Bart Starr, Hall of Fame Green Bay Packers QB, Has Died at 85

The Hall of Fame Quarterback Was 85

Bart Starr: 1934-2019 (Bettmann)
Bart Starr: 1934-2019 (Bettmann)
Bettmann Archive

Bart Starr, the quarterback beloved by Green Bay Packers fans for his sixteen years leading the team, has died at the age of 85, according to a statement issued by his family. He guided the team to five NFL Championships, a record held until Tom Brady broke it earlier this year. His #15 is also one of only six numbers to be retired by the Green Bay Packers.

After a collegiate career at the University of Alabama, Starr was selected by the Packers in the 17th round of the 1956 draft. It wasn’t until Vince Lombardi began coaching the Packers that Starr’s career took off. In addition to winning the NFL Championship five times, including the first two Super Bowls, Starr was named the league’s Most Valuable Player in 1966. Among his most memorable accomplishments was scoring the decisive touchdown in the 1967 NFL Championship Game, also known as the “Ice Bowl.”

He retired in 1972, at the age of 38. In 1975, he was named head coach of the Packers, a role he held until 1983. In 1977, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Since 1989, the NFL has given the Bart Starr Award to the player who “best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field, and in the community.” Starr’s legacy extends off the field as well: he and his wife Cherry were also deeply involved with the activities of the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation from the time of its inception in 1971.

In a 2009 interview, Starr looked back warmly on his time in Wisconsin. “But more important to me was to always cherish the great years we had here with the wonderful people of Green Bay, and all the wonderful people around here that enabled us to win five championships in seven years,” he said. In the end, Starr’s legacy both on and off the field is a powerful and lasting one.

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