Several years back, being a Milwaukee native, I read the local paper daily, and had the fortunate experience of reading Cliff Cristl’s write-ups on the Green Bay Packers right from Cliff’s start for the Milwaukee Journal, leading the way for the Pack, with a little class.
Any writer can pen negative commentary on teams that lose games more than win. It takes a little “class” to keep things positive, even during the “lean years” the Packers had between the reigns of Vince Lombardi and Mike Holmgren. I began despising some of the writers for trying to make a comedy act out of their stories on Packers losses.
The kind of comedy Don Rickles would do almost.
I didn’t care for that at all. After all, this was the same team I loved when Lombardi won championships one after the other for years. Cliff brought a little optimistic side to the sports department. Even if it were hard to do with players goofing up, doing crazy disrespect to the game of football such as picking up Jim McMann and body slamming him to the ground, like a cheap wrestling show. If you can’t be positive, you can be professional about things, and that’s what Cristl brought to the Wisconsin sports scene. He went on to write for four area newspapers, and is a historian for Packers.com, where this past week he stirred up things once again for Jerry Kramer and the NFL Hall of Fame’s abandoned recognition.
The Bleacher Report’s esteemed featured columnist, Bob Fox decided to bring a previous story back to life, which I first read, leading me to Cliff Cristl’s recent story. It really had me stirred up over the unjust treatment Kramer has endured over the decades of being swept under the rug.
As Fox put it, one of the only reasons Jerry Kramer did not make it in the NFL Hall of Fame is there were already too many former Packers players who were inducted from the Lombardi era. My own emotional side took hold, and began asking, “Why is it these two powerful, experienced journalists could not find a way to get people to complain about this? What did they do, or what didn’t they do?” For some reason, I began to think maybe I could find a way to get the people at the “Hall” to wake-up and smell the coffee.
Jerry Kramer was more than just a football legend. He was an accomplished author, writing about what else? The Packers, of course.
His “Instant Reply” was a bestseller, telling stories about the coach, Jerry’s buddies on the team, and the antics, tears, and glory the team climbed through and round in the NFL.
He lived to be a friend to all, a strong community advocate, the best football player he could be, fitting himself into what Lombardi wanted. Kramer did his job for the team. He left no doubt that he made a difference for the team, so they could count on him, play after play, season after season. This took him to five Pro-Bowls during his 11-year tenure with the Packers.
So why isn’t Jerry a member of the NFL Hall of Fame? A five-time all-star, author of a bestselling book about the Packers dynasty, and a player who threw the block to win the Ice Bowl with no honors in the Hall of Fame? Somethings out of place here, and it sort of gets me angry. OK, so I didn’t know as much as I do today, and was a “student” of the game back then, but I could see nobody ran past Kramer, or even beat him until after the ball was thrown or the running back was five yards up field. Jerry almost never had penalties, almost never got beat, and almost never made the Hall of Fame? It’s time somebody did something to rectify this situation.
I began scouring the web searching for a way to get going on this. It’s time to get the people involved, I thought time and time over again.
I asked my boss about doing a chain letter to send in to Hall of Fame staff responsible for entering players in to the Shrine. He sent a link that was already posted online. I thought, “Even that didn’t do it. These guys must be blind to see the whole US is behind Gerald Louis “Jerry” Kramer, who made the finalists list ten times still has never made it in to Canton. We can find a way to make a difference.
The Packer sweep had their finest blocker in Jerry Kramer. Remembering back, Kramer seemed like the first man to make a block and the fastest man down-field, as a lead for the runner. Dad used to preach about the line of scrimmage being the most important part of the offense. Without good blocking he’d say, there wouldn’t be enough time to get a pass off, or the runner couldn’t make it anywhere. The defenders would snuff out every play for a loss.
I began watching the linemen every play, even as a very young fan. Dad was right, and he taught me how to view the game, keeping my eyes on the blocking, but letting my peripheral vision follow the ball or runners and receivers as well as the quarterback. In time, I learned to predict the outcome of games half way through the 1st quarter, in seeing who was winning the line of scrimmage battles on both sides for both teams.
Most of the games played, that winner is established early and continues on throughout the game. Some games change after the half-time break, but more than not, the first impression remains. Watching Jerry Kramer, he was the most predictable, always on top of his man. Sure there were the Alex Karass’s or the Merlin Olsens who gave him trouble, but they gave everyone trouble. Kramer held his own against them, too. He may have been beat a few times or almost able to get around Kramer, but m0st of all, he held them in check when it counted.
