NFL Quarterback Legend And Actor Was 85 — Bart Starr Dies

NFL Quarterback Legend And Actor Was 85 — Bart Starr Dies

Bart Starr, the Green Bay Packers quarterback and catalyst of Vince Lombardi's powerhouse teams of the 1960s, has died. But even with two Super Bowl MVPs on his list of accomplishments, this National Football League championship game that sent Green Bay to the first Super Bowl is Starr's biggest postseason passing performance. It was his only rushing TD for the 1965 season, when the Packers returned to the top of the football world.

Starr suffered two strokes and a heart attack in early September 2014.

"A champion on and off the field, Bart epitomized class and was beloved by generations of Packers fans", Packers President Mark Murphy said in a statement.

Brett Favre, right, stands with Bart Starr at a 2015 Green Bay Packers game. Starr is one of only six Packers to have a jersey retired by the team. He won league MVP in 1966 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977. Starr was troubled by injuries throughout his college career, including a severe back injury suffered during a hazing incident - a fact not made public until a story written by AL.com's Joseph Goodman in 2016.

Lombardi liked Starr's mechanics, his arm strength and especially his decision-making abilities.

Starr became the starting quarterback in 1959. He credited Lombardi for showing him "that by working hard and using my mind, I could overcome my weakness to the point where I could be one of the best". But Starr managed to turn back the clock with one of the three games in his career in which he threw four touchdown passes - and the second time that he did it against Dallas. He was the NFL's Most Valuable Player in 1966 and was named to five Pro Bowls.

Bart Starr was MVP of Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II. Starr played in 32 more games, but he never again exceeded his passing yardage in this contest.

That was certainly true at Lambeau Field on December 31, 1967, the date of the NFL Championship Game, better known as the "Ice Bowl".

In another treasured moment in Packers history, Starr rode a golf cart from the stadium's tunnel in a steady rain to center stage where he greeted and embraced Favre in a moment that no doubt brought cheer, chills and tears to many in the crowd of almost 80,000.

"It was 20 degrees the day before", the late Tom Landry once recalled. He was also involved in a number of charitable works, including the Rawhide Boys Ranch, the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation and the Starr Children's fund.

Believe it or not, the all-time great was a 17th round draft choice for the Packers in 1956.

Halfback Donny Anderson slipped twice on handoffs, so Starr called timeout, went to the sideline and suggested a sneak because of the poor traction.

The play worked perfectly, a flawless finish to that coldest of games so frozen in time. Blackbourn presciently told the press, "The boy has a lot of poise".

"But toward the end, he was as good as there was", Schnelker said. The even-mannered Starr was the flawless complement for the fiery Lombardi.

"If somebody was open, he'd get you the ball". He stayed with Green Bay as quarterback coach and in 1975 was named head coach, compiling a 52-76-3 record before he was dismissed at the end of the 1983 season.

Starr is survived by his wife Cherry, his high school sweetheart whom he married in 1954, son Bart Jr., and several grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his youngest son, Bret.

"We are saddened to note the passing of our husband, father, grandfather, and friend, Bart Starr", read a statement from Starr's family.

"His love for all of humanity is well known, and his affection toward the residents of Alabama and of Wisconsin filled him with gratitude. He had hoped to make one last trip to Green Bay to watch the Packers this fall, but he shall forever be there in spirit", his family said.

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