The most worthy senior candidate for 2018? It’s a Packer


Photo courtesy of the Green Bay Packers

Back in 1969, as part of the NFL’s 50th anniversary celebration, the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee identified the 15 players that were the very best at their positions in the first five decades of professional football.

Johnny Unitas was named the greatest quarterback, Jim Brown the greatest fullback and Gale Sayers the greatest halfback. Gino Marchetti was identified as the greatest defensive end, Night Train Lane the greatest cornerback and Lou Groza the greatest kicker.

Of the 15 players identified as the best at their positions in the sport’s first 50 years, 14 of them have already been enshrined in Canton. The only one still waiting on a bust is guard Jerry Kramer – and listeners and readers at the Talk of Fame Network believe that’s an oversight that needs to be corrected.

There will be two senior candidates nominated this month for the Class of 2018. In our poll last week, we asked our followers to vote on the most deserving candidate and offered up eight worthy options. Kramer won in a landslide, receiving 86 percent of the vote. Former Steelers linebacker Andy Russell was a very distant second with just six percent support.

The three Talk of Fame Network hosts – Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge – were in agreement on Kramer.

“How can you be the only guard on the 50th anniversary team and not be in Canton?” asked Judge. “You can’t. It’s time to correct an error that must be corrected.”

Kramer was a fourth-round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers in 1958 and went on to play 11 seasons, helping the Packers win five championships. Kramer made the block that allowed the Packers to score the winning touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys in the closing seconds of the Ice Bowl, which sent Green Bay to the second Super Bowl. He also was an usher in the Packer power sweep, the signature play of the Vince Lombardi championship era.

Kramer also doubled as the team’s placekicker in 1962 and ’63, scoring 177 points. He kicked three field goals and an extra point in the 16-7 victory over the New York Giants in the 1962 NFL championship game.

Kramer has been a Hall-of-Fame finalist 10 times, including once previously as a senior. Russell was a seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker for the Steelers who started on two Super Bowl champions. He has been eligible for 36 years but has never been discussed as a finalist.

Previous State Your Case: Why Giants' George Young belongs in Hall
Next Who should be the HOF contributor candidate for 2018?

16 Comments

  1. Sports Fan
    August 2, 2017
    Reply

    Question for:
    “THE KNOW HUDDLE”
    Ron Borges
    Rick Gosselin
    “Dr. Data”
    Clark Judge
    TOF Network
    &
    All Readers

    TRUE
    OR
    FALSE

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

  2. Sam Goldenberg
    August 2, 2017
    Reply

    The other amazing thing about Jerry Kramer was how he overcame illness in 1964 and 1965. He almost died from an intestinal ailment that required many surgeries. Yet he overcame this and attained all pro status again in 1966 and 1967. If you discount injury Kramer was All-pro nearly every year of his career. This is in addition to being named the greatest guard in the NFL’s first 50 years, along with his key plays in the 1962 and 1967 NFL Championship games. The Hall of Fame is not complete without Jerry Kramer. I hope this is the year the Senior Committee finally recognizes his greatness and nominates him.

    • Sports Fan
      August 8, 2017
      Reply

      August 2, 2017

      Question for:

      “THE KNOW HUDDLE”
      Ron 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?

  3. Don Newsome
    August 2, 2017
    Reply

    Why no love for Billy Howton? Played for some truly crappy teams, yet at his retirement was the leader in receptions and receiving yards, records didn’t last long to be sure but he was the guy for a period of time

    • August 2, 2017
      Reply

      Do not disagree. Wrote him up a while ago. Howton should be considered. Not even mentioned. And that’s wrong. But that’s what happens when you have legions of senior candidates waiting for a handful of spots.

  4. Rasputin
    August 2, 2017
    Reply

    The poll should have included a “none of the above” option. Gosselin never did answer the request to provide a rational basis for including someone like Jim Marshall (0 first team All Pros, 2 Pro Bowls, 0 titles) on this list instead of Chuck Howley (5 first team All Pros, 6 Pro Bowls, SB MVP, older).

