One more member of the Lombardi Packers in the Hall. I've often commented that Lombardi was great at growing talent already on the team but wasn't that great with drafting it, particularly in the first round. Now that two of his first round picks are Hall of Famers(Robinson taken in the first in 1963, Herb Adderly in the first in '61), I need to retract that. But those two are probably the only two who would have made it to Canton with any other team or any other coach.
Six other future Hall of Famers, Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Jim Taylor, Jim Ringo, Forrest Gregg, and Ray Nitschke all were on the 1958 1-10-1 Packers, the year before Lombardi arrived. Okay, maybe Ringo and Gregg have solid careers without Lombardi, but the rest were floundering.
Of course this induction is somewhat bittersweet. Robinson belongs in the Hall, but no more than O-lineman Jerry Kramer does. And Robinson was nominated in a year when Kramer's daughter led an all out campaign to get him in. Kramer urged that if he wasn't a finalist this time that there be no more efforts on his behalf to get him in. The longstanding excuse for Kramer's shutout was that there were too many Lombardi Packers with busts in Canton already. Well, that excuse is shot to hell.
One other thought; a lot of the guys on that woeful '58 team were on most of the Lombardi championship teams (several were gone for the 5th and final ring in '67, most notably Hornung and Taylor). I was six years old when the Packers hoisted Lombardi on their shoulders for the final time and I don't remember the era when staying with the same team for your entire career was the norm. I think that's why Donald Driver's classy retirement this week is important to fans as it is.