Bart Starr, the MVP of the first two Super Bowls and a cornerstone of the Packers’ dynasty of the 1960s, has died. He was 85.
The Packers announced the death of the legendary quarterback on Sunday morning.
“We are saddened to note the passing of our husband, father, grandfather, and friend, Bart Starr,” Starr’s family said in a statement released by the Packers. “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.
“Our family wishes to thank the thousands of friends and fans who have enriched his life — and therefore our lives — for so many decades and especially during the past five years. Each letter, text, phone call, and personal visit inspired him and filled him with joy.
“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.”
A 17th-round pick of the Packers in the 1956 NFL draft, Starr remained with the team through 1971 as a player. He served as quarterbacks coach in 1972, and he then became the team’s head coach from 1975 through 1983.
Despite the Super Bowl wins and the league titles prior to the creation of the NFL-AFL championship game, Starr’s iconic moment came as he plunged into the end zone to score the decisive touchdown in the Ice Bowl, the NFL championship game against the Cowboys preceding Super Bowl II.
Starr suggested the quarterback sneak to coach Vince Lombardi, who said in response, “Well then run it, and let’s get the hell out of here.”
Starr became the full-time starter in 1959, Lombardi’s first year as Green Bay coach. Enshrined in both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Packers Hall of Fame in 1977, Starr is one of six players to have his number retired by the team.
We extend our condolences to Starr’s family, friends, teammates, and colleagues, and to the entire Packers organization.