Bart Starr, the Green Bay Packers quarterback from 1956 to 1971, passed away on Sunday. He died at his home in Birmingham, Alabama at the age of 85.
His death was the culmination of deteriorating health since suffering two strokes and a heart attack in 2014.
According to a statement released by his family, the last bout of illness before he died was “too much to overcome.”
We are saddened to note the passing of our husband, father, grandfather, and friend, Bart Starr. He battled with courage and determination to transcend the serious stroke he suffered in September 2014, but his most recent illness was too much to overcome.
While he may always be best known for his success as the Packers quarterback for 16 years, his true legacy will always be the respectful manner in which he treated every person he met, his humble demeanor, and his generous spirit.
Starr’s life and NFL career
Starr was born in Montgomery, Alabama, to Benjamin Bryan and Lula Starr in January 1934. He attended Sidney Lanier High School in Montgomery where he played football briefly before he quit.
However, he returned to play for his school team due to pressure from his father.
— NFL (@NFL) May 26, 2019
He also played football at the University of Alabama, and the Packers selected him with the 200th pick in the 17th round of the 1956 NFL draft.
But it was after Vince Lombardi’s arrival as Green Bay Packers’ head coach in 1959 that Starr’s career began to rise until he became one of the league’s top quarterbacks.
He is on record as the only quarterback in the history of NFL to lead his team to three consecutive (1965-1967) championships. He also led the Packers to victories in Super Bowls I (1967) and II (1968).
He was named the NFL (Most Valuable Player) MVP in 1966 and the MVP of Super Bowls I and II. When the Packers retired Starr’s number 15 Jersey in 1973, he became the third player to be so honored.
He earned two All-Pro and four Pro Bowl selections and earned a spot on the All-Decades team of the ’60s.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Packers Hall of Fame in 1977.
One of the most memorable moments in his career was the Packers’ 21-17 win over Dallas Cowboys in the “Ice Bowl” 1967 NFL Championship.
In the game, played on December 3, 1967, in -16-degree weather with a wind chill that fell as low as -46, Starr, who was responsible for calling plays as the quarterback, suggested a wedge play. Instead of handing off to Chuck Mercein as expected, he held on to the ball and ran it in himself.
The suggestion worked, and Starr helped the Packers win the game.
He faced challenges later, during his time as Packers’ head coach, winning only 41 percent of his games from 1975-83, with a record of 53-77-3 (.408), including a 1-1 record in the playoffs.
After his retirement from the NFL, he became a businessman in Birmingham, Alabama.