Idaho football legend Jerry Kramer was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday — ending a controversy that dragged on for decades.
Kramer, who grew up in Sandpoint and played for the University of Idaho, was a standout offensive guard for the Green Bay Packers during the Vince Lombardi era. He was the only member of the NFL’s 50th anniversary team not in the Hall of Fame until he was selected Saturday.
Kramer was a finalist for the 11th time but the first time since 1997.
He’ll be inducted into the Hall of Fame this coming summer as part of an eight-man class. The others are wide receiver Randy Moss, linebacker Brian Urlacher, linebacker Ray Lewis, defensive back Brian Dawkins, wide receiver Terrell Owens, linebacker Robert Brazile and executive Bobby Beathard.
Kramer is the second Idaho native selected for the Hall of Fame. Free safety Larry Wilson of the St. Louis Cardinals (Rigby) was inducted in 1978.
Longtime NFL writer Rick Gosselin presented Kramer’s case to the 48-person selection committee. He needed 80 percent of the vote to get in.
“This is such a woeful oversight by this committee,” Gosselin told the Wisconsin State Journal before the vote. “He belongs in. And I want to get him in.”
Kramer played 11 seasons for the Packers from 1958 to 1968. He was a five-time All-Pro and helped the Packers win five NFL championships, including wins in Super Bowls I and II. In college, he was a standout for the Vandals at guard and kicker. He was Idaho’s first All-American when he gained honorable mention honors as a junior in 1956 and added first-team accolades in 1957. He also competed on the Vandals’ track and field team, leaving as the school record holder in the shot put. He was drafted by the Packers with the 39th overall pick in the 1958 NFL Draft.
Kramer’s No. 64 football jersey was retired at Idaho on Jan. 23, 1963, and he was a charter member of the Vandal Athletics Hall of Fame.
Kramer is the first Vandal to join the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He joins former Boise Junior College star Dave Wilcox as the only members of the Hall of Fame to attend an Idaho college.
“On behalf of the entire Green Bay Packers organization, I want to congratulate Jerry on this well-deserved honor,” Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy said in a press release. “I’m so happy for Jerry. His patience has been rewarded, as he will finally be going into the Hall of Fame after being a finalist 11 times. He was a key part of the offenses on the great Lombardi teams, as well as an outstanding leader. He’s remained actively involved with the Packers over the years and is beloved by our fans.”