Packers legend Bart Starr dies at 85

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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.

111 responses to “Packers legend Bart Starr dies at 85

  1. Lombardi’s first year and Starr’s first year as a starter was the same year my father purchased season tickets. I met both men when I was a kid, when they bunked and trained at St. Norbert’s. The memories and successes the Packers have provided me as a fan are unmatchable. God Bless Bart Starr. God Bless the thirteen-time champion Green Bay Packers. Great stuff.

  2. RIP Bart!

    Heyguru1969, no one cares you’re a lifelong Cowboys fan. The Cowboys are the most annoying franchise in all of sports.

  3. A life well lived. Truly a legend both on and off the field. He probably would a been a good Head Coach too if he didn’t have a front office full of knuckleheads his entire coaching career.

    It’s nothing short of a disgrace that he never gets mentioned in the conversation of best all-time QB’S. 5 NFL tittles in 7 years speaks for itself. And he called his own plays.

    Rest In Peace, Bart. My thoughts and prayers to his family as well.

  4. Black and Blue
    maybe a little class and decorum would be a better choice on this occasion than a cheap shot.
    RIP Mr Starr

  5. Sad day in Packers country. Not only was this guy extremely talented, but one of the classiest men to every play the game. He was also a tremendous ambassador of the game since he retired. The NFL will miss him. RIP Mr. Starr.

  6. Two weeks back I had an extensive tour of the L.A. Coliseum where they have a great tribute to Super Bowl I. It’s going under a total renovation but I stood on the field facing the iconic gates right where Starr stood in a great picture from behind the Packers offense. R.I.P. Bart.

    I can hear the Ray Scott call ….”Starr…to McGhee….Touchdown, Packers!”

  7. My sports consciousness began in the mid sixties. Because of where I lived, I became a Cowboys fan and those title games damaged me as much as anything could have to a kid in 1st and second grade. I would learn as I grew up that many of those Packers players were to be looked upon as decent, hard working gentlemen that were to be admired for their character and not to be hated for the uniform they wore. Bart Starr was at the top of that list. RIP

  8. I have been a Vikings fan since birth, bleeding purple for 58 years. I have learned to hate (in a respectful way) my arch rival to the East. Today… I cry green and gold tears. RIP Bart Starr. You led my hated rival with class and grace.

  9. RIP, Bart Starr. Classy as they come, and humble. You don’t see either one of those very often in today’s game

    Btw, round 17? The draft is 7 rounds now and it’s too many.

  10. Bart was one of the best. What a man. What a legend. Rest in peace and condolences to the family.

  11. What a man, player, teammate, champion. Played in an era where the NFL was full of tough violent hard hitting gladiators and lived to be 85, go figure. I was so sad to hear this news of the passing of a great Packer Hall Of Famer. You will be missed Bart and thanks for all the great games and highlights. A true champion. RIP

  12. Rest in Peace Bart Starr. You were one of the great ones. More importantly, you were a class act all the way.

  13. He’s the best quarterback Green Bay ever had in franchise history. He showed up to win the games that mattered most and did it five times (1961, 1962, 1965, 1966, and 1967). You know you’ve made an impact on the game when the NFL has an award named after you, the Bart Starr Award.

  14. Postseason 9-1 and still highest rated postseason passer rating ever? (Which is truly remarkable as totally different rules and two of his games are among the coldest and windiest ever played in ’62 and ’67)

  15. A truly humble and great man, Starr will forever be the epitome of what it is to be a Green Bay Packer. Condolences to the Starr family.

  16. I only got to see him play at the very end of his career, after the glory days were done. He is one of the most important players in NFL history. But his legacy is more than his exploits on the gridiron. He also helped countless at-risk young men through his Rawhide Boys Ranch program, which continues to this day. He was a legend on the gridiron, but he left footprints well beyond that space. RIP.

  17. Wow, life goes by fast. RIP Bart Starr. He was the first pro athlete I remember hearing about as a youngster. I don’t think anyone ever had a negative thought about this man. People like pro athletes, but they loved Bart Starr.

