From Sandpoint, Idaho, to Canton, Ohio, Jerry Kramer’s amazing life in football culminated Saturday night with his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Boise resident and former Idaho Vandals star, who was a stalwart guard for Vince Lombardi’s championship teams with the Green Bay Packers in the 1960s, was a senior committee nominee for the honor. He first became eligible in 1974 after 11 seasons with the Packers in which he won five NFL championships and two Super Bowls. Now 82, he admitted to being bitter when often passed over for the Hall, but said any such feelings “disappeared” when he got in this year.
In his induction speech, Kramer spent much time praising Lombardi, noting that the Packers went 1-10-1, the worst record in their history, when Kramer was a rookie.
“Coach Lombardi arrived and the world turned around,” said Kramer, one of the anchors of the vaunted Green Bay offensive line and the the guy who sprung the block to lead Bart Starr’s quarterback sneak to win the Ice Bowl against Dallas for the 1967 conference title. The Packers then won a second straight Super Bowl.
Kramer made five All-Pro squads, the NFL’s 50th Anniversary Team, All-Decade Team of the 1960s and the Super Bowl Silver Anniversary Team.
He paid tribute to learning the importance of “preparation, commitment, discipline, consistency, pride, tenacity, belief in your team and belief in yourself.”
Kramer was introduced by his daughter, Alicia, who put in tireless work over the years to keep her dad’s case for the Hall of Fame in the public eye.