Jerry Kramer was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018 by the Hall’s board of selectors on Saturday. Here’s what you need to know about Kramer, who will be inducted in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 4:
Résumé: Guard, 1958-68, Green Bay Packers
Why he was selected: The 11th time was the charm for the Lombardi-era star to make it, and perhaps the most glaring omission from not only Packers’ history but also all of the NFL is finally in. One of two senior-committee finalists, Kramer had been a senior nominee once before and was a nine-time modern-era finalist. Kramer was the only one on the NFL’s 50th-anniversary team not in the Hall of Fame. He’s the 13th player from the Lombardi-era Packers (plus Lombardi) to be inducted and the third offensive lineman (Forrest Gregg and Jim Ringo were the others). Kramer was on all five of the Packers’ championship teams in the 1960s.
“On behalf of the entire Green Bay Packers organization, I want to congratulate Jerry on this well-deserved honor,” Packers president Mark Murphy said in a statement. “I’m so happy for Jerry. His patience has been rewarded, as he will finally be going into the Hall of Fame after being a finalist 11 times. He was a key part of the offenses on the great Lombardi teams, as well as an outstanding leader. He’s remained actively involved with the Packers over the years and is beloved by our fans.”
Remember this? Kramer threw perhaps the most famous block in NFL history, clearing the way for Bart Starr's quarterback sneak for a touchdown to beat the Dallas Cowboys in the “Ice Bowl,” the 1967 NFL Championship. He was also a key component in the Lombardi sweep, the play running backs Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor ran so successfully. Kramer also was known for co-writing the book “Instant Replay” with Dick Schaap, which was one of the first in-depth looks at the life of an NFL player.
He said it: “There were 10 times I was waiting for a knock on my door and it didn’t come. So there wasn’t a great deal of confidence that it was going to happen this time. ... I’ve got it in my mind the senior [nominees] are going to be in the discussion first of all, so probably Mr. [David] Baker [president of the Hall], if he’s going to knock on the door, will probably do so first part of the period. And I understood we were in our rooms from 3:30 to 4, and so 3:30 comes by and 3:40 comes by and 3:50 comes by, and 3:55 comes by, and there’s a knock on the door. I’ve got my family with me and a bunch of friends, yeah. So we go to the door and it’s the maid. So we gather ourselves and try and get it back together, and all of a sudden the door goes, 'Boom, Boom Boom.' I said, 'That’s it,' and the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen, the big hunk down here at the end [Baker] was standing there with the cameras and stuff behind him. I was over the top. It was something I was afraid to believe in, I was afraid to hope for, so I kept trying to keep those emotions out there somewhere. But hey, I’m here and I’m part of the group. Thank you very much.”