A Tribute to #64
Written by Dr Jim Tunney on July 30, 2018
On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS July 30, 2018, #703…A Tribute to #64
After further review…The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018 will be inducted this next weekend (August 2-5) in Canton, Ohio with 7 new enshrinees. I officiated on the NFL field with most of them. However, the TunneySide is paying special tribute to #64, Jerry Kramer. Kramer played 11 years with the Green Bay Packers retiring in 1968. He was hall-eligible in 1973, five years after his retirement. Kramer has waited 45 years to be selected. You may have seen the video of his former Head Coach Vince Lombardi (HoF ’71) diagraming his famous play with the words, “a seal here and a seal here, we’ll run the ball up this alley” or words to that effect.
Foremost on that running play was #64, pulling guard Kramer leading the way for running backs Jim Taylor (HoF ’76) and Paul Hornung (HoF ’86). Kramer was also the lead blocker when quarterback Bart Starr (Hof ’77) crossed the goal line in the 1967 “Ice Bowl” game to defeat the Dallas Cowboys. Following that game, the Packers went on to win Super Bowls I and II with Kramer leading those players in both.
Why did it take 45 years for Kramer’s induction? While no one really knows, suffice it to say that it may be more difficult for the HoF selection committee to identify statistically the contribution that an interior lineman makes in comparison to the passing statistics of a quarterback or the rushing yards of a running back or the number of catches that a receiver makes. Nonetheless, none of the above can happen without the best efforts of the linemen. Kramer didn’t remain silent about his playing time opportunities with the Packers. He is a dynamic speaker on football as well as a published author and a community supporter.
Others have been overlooked as well, namely Head Coach Tom Floresand quarterback Jim Plunkett. As Head Coach, Flores won two Super Bowls (XV-1980) with the Oakland Raiders and (XVIII-1983) with the Los Angeles Raiders. Playing quarterback under Flores, Plunkett was the MVP in SB XV defeating the Eagles, and again won SB XVIII, defeating the Redskins.
During the 55 years of the Pro Football HoF, others have been overlooked. As a 31-year on-field NFL official, I must add that the HoF has never inducted any on-field NFL official, while the NBA, MLB, NHL and boxing have inducted professional officials along with players and coaches. I have worked with many of those who were not only superior in their positions but mentors.
While the TunneySide congratulates the Class of 2018, it is sad to report that Terrell Owens, aka T.O., selected for this class, has decided not to attend these enshrinement ceremonies. It is reported that Owens is upset that he was eligible two previous years but was ignored! In the opinion here, Owens pouting is misplaced. Kramer waited 45 years, Owens waited for only three.
Will you log-in your thoughts about your favorite who may or not be in the Pro-football HoF?
To contact Jim, go to JimTunney.com or email Jim@JimTunney.com.