The Green Bay Packers announced via Twitter on Sunday that legendary Packer QB Bart Starr has passed away at 85.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) May 26, 2019
Buccaneer fans from my generation knew Starr more as the coach of the Packers, who he head coached for nine years from 1974-1983. But there are a few Bart Starr facts I’d like to share with you, if you would indulge me.
A NFL Legend
It seems to football fans today that there is Tom Brady, and everybody else who has ever tossed the pigskin. But did you know that Bart Starr would himself win five NFL championships, become a two-time Super Bowl champion, or go to four Pro Bowls? He led the league in passing five times and was voted to the 1960’s all decade team. Another Brady/Starr nugget, Tom Brady was selected 199th in the 2000 draft out of Michigan. Bart Starr was selected 200th in the 1956 draft out of Alabama.
Starr’s Humble Beginnings
After trying out for the high school team as a sophomore at Sidney Lanier high school in Montgomery Alabama, Starr would quit the team two weeks later. When given a choice by his father to play football or work in the family garden, Starr chose to return to the football field.
Starr would injure his back in a college hazing incident during initiation into the Alabama “A” club. That injury, although reported by Starr to have occurred during a punt, would keep him out for most of his junior season and he would play sparingly during his senior season. It was Alabama basketball coach Johnny Dee, a friend of Packers personnel director Jack Vainisi, who recommended Starr as a prospect to the Packers. Talk about a good source.
Bart Starr would spend the 1956 Summer living with his in-laws in Alabama and throwing footballs through a tire in preparation for his rookie season. After spending three seasons as a Packer backup, in 1959 Vince Lombardi would come in and name Starr his starter. And the rest as they say is history.
Buccaneer fans tip our hat to one of the greatest ever. After suffering a severe stroke in 2014, Starr has now gone home and is probably throwing a few through a tire swinging in a tree somewhere right now.