombardi, so maybe you can say 11 players?). The other problem is, as discussed many times, there so many great senior candidates. I definitely think both Dowler and Ron Kramer’s cases should be heard and debated. Both are worthy candidates. If a proposal is accepted where a one time pool of senior players could be inducted these two should be strongly considered.

  5. Greg D. Rupnow
    February 17, 2018
    Reply

    Boyd Dowler and Ron Kramer would have been HOF on other teams as the Packers could spread the ball around so well. Bob Skoronski should be in the conversation also as he is a seldom mentioned as a one of the best offensive linemen at the time .

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