As Bob Fox wrote on this subject:
When Kramer went left on the famous Packer sweep he blocked two men out leading the way for bigger yardage than most other plays. All any runner had to do was follow him and they went for some nice yardage on those plays. Some people have just the wrong opinion of the reality behind the Green Bay offense back then. While others had their ups and downs, no other was as consistent as Jerry Kramer was.
On each designed play, the blockers were to be at particular places as the play developed. Jerry was always on the spot, seldom out of place, unless a fumble put him after the ball and the play was dead to begin with. But Jerry could be counted on to run like a clock, you knew where he’d be at any given time.
So what can we do to save Jerry from the inequities of the organized mayhem? There is bound to be mistakes or oversights in some instances. Never in the history of The Hall of Fame has there been such a glaring example of overlooking a top talent who continuously displayed a level of play beyond nearly all the competitors found at his position.
Between the books Jerry wrote and his ability to fill in as a kicker, we’d think he’d be a part of the Hall of Fame years ago, on top of his 11-year career. Then throw in five Pro-Bowls on top of a sterling career at guard in Green Bay. So what can you and I do about this?
Let’s take a look.
Below is a short paragraph anyone can copy and paste along with your reply to the following link. This link goes directly to Canton, Ohio, to the NFL Hall of Fame advisers, who will in turn take a look at your request and forward it as they see its merits deserve.
You can bank on the fact that if they get enough replies, they will in fact move Jerry Kramer in for further review. If every reader of this report sends in a request, and asks only two friends to do the same, we can have the entire Packer Nation requesting that Jerry Kramer be inducted into the Hall of Fame in a matter of a few weeks. Be a part of Packer history and start the ball rolling. Pass this on to even more friends and don’t forget to ask them to do the same, to more friends, relatives and acquaintances. Your help is a must to make this work. So please help get Jerry the justice he deserves for the hard work and team sacrifices he gave to the Green Bay Packers.
Link # 01 Jerry Kramer for the Hall of Fame on Facebook (meet people and expand the list of people contacting Canton Ohio’s NFL Hall of Fame https://www.facebook.com/JerryKramer4HOF
Send this LINK directly to the NFL Pro Football – Hall of Fame, using either of the following messages, add on to them, use part of them along with your own request or just make your own. However, but please to contact the Hall of Fame telling them you want to see Jerry Kramer inducted into the Canton Hall of Fame. (Do not forget to enter the text identifier, used to see if the page is a computerized mass mailing or a real person. Send to a friend:
Link #02 The Canton NFL Hall of Fame selection process and list of Election Committee members. (Pass on any direct email addresses to others, so they can hear from those who want to write to them directly, to say we want Jerry Kramer in Canton Hall of Fame, now. http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/selectionprocess.aspx
The ABOVE LINK is for the selection process and contains a list of the people on the election committee. If you know their email address please forward it online to Link # 01 on Facebook, so others can make more contacts to persuade them to induct Jerry Kramer in the Canton Ohio Hall of Fame.
Link #03 This is the email page inside the Hall of Fame website. All you need is your name and email address, and a friends name and email address, along with your own opinion on granting Jerry Kramer induction in the Hall of Fame, or copy and paste the short message saying so below. Remember to ask your friend to recommend more friends of his/hers to also send an email to the Hall of Fame election committee.
Hello Canton Hall of Fame Committee,
The Green Bay Packer Nation has one glaring problem with your election process. It has forgotten Jerry Kramer, for his 11 years playing time with the Packers as one of the best offensive blockers the NFL has ever seen. Jerry Kramer helped the most famous play in sports history, ahead of Bart Starr, blocking for Starr to follow in for the touchdown, winning the game with only a few seconds remaining on the clock. His award winning book described Vince Lombardi and the team members close up, with the unity and purpose they posed in becoming Americas Favorite team. As once of the best guards in the NFL, Jerr was elected to five (5) Pro-Bowls, and having watched him game after game, people have said Kramer very seldom missed an assignment, or drew penalties, or other mistakes. Jerry Kramer should have been on a short list as one of the first Packers inducted from the Lombardi era, and has been slighted in not making the Canton Hall of Fame. Please do so for the next years induction.
Jerry Kramer, his wife and family, and all of his friends who saw him play as a Packer thank you for your help in making this process work, by asking the election committee to allow Jerry membership in the Hall of Fame NFL football players.