Thomas Francis Kramer or popularly known as Tommy Kramer, was a professional football player in the NFL from 1977 to 1990. When he was in college, he played for Rice University, and he eventually got picked by the Minnesota Vikings during the first round of the NFL Draft in 1997. In this article, we will know more about the humble beginnings and the peak of Tommy Kramer’s career.
Tommy Kramer attended Robert E. Lee High School in San Antonio, where he started his interest and career in football. He showed his incredible skills in the sport, and he even led the Lee Volunteers in earning a state title in 1971, where they had a 28-27 victory. The said game in 1971 also happens to be the first high school game that was played in the new Texas, Stadium, and hailed as the best high school game that was ever played in Texas.
During Tommy Kramer’s two years on the varsity, the Lee Volunteers went 27-1-1 wherein they beat the Wichita Falls High School for the Class 4a state title. As a senior, Kramer managed to pass 2,588 yards, completed 1149 of 294 passes of 28 touchdowns, and a state record. In just two seasons, Kramer managed to complete 327 of 597 attempts for 54 touchdowns and 5,489 yards.
After showing stellar skills at Lee, Kramer attended Rice University, where he became another one of San Antonio’s best football players. While he was in college, Kramer helped the Rice Owls for four consecutive years. Since he joined the Rice Owls, Kramer’s career and season marks became the standard at Rice University for over 30 years until Chase Clement shattered his records. The latter is also a San Antonio signal-caller.
Tommy Kramer finished college with school records in single-season passing yards, 3,272 total season offense, 6,197 career passing yards, 6,336 total career offense, 37 career touchdown passes, 25 total season touchdowns, and 48 total career touchdowns. In 1976, Kramer was awarded a George Martin Award as Rice’s MVP. In 1984, he was inducted in the Rice Athletic Hall of Fame.
Kramer also played in the Blue-Gray Fame and Senior Ball in 1976, where he became an MVP of the Senior Bowl. That same year, he was awarded the Fort Worth Kiwanis Sportsmanship Award.
Before the 1979 NFL season, Tommy Kramer was recruited by the Vikings as their quarterback when Fran Tarkenton retired. The Vikings drafted Kramer as Tarkenton’s replacement. When Kramer started playing for the Vikings, he earned the nickname “Two-minute Tommy” because of his several late-game and came from behind victories. Like what happened at the final home game of the 1980 season where the Vikings went against the Cleveland Browns, Kramer showcased a game-winning Hail Mary pass with just six seconds left in the game. Ahmad Rashad was huddled in a group of Browns defenders. However, he still managed to catch the ball and throw it back into the end zone. This play is now known as the Miracle at the Met. However, the Vikings lost their final game the next week, but they still managed to enter the playoffs at 9-7.
During Kramer’s career as a member of the Vikings, he suffered a handful of on-the-field injuries, which made him missed several games during the mid-1980s. But during the 1986 season, Kramer was selected for the Pro-Bowl, wherein he became the NFL’s highest-rated quarterback. Tommy Kramer was the first NFL quarterback that managed to throw over 450 yards twice in one game. He also once threw six touchdowns in just one game. After the 1989 season, the Vikings let go of Kramer, and he was signed by the New Orleans Saints the following year. However, after playing one season for the Saints, Kramer announced that he would be going to retire after the 1990 season.