A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to speak with the daughter of one of the most legendary players in Vandal football history — Jerry Kramer.
His daughter, Alicia Kramer, is spearheading the effort to get him on the 2013 ballot for and to be ultimately inducted in to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Alicia is joined by the University of Idaho and the Gallatin Public Affairs group based out of Boise in these efforts. Heck, even Boise State University has joined in the effort with this press release (curiously enough with not a single mention of him playing for Idaho).
The resume for the former Vandals 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, helped the Packers win the first two ever Super Bowls and was named to the NFL’s 50th anniversary team. Coincidentally enough, Jerry Kramer is the only member of that anniversary team that is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
With that kind of resume there is a general assumption that Jerry Kramer is already in the Hall of Fame. Alicia cited an instance when former Vandal Mark Sclereth sent out a Tweet in support of the campaign, after which people would come back to her and say “Wait, your father isn’t in the Hall of Fame?”
Instead, if nominated, this will be the 11th attempt to send Jerry Kramer’s legacy to Canton.
Reasons Alicia has heard as to why her father has yet to receive the prestigious yet elusive invitation include there being too many Vince Lombardi era Packers in the Hall of Fame and that some sports writers are jealous of Jerry Kramer’s success with his book, “Instant Replay”. Having a new generation of voters who don’t remember Jerry Kramer playing doesn’t quite do him 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 getting shut out in 10 previous attempts, and of what Alicia has described as her father having to call home from Super Bowl festivities to tell his family of the disappointing news, she said she had to make a promise to her father that this will be the last time. Even if there is going to be a feeling of injustice in the Kramer household, there would also be a feeling of peace.
“He always kept a really good attitude about it, it wasn’t really about him at that time. He kind of just looked out after everybody elses feelings,” she said. “Some part of it, he doesn’t seem suprirsed. 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.”
With just about a month to go before nominations are announced the campaign is in full force. For starters there is the website JerryKramer4HOF.com in order to help get the general football fan population involved. And then of course the University of Idaho itself which as aforementioned has joined the campaign.
“It really meant a lot that (the University of Idaho) jumped on board,” Alicia said. “Dad loves that school, went to that school, supports that school. It’s really brought this campaign up a few notches. 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 is also planning a Jerry Kramer bobble head for season ticket holders during one of its home football games this fall. Kind of like this awesome Mark Sclereth one from last fall.
Also check out Brian Murphy’s column on the subject in the Idaho Statesman. KREM has an entire page of content dedicated to Kramer’s HOF bid. And if you are so inclined, there is an online petition as well.