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This Day In Sports: Good things come to those who wait – and wait

2018: Jerry Kramer wondered if it would ever happen. The people around him made sure it did. At the age of 82, the former Idaho great finally has a place in Canton.

BOISE, Idaho — THIS DAY IN SPORTS…February 3, 2018, five years ago today:

After 11 nominations over 45 years, former Idaho Vandal and Green Bay Packer Jerry Kramer is finally elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Kramer, who grew up in Sandpoint, was a star guard and kicker at Idaho before an 11-year NFL career as a Packer from 1958-68. Kramer was the only member of the 1969 NFL 50th Anniversary Team who wasn’t in the Hall. NFL Network rated him No. 1 on its list of the best players not enshrined in Canton — in 2008.

Kramer was a 6-3, 245-pound guard at a time when that was a stout weight for an NFL lineman. He was a five-time All-Pro and was part of five NFL championships, including victories in the first two Super Bowls. Kramer was also the Packers’ kicker for three seasons. He won one of those titles with his foot, kicking three field goals and an extra point in Green Bay’s 16-7 win over the New York Giants in the 1962 NFL Championship Game.

Kramer’s most famous block, of course, was the one that got Bart Starr into the end zone to win the legendary Ice Bowl in Green Bay against Dallas in the 1967 NFL Championship Game. On third-and-goal from inside the Cowboys’ one-yard line with 16 seconds remaining and no timeouts, the Packers gambled that Kramer would be able to open a hole, and the rest is history. It was indeed the “frozen tundra of Lambeau Field,” as the temperature at kickoff was 13 below zero with a wind chill of 36 below.

The unsung hero in Kramer’s election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame was one of the seven other people in his hotel room when he got the coveted knock on the door from Hall of Fame president David Hall. It was Kramer’s daughter, Alicia, who campaigned relentlessly on her dad’s behalf and wouldn’t let the quest die, even when Kramer wondered if it was worth it.

After the initial celebration died down, attention turned to who would give his introductory speech in Canton, Ohio, in August.

“I think it should be given by the person who busted her ass the most to make this happen,” said Kramer, referring to Alicia.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, “Kramer goes through the room person by person asking if it should be Alicia. Each yes is more emphatic than the last.”

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)

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