National Football League community pays tribute to late Packers legend Bart Starr


Packers Hall of Fame Quarterback Bart Starr Dies at 85

Green Bay Packers legend Bart Starr was born January 9, 1934, in Montgomery, Alabama.

"We are saddened to note the passing of our husband, father, grandfather, and friend, Bart Starr", his family said in statement. He had been in failing health since suffering a serious stroke in 2014. "But his most recent illness was too much to overcome", reads a statement from the Starr family. He attended college at the University of Alabama, where he experienced an up-and-down four years as the team's quarterback.

Until Tom Brady won his sixth Super Bowl with the New England Patriots earlier this year, Starr held the record for the most Super Bowls won by a quarterback. He split time with Babe Parilli in Green Bay until the arrival in 1959 of coach Vince Lombardi, who quickly made Starr his starter.

The game has been nicknamed the "Ice Bowl" due to the -15 F temperature and -48 F wind chill at Lambeau Field.

Starr, a Hall of Famer, played for the Packers from 1956 to 1971.

But Starr did more in his career than hand off to Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor and ride Lombardi's genius to unprecedented success on the field.

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After losing to the Eagles in the 1960 NFL Championship Game, the Packers never lost another postseason contest with Starr at the helm.

Bart Starr was MVP of Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II. As the Packers' play-caller, he chose when to hand off to Hornung and Taylor and how to channel Lombardi's genius on the field. He was not particularly successful in the role, and was eventually fired after nine years of coaching.

With five games remaining in the season, Starr was given his chance to showcase his talents for an injured McHan and went 4-1. "Class act" would forever be used to describe Bart Starr.

Starr threw a 26-yard pass to Carroll Dale with the Packers trailing 10-0 in the second quarter, tossed two TD passes to tight end Marv Fleming in the third quarter and completed the scoring with a 5-yard scoring pass to Boyd Dowler in the fourth quarter.

Starr was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

Lombardi allowed Starr to call his own plays and rarely found reason to second guess his quarterback. He then spent two years as a broadcaster with CBS before being named Green Bay's head coach and general manager on Christmas Eve 1974.

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In 2014, Starr suffered two strokes and a heart attack. His recovery has included stem cell treatment and working with a trainer. He is survived by his wife, Cherry, who he married in 1954, and another son, Bart Jr.

News of Starr's passing was announced Sunday morning, May 28 via the Green Bay Packers Twitter account.

He made one of his final public appearances on November 25 of previous year, attending the jersey retirement ceremony for quarterback Brett Favre at Lambeau Field.

The game also epitomized Starr's contribution to pro football's greatest dynasty. Bart Starr auctioned his 1967 Super Bowl MVP Corvette to help cover the costs of starting the non-profit that helps at-risk young people.

President Richard M. Nixon, speaking at a testimonial dinner for Starr in 1970, said: "The Sixties will be described as the decade in which football became the number one sport in America, in which the Packers were the number one team, and Bart Starr was proudly the number one Packer".

As a player, he will be remembered for being the only quarterback ever to lead his team to five National Football League titles in a decade and for that frozen-in-time moment where he was lying face down under a pile of bodies in the south end zone of Lambeau Field, the hero of the Ice Bowl. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Cherry and the entire Starr family".

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