NFL legends, university, family and community lobby for Jerry Kramer's Hall-of-Fame credentials
He won Vince Lombardi five NFL championships and two other trophies that now bear that epic coach’s name. Before that, he made all-star teams and school lore at the University of Idaho. And before that, he played high school ball for Sand Point. Bu Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
He won Vince Lombardi five NFL championships and two other trophies that now bear that epic coach’s name.
“He had to execute those plays correctly every time or it didn’t work,” Jerry Kramer’s daughter, Alicia, said of her father.
Before that, he made all-star teams and school lore at the University of Idaho.
“We’re just really proud of him,” University spokeswoman Ysabel Bilbao said, “and what he’s done and we’re proud that he’s a Vandal.”
And before that, he played high school ball for Sand Point.
Jerry Kramer is the only member of the NFL’s 50th anniversary team not in the Hall of Fame. And he wants nothing to do with campaigning for his admission.
“None,” Alicia said. “He was absolutely upset that I even started the process again.”
Alicia boasts an NFL legend for a father.
“Dad’s always been supportive of me,” she said, “and I just felt like I owed this to him as a father.”
For the last year, Alicia distributed petitions, made t-shirts and wrote thousands of letters to earn that last yard and catapult dad over the pile and into Canton.
“I don’t think anybody who looks at Jerry’s record would say that this guy doesn’t deserve to be where the greatest of the greats in the NFL reside,” Gallatin Public Affairs partner Marc Johnson said.
Johnson married a woman from Milwaukee and so gained a household revering the Lombardi Packers and its Kramer-led sweep plays. When he heard about Alicia canvassing on her father’s behalf, he volunteered the aid of his PR firm to - first - to help out the Kramer family.
“Secondly,” Johnson said, “to kind of right a wrong: This guy’s been overlooked for 40-some years.”
And the Idaho Packer’s peers knew it. Frank Gifford thought Kramer was already in the Hall. Former Chicago Bears recalled hating to line up across from him.
“The strongest case to be made for Jerry Kramer in the Hall of Fame is that these guys who played against him really think that he’s deserving,” Johnson said.
Roger Staubach, John Mackey, Chuck Bednarik: The Hall-of-Fame signatures on the stream of letters endorsing Kramer reads like the roster of an NFL all-century team.
And still no Hall of Fame.
Alicia hopes that – with a university, a regional PR firm and some gods of the grid-iron as her lobbying teammates – early next year that’ll change.
But even if Canton does shut him out for the 11th time, Kramer’s affection for the game will remain. After all, he’s played through colder days, crossed harder ground and relished doing it.
“I love the weather,” Kramer said in an interview with this station years ago, “loved the extremes, just loved to play in it. As a matter of fact, I’m getting pumped. I wanna go play now.”