Last ‘hurrah’ for legend
As Vandal athletics begin fall practices, a Vandal legend — and the daughter fighting for him — will learn if he has a shot at football’s highest honor.
Alicia Kramer, daughter of former No. 64 Jerry Kramer, spearheads the effort to get him on the 2013 ballot for the Professional Football Hall of Fame. She is joined by the University of Idaho, Boise State and Boise’s Gallatin Public Affairs group in these efforts.
“Dad loves that school, went to that school, supports that school,” Alicia Kramer said. “It’s really brought this campaign up a few notches.”
The former Vandal and Green Bay Packers offensive guard is an impressive one. He spent his entire 11-year playing career with the Packers, earning three Pro Bowl selections, five All-Pro selections, appearing in Green Bay’s two first-ever Super Bowls and was named to the NFL’s 50th Anniversary Team. But Kramer remains the only member of that anniversary team excluded from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“Some part of it, he doesn’t seem surprised,” she said. “If you talk to him, he’ll talk to you about it. He feels he should be in there, and if not he doesn’t understand why. He’s just more concerned about us not being upset.”
If nominated, this will be the 11th attempt to send Jerry Kramer’s legacy to Canton, Ohio.
Alicia Kramer listed her father’s position as one of too many Lombardi era Packers in the Hall of Fame and jealousy of his successful book, “Instant Replay,” rank among reasons for Jerry Kramer’s continued exclusion. A new generation of voters doesn’t do Jerry Kramer many favors either.
“Voters have changed, some have gone on and done other stuff, some have passed away,” she said. “Through social media I’ve been able to talk to some of the voters and some of them have never seen him, heard of him or seen his portfolio in front of them before. What they have stressed to me is that they need to hear from my dad’s opponents — from Frank Gifford, Roger Staubach — players he played against.”
And sure enough, both Staubach and Gifford have written to voters in support of Jerry Kramer’s last hurrah bid.
After 10 previous shut outs, Alicia Kramer said she had to promise her father that this will be the last time. Even a feeling of injustice in the Kramer household, would be accompanied by a feeling of peace.
“He always kept a really good attitude about it,” Alicia Kramer said. “It wasn’t really about him at that time. He kind of just looked out after everybody else’s feelings.”
Nominations will be announced in a month, and the campaign is in full force. The website JerryKramer4HOF.com aims to involve the general football fan population. And UI now plays its own role in the campaign.
“It really meant a lot that (the University of Idaho) jumped on board,” Alicia said. “My focus was in Green Bay and Wisconsin, but to have the university and home state behind it, it really took off.”
In addition to its public endorsement, the Idaho athletic department plans to debut a Jerry Kramer bobble head for season ticket holders during one of its home football games this fall.
Sean Kramer can be reached at email@example.com