GREEN BAY – Two decades after his last go-around for Pro Football Hall of Fame induction, former Packers guard Jerry Kramer is getting another shot.
Kramer was named one of two senior committee finalists for the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018 on Thursday, along with former Oilers linebacker Robert Brazile.
Considered by some one of the most glaring omissions from the Hall, Kramer was a senior finalist once before, in 1997, receiving word that he didn’t get the requisite 80 percent of the vote from the full selection committee while in New Orleans that night before Green Bay’s victory in Super Bowl XXXI.
Prior to that, Kramer had been a modern-day finalist nine times between 1974 and 1987.
No player not yet inducted into the Hall has been a finalist more times than Kramer. He’s also the only member of the NFL’s 50th anniversary all-time team not in the Hall.
Kramer played in 130 regular-season games for the Packers from 1958-68 and was a member of all five of Vince Lombardi’s championship teams in the 1960s. He’s most well-known for his part in the famous Lombardi sweep, and for throwing the block at the goal line on quarterback Bart Starr’s game-winning sneak in the Ice Bowl.
Kramer was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1975.
Eleven Packers from the Lombardi era are in the Hall of Fame, plus the coach himself. The most recent inductee was linebacker Dave Robinson, who was a senior committee finalist in 2013.
Players are initially eligible for the Hall of Fame for a 15-year period that begins five years following their retirement. Kramer’s modern-day eligibility expired in 1988.
After that, responsibility for consideration falls to the senior committee, which nominates one or two players per year, usually those whose cases have slipped through the cracks. Kramer’s is not one of those cases, given how many times he’s been a finalist, but perhaps this is the senior committee’s push to right what it feels is a wrong.
Whether a player is a modern-day or senior finalist, he must receive 80 percent of the vote from the full selection committee, which makes its final choices on the weekend before the Super Bowl.
If Kramer were to be inducted next year, he would become Green Bay’s 25th individual in the Hall of Fame. The Packers’ total already is second in league history behind only the Chicago Bears (27).