Lombardi: Don't forget 'Robbie'

Brad Kurtzberg and Laura Veras Marran recently wrote articles for PackerReport.com concerning Jerry Kramer and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. They argued that Jerry belongs in the Hall. Not only do I agree, but I think that there is another Packer star who has been slighted by the voters.

Dave Robinson also deserves strong consideration for admittance into the Hall.

Robinson's talents and accomplishments deserve recognition. He played linebacker for the Packers from 1963 to 1972, and finished his career with the Redskins in 1973 and 74. He was drafted in the first round out of Penn State, where he was an All-American defensive end. He converted to linebacker and was a man ahead of his time. He was big, strong and fast. He carried 245 pounds on his frame and that was big back then. If you had to design a linebacker, you would design Dave Robinson. He had a nose for the ball and had speed to spare and when he arrived at the point of impact, the opposing ball carrier knew about it. One of Dave's greatest assets was his intelligence. He majored in Civil Engineering at Penn State.

He was elected to the Pro Bowl three times, in 1966, 1967 and 1969. He was a big play guy. In his Packer career, he intercepted 21 passes and recovered nine fumbles and in the 1966 NFL Championship Game, he made one of the biggest plays in Packer history.

Playing the Cowboys in Dallas, Don Meredith had the Cowboys on the Packer's 2 yard line with 28 seconds left. A touchdown ties the game and sends the contest into overtime. The Cowboys have momentum and they probably triumph in the fifth period, especially if they win the coin toss. Robinson's pressure on Meredith forced a pass that was intercepted by Tom Brown, clinching the Packers' trip to the first Super Bowl. Not as well known as the Ice Bowl, this victory was just as important. Without it, the Cowboys more than likely whip the Chiefs and who knows how history records the Lombardi Era Packers.

I cannot find a record of whether he was ever a finalist for the Hall of Fame, but with his teammates taking precedence, it is not surprising. Kramer was on the finalist list for at least nine years. Paul Hornung was on it for 12 years before he was elected. From what I know, each NFL city has a representative. There are some at-large selectors also. They are usually journalists or television types. These scribes and commentators suggest eligible players and then debate the merits of each candidate. Then they vote. If I do my math right, Dave would have been eligible in 1979. Herb Adderley, Hornung, Kramer, Willie Wood, Jim Ringo, and Willie Davis were all eligible at that time or in subsequent years. Adderley, Wood, Ringo, Hornung and Davis all got it. Dave never had a chance. I can only surmise that the voters were hesitant to put more Packers in. Part of the reason Kramer has never made it.

Too much time has expired since Robby was a serious candidate, so the odds of him getting in are virtually nonexistent. He should be there, along with his teammates. There is not a better guy to ever strap on a helmet and there are few players who played the game as well as him.

Editor's note: John Lombardi is the grandson of legendary coach Vince Lombardi. John resides with his family in Green Bay . His football experience includes stints with two teams in the World League (now NFL Europe); in the scouting departments of the Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans; and graduate assistant coach and director of football operations at Vanderbilt. He will be contributing columns for PackerReport.com.

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