  18. Sad day.
    Great QB did not get near enough credit for the success the Packers had.

  19. One by one they are leaving us , our boyhood heroes , but not our memories of them ; they grow larger than life with each passing day !
    God bless them all .

  20. I discovered pro football on TV in 1966 and was instantly a Packer fan, primarily because of Bart Starr. He was my favorite player throughout the remainder of his career. I remember being mystified that he didn’t get the accolades and credit I thought he deserved, whereas guys like Unitas and Dawson did. Those others were good, but Bart was the greatest.

  21. Legend. Iconic. gentlemen. Wish today’s players could have just a ounce of humility like Starr showed to the end. True gentlemen.

  22. Aside from a couple of obvious negative comments, I hope those thumbs down votes are individuals needing glasses who just hit the wrong icon. I can’t imagine what you are otherwise.

    Bart Starr; CLASS. Condolences and Best Wishes to his family and every football fan whoever had the good fortune to watch him play.

  23. RIP Mr. Starr.
    I find it amazing that he lived so long despite playing old school football. Whereas today’s players die young, probably due to poor health decisions (e.g. drugs, PEDs).

  24. Prayers for his loved ones. He led a great life. Definitely a guy to look up to and was a good role model. From this Vikings fan, RIP Bart.

  25. I saw my first Packers game in 1961. I was there for the Packers glory years.
    You can talk about Favre being the greatest, or Rodgers being the greatest. They’re both runners-up to Starr.

    He was the greatest.

  26. Coach’s passing away is almost personal – as long as I’ve been alive, Bart Starr has been the consummate Green Bay Packer. Between Coach and Jerry Kramer, you’d be hard pressed to find a couple of more shining ambassadors of the Green Bay Packers.

    Thanks Coach.

  27. i will take bart starr and his 5 championships (two SB included) over all the cheating two-yard tommie hype, anyday…..

    thanx Bart for making the game that much better.

  28. thecatalinawinemixer says:
    Btw, round 17? The draft is 7 rounds now and it’s too many.

    There were 12 NFL teams at the time. The 17th round is the equivalent to a late sixth- or early seventh-round pick today. I get what you’re saying, however.
    RIP Mr. Starr. Truly one of the great ones — not only as a player, but a man of character and integrity. Thanks for the boyhood memories, and condolences to the Starr family.

  29. I’m a lifelong Cowboys fan but in 2006 I got to go to Lambeau Field and they showed us the spot where Bart Starr ran the sneak against the Cowboys in the Ice Bowl and I got chills looking at it and thinking about the history. He was one of the true legends of the game and will be greatly missed by all NFL fans.

  30. If more people can act the same way as this man it will be a much better world to live in. Thank you for the memories & all you have done off the field, you will be greatly missed.

  31. his story is similar to brady in that both were the 199th & 200th pick of their draft and both have 5+ championship game appearances and wins, proving history repeats itself! farewell grid iron great, Bart Starr 100!

  32. The world is a lesser place without Coach Starr. Truly a great QB but even better man.

  33. Today you cant get a franchise qb with the 17th pick let alone the 17th round

  34. RIP, I was lucky enough to meet Mr. Starr at Mile High Stadium in the early eighties, he was an absolute gentleman and made a young man feel at ease. It was awesome!

  35. Rip to a true legend! The dude called his own plans and was 9-0 in the playoffs.
    He’ll always be remembered. What a life and a career

  36. Bart Starr and Ray Nitschke are my two favorite Packers of all time. I grew up watching them and now they are both gone. It’s a sad day for the NFL.
    I feel Starr always gets slighted as to just how good of a QB he was. I have magazines that I’ve saved from the early 60’s which had articles about Starr verses Unitas as to who the best QB in the NFL was and they detail how good both of them were in terms of running an offense and calling their own plays, which all QB’s did until Tom Landry started sending players in with plays. After that it all changed. Those articles also detail how accurate, tough, and smart they both were.
    It was a different era back then for sure, but anyone who tells me Starr and Unitas wouldn