(Jerry Kramer photos courtesy of the Green Bay Packers)
Talk of Fame Network
There were 15 players selected as the best at their positions on the NFL’s 50th anniversary team.
They were the greats of the game: Johnny Unitas, Jim Brown, Don Hutson, Night Train Lane… All are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame except one -- Jerry Kramer, who was selected the greatest guard in the game's first 50 years.
That’s a wrong that needs to be righted, according to the Talk of Fame Network’s latest poll. We asked our listeners and readers to identify the most deserving senior candidate for the Class of 2017, and Kramer won in a runaway over quarterback Ken Anderson, cornerback Pat Fischer, linebacker Randy Gradishar, wide receiver Drew Pearson and safety Johnny Robinson.
Kramer received almost 90.3 percent of the vote -- and no other candidate was within 1,100 votes of the former Green Bay guard. Kramer received three of his votes from the tri-hosts of the Talk of Fame Network Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge.
“I don’t see how you can leave a guy on the 50th anniversary team out of the Hall of Fame,” Judge said. “It’s the same group (selection committee) that votes on both. How can they not put him in? He should have been long ago.”
Kramer was a starter for Vince Lombardi teams that won five NFL championships, including the first two Super Bowls. In addition to the 50th anniversary team, Kramer was selected to the 1960s' NFL all-decade team. He has been a Hall-of-Fame finalist 10 times, nine as a modern-era candidate and once as a senior.
Kramer went to three Pro Bowls and was the leading scorer as a kicker on the 1963 Packers, with 91 points filling in for the suspended Paul Hornung. As a pulling guard, he was a key cog in Lombardi’s favorite play, the power sweep, and made the block that allowed Bart Starr to score the winning touchdown on a quarterback sneak in the 1967 Ice Bowl.
Gradishar finished second in the voting with 3.9 percent of the vote, followed by Drew Pearson at 2.1, then Ken Anderson, Johnny Robinson and Pat Fischer.