UPDATE (Feb. 2, 2018):
Idaho's Jerry Kramer has his best chance in years, and perhaps his last chance, to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Kramer is a finalist for the 11th time but the first time in 21 years. He was nominated as a seniors candidate.
Most of the committee that will decide his fate will be taking a fresh look at his candidacy and could be swayed by the idea that he's the only member of the NFL's 50th anniversary team not in the Hall.
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"This is such a woeful oversight by this committee," Rick Gosselin, the longtime NFL writer who will present Kramer's case, told the Wisconsin State Journal. "He belongs in. And I want to get him in."
Kramer, 82, grew up in Sandpoint and played at the University of Idaho. He was a renowned offensive guard for the Green Bay Packers of the Vince Lombardi era. He'll need the approval of 80 percent of the 48 members on the selection committee.
“My life has been storybook,” Kramer told the Wisconsin State Journal in June. “The number of things I’ve been able to do have been amazing. I grew up in a little town in Idaho of 3,500 people. And I thought I’d end up driving a logging truck someday if I got lucky.
“I have no animosity. I was a little angry and a little upset about things when I expected to go in back in ’75 or ’80, somewhere in there, and I couldn’t understand exactly what was happening.
“And then I looked around and said: ‘The game has given you 100 presents. It’s just been a sensational life. And you’re going to get angry and upset because it didn’t give you one more?' That’s kind of silly — and stupid, really.
“All in all, when I look back on the journey, it’s been a wonderful ride. I wouldn’t change any part of it. It’s just been a special, special thing that I never could have dreamed growing up as a young boy in Sandpoint, Idaho, and thinking that someday I might be driving a logging truck — if I got lucky.”
ORIGINAL POST (August 2017):
Former University of Idaho and Green Bay Packers great Jerry Kramer has been named a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018.
Kramer has been nominated to the Hall of Fame 10 times in the past — but never got the nod. The last time he was a finalist was in 1997.
He was a member of the 1960s All-Decade team and is the only member of the NFL’s 50th anniversary team not in the Hall.
Kramer and linebacker Robert Brazile were selected as “seniors finalists” for the 2018 Hall of Fame. Those are players whose careers ended at least 25 years ago.
“Kramer, drafted in the fourth round, 39th player overall, of the 1958 NFL Draft, starred for the Green Bay Packers for 11 seasons from 1958 to 1968. His leadership and talents helped the franchise capture five NFL championships and victories in Super Bowls I and II. He earned All-Pro acclaim five times and was voted to three Pro Bowls. Kramer also was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1960s, and to the NFL’s 50th Anniversary Team in 1969.”
Former Statesman columnist Brian Murphy wrote in 2012 that “no one has a definitive reason for Kramer’s absence.”
“He’s heard a number of rationales: That he might not have even been the best guard on the Packers. Too many Lombardi-era Packers. Resentment over his book, ‘Instant Replay,’ ” Murphy wrote.