KREM 2 News is joining with the University of Idaho in an effort to get one of the greatest athletes in Idaho history, Jerry Kramer, inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Kramer grew up in Sandpoint, Idaho and was a star football player for the University of Idaho.
He played right guard for the Green Bay Packers from 1958-1968, making All-Pro five times and leading the Packers to five championships and the first two Super Bowl victories.
Kramer was chosen as a member of the NFL’s 50th’ anniversary team in 1969, but is the only player from that team not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. He has appeared on the list of Hall of Fame finalists ten times since becoming eligible, but has not been selected. In 2008, the NFL Network created a list of the Top 10 Players Not in the Hall of Fame and Kramer was rated number one.
Kramer is now 74 and a businessman living outside of Boise. The University of Idaho recognized that now is the time to push for Kramer’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame while he’s able to celebrate and enjoy his enshrinement with his family, friends, and former teammates.
You can join the campaign to have Kramer selected as a member of the 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame class by leaving your supportive comment either below or here in this story. On behalf of the University of Idaho, KREM 2 News will forward those comments to the writers who select the players for enshrinement.
Kramer moved to Sandpoint from Montana in the fourth grade. He spent his childhood fishing, hunting and often getting injured while playing outdoors. He developed his football skills late as a student at Sandpoint High School before graduating in 1954.
He played almost every minute of every game on both offense and defense while at the University of Idaho. At the end of his college career, he was selected to play in the East-West Shrine Game and the College All-Star Game.
The Green Bay Packers selected Kramer in the fourth round of the NFL Draft and he played in every game as a rookie. The Packers finished with the league’s worst record that year (1-10-1).
In 1959 the Packers hired Vince Lombardi as coach and Kramer became entrenched as the starting right guard on a team that would become one of sport’s greatest dynasties.
Kramer became famous for his role in one of the greatest plays in the history of football, the legendary “Packer Sweep”. Kramer would pull from his guard position and lead either future Hall of Famers Jim Taylor or Paul Hornung into the defensive backfield. The Packers would run this play to great success in most of their football games during Kramer’s career . The high visibility of Kramer leading the ball carrier helped bring Kramer name recognition during a time when offensive lineman were not well known in the NFL.
Kramer also made what’s regarded as the greatest block in the history of pro football. 16 seconds remained in the NFL Championship Game in 1967 with the Dallas Cowboys leading the Packers 17-14 with the wind chill at minus 54 degrees on the field in a contest dubbed “The Ice Bowl”. Kramer threw a block against the Cowboys’ Jethro Pugh that quarterback Bart Starr followed into the end zone from the goal line to give the Packers the win.
Coach Lombardi regarded Kramer as “the greatest guard in football”, an honor that Kramer holds as higher than any possible selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Kramer was also a kicker. His three field goals helped the Packers win the 1962 championship at Yankee Stadium in New York, 16-7. He scored 65 points in ’62 and was the team’s leading scorer with 91 points in 1963.
Kramer is a member of the Packers Hall of Fame and the University of Idaho Hall of Fame.
Kramer changed the way sports books are written with his diary of the 1967 season, Instant Replay, becoming one of the bestselling sports books of all time. He also wrote three other books about his days as a Packer.
Kramer lives with his second wife, Wink, in a suburb of Boise. He has six children and four grandchildren. His youngest sons Matt and Jordan also played football at the University of Idaho. Jordan played in the NFL for three seasons as a linebacker with the Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons.
Kramer is a leader of the group Gridiron Greats, which advocates for support of the NFL’s alumni, many of whom are disabled and only receive a small pension from the NFL.
Leave your comment to join in the Hall of Fame Campaign for Jerry Kramer.