Jerry Kramer is getting another shot at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The former Green Bay Packers guard along with ex-Houston Oilers linebacker Robert Brazile were picked Thursday as senior finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2018.
Some consider Kramer as not only the former Packers player most deserving but also one of the biggest omissions from the Hall of Fame.
It was 20 years ago when he was last up for consideration as a senior committee finalist. Previously, he had been a finalist nine times as a modern-day nominee. He has been nominated more times (11) than anyone else without being inducted.
The Vince Lombardi-era guard is best known for his goal-line block on Bart Starr’s winning quarterback sneak in the Ice Bowl. In his 11 seasons with the Packers (1958-68), he was part of five NFL championships and wins in the first two Super Bowls. He was named to the NFL’s 50th Anniversary Team in 1969.
Kramer’s family, led by his daughter Alicia, have long campaigned for him to be considered again by the senior committee. Her first public reaction to the news was one word in a Twitter post:
— Alicia E. Kramer (@JerryKramer4HOF) August 24, 2017
Kramer has said several times in recent years that he’s at peace with whatever happens regarding the Hall of Fame.
“The game of football has been very, very good to me, and it’s just been a wonderful ride,” Kramer said during a 2015 interview. “I was pretty emotional about it 30 years ago when my guys went in. I got my lip out and [said], ‘Boy, if they call me, I’m going to tell them where to put it; I ain’t going.’ … I’m very comfortable with where I am, and if the Hall comes along, it’d be great. If it doesn’t come along, life is great.”
Brazile, known as Dr. Doom in his playing days, was a four-time All-Pro linebacker for the Oilers from 1975 to 1984. He also was selected to seven Pro Bowls and the NFL’s all-decade team of the 1970s.
Brazile is the second-leading tackler in Oilers/Titans franchise history (1,281). He also is seventh in sacks (48).
“I don’t know what to say,” Brazile said after receiving the call from Hall of Fame president David Baker. “I’m speechless.”
Titans coach Mike Mularkey was starting his playing days around the same time Brazile’s career was ending. Mularkey’s most vivid memories of Brazile came from watching the Steelers-Oilers rivalry as a Pittsburgh fan and seeing how tough the Oilers linebacker was to play against.
“I just remember he was a really good player,” Mularkey said.
Brazile and Kramer will await the selection committee’s vote on Feb. 3, the Saturday before Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis. A 48-member selection committee will determine whether they receive the 80 percent “yes” vote for Hall election.