    If they had included the more deserving Howley then maybe he finishes #1, or, given the obviously organized Kramer campaign, at least maybe a much closer second than Andy Russell (0 first team All Pros). If Howley and Kramer were the two senior candidates I think informed football fans would be very pleased.

    • Sam Goldenberg
      August 3, 2017
      Reply

      Rasputin

      I agree with you on Chuck Howley. He was an outstanding player with solid credentials. Obviously, I am a big Kramer proponent, but I would be pleased if the candidates this year were Kramer and Howley.

  5. Alan Lee
    August 2, 2017
    Reply

    There are three things keeping Kramer out of the HoF…

    The number of Packer players from that era already in the HoF.

    Kramer’s book about his time as a Packer.

    Kramer’s refusal to share credit for the block on Jethro Pugh that scored Starr in the Ice Bowl with Ken Bowman.

    • Sam Goldenberg
      August 3, 2017
      Reply

      Alan:

      You may be right about why Kramer has not yet been inducted. However, if you read Instant Replay carefully he does acknowledge that Bowman assisted with the block, and admits he never gave Bowman much credit afterward. In reality though if you watch that play, Kramer made 85% of the play, and he was the one in film sessions that realized that a wedge block on Pugh could work at the goal line. It is time to get this guy in the Hall of Fame, your reasons may be why he hasn’t been inducted to date, but are no reason to keep such deserving candidate out.

      • Jeff
        August 3, 2017
        Reply

        I think Kramer must’ve ticked off the wrong person (or people) somewhere along the way. His exclusion seems fishy to me.

  6. Jason
    August 2, 2017
    Reply

    I just hope that the nominating committee chooses individuals who are alive and can appreciate the moment. I thought two years ago just seemed all kinds of wrong with Stabler and Stanfel passing away several months before their nominations. It’s a great honor for the family but, the family didn’t pay the price on the field. Jerry Kramer is out past 80 and hasn’t been a finalist in two decades. I think there’s been enough turnover in voting room that the total opposition will be minimal.

    One question for Clark, Rick, Ron, or really anybody else. Has it ever been discussed to have a posthumous category? I feel like that would prevent situations like what occurred in 2015. It also would be fascinating to see names brought up from many decades ago that may not ever be given serious consideration by a seniors committee. I would be all for one or two posthumous inductees each year along with a contributor and senior candidate.

    • August 3, 2017
      Reply

      Thx for the notes, Jason. In answer to your question, no, a posthumous category has never been discussed. The key to me is to open the senior category so it includes, say, three candidates every year. That way we can start reducing a line that is far too long.

      • Steve Dawson
        August 15, 2017
        Reply

        I would like to see the inductee limit raised from 5 and 2 per year, to 7 and 3. That would help enormously in reducing the massive backlog in candidates.

    • Sam Goldenberg
      August 3, 2017
      Reply

      I think that would be great idea Jason.

  7. Bob Thompson
    August 14, 2017
    Reply

    Johnny Robinson, Chiefs
    HOF All-Time Team Safety (AFL)
    NFL Team of the Decade 1960’s ( Only Robinson and Kramer not in HOF from that team)
    AFL Team of the Decade
    Silver Anniversary Super Bowl Team
    All-Time Super Bowl Team, Nominee
    7x All Pro 1st Team
    3x All Pro 2nd Team
    8 Pro Bowls
    6x All League
    2x Interception Leader AFL /NFL
    57 Career Interceptions
    3x League Championships
    Played Super Bowl I and IV
    Super Bowl IV Championship Team
    KC Chiefs AllTime Team
    2017 Sports Illustrated Top Draft Team of AllTime (Wolfe)
    Lance Alworth stated that he was the greatest defensive player he ever played against. Quarterbacks like Namath, Hadl and Kemp said that he was the best cover man they ever played against.

  8. […] poll story ran about a week and Kramer won in a landslide, as he received 86 percent of the vote. I’m sure that doesn’t surprise you, as […]

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.