Daughter of Packers legend determined to see her dad in Pro Football Hall of Fame
Lance Allan and Stephanie Graham
Jerry Kramer (64). Photo: Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel archives
MILWAUKEE - The 1960's. It was a different time in football.
Bud Lea is a retired sports columnist for the Milwaukee Journal and the Milwaukee Sentinel.
He recalls, "You could interview guys then. You could go up to their rooms, even under Lombardi, you could get real close to all the drills."
One of Lea's favorite players was Jerry Kramer. Lea says, "He could do so much. Jerry was a great interview."
Kramer spent 11 years with the Packers as an offensive lineman. He was a 5-time All-Pro during the Lombardi era, when the team won five championships in seven years and an unsurpassed three consecutive NFL titles.
"I remember Vince saying that Jerry Kramer is the best guard in the NFL," Lea adds.
Jerry's daughter Alicia, who lives in Boise, Idaho, wasn't alive during those years.
Still, she's proud of everything her father accomplished.
"He's an ambassador to football, and you couldn't ask for a better ambassador to football," said Alicia.
That's why Alicia is making it her mission to get her father into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Lea agrees Jerry is deserving. He says even players who played against him think he should be in.
"Players are backing him. Merlin Olsen for the Rams wrote a long letter," Lea points out.
In fact, writing a letter to the Hall of Fame is the only way to nominate a player. Alicia has a website, and Facebook and Twitter pages encouraging fans to write in and nominate her dad.
"If you write a letter and explain your feelings about Dad's career and what it meant to you as a fan, that really goes a long way," Alicia explains.
Alicia can't understand why her dad gets passed over every year. "That's what's so hard about this, is if we could have an answer - why Dad's not in."
She says her father, who is 77, has basically accepted that he may never get into the Hall of Fame.
"He would really like to be a part of it, but he's not going to let it effect the rest of his life if he doesn't have it. He says football has been pretty good to him, so he's pretty happy," Alicia says.
After all, football is Jerry's life.
He has worked as a sports commentator, and even authored a few books about the sport.
Lea likes the books. He says, "Great books. They're best-sellers."
Lea says there's just something special about Jerry.
"He's decent with people, he's very obliging. Such an interesting person, and he can tell a good story," Lea explains.
So, does Lea think Jerry will get in the Hall of Fame?
He says, "I would vote for him right away. And I think chances are gonna be slim, but I think there's still a sliver of a chance, and boy that would make his day, really."
Alicia says she's not ready to give up the fight yet.
"Dad's friends and teammates are passing away. It's just, it's all slipping away, and it's made me...it's made me appreciate who Dad is,' Alicia says.
A selection committee made up of sportswriters from every league city makes the final decision on who will be elected into the Pro Footbal Hall of Fame.
You can send a letter to nominate Jerry. Click here for a link to more information.
The Packers have 21 players and coaches in the hall, including 12 from the Lombardi era. That includes linebacker Dave Robinson, who was just elected this year.
Jay Sorgi contributed to this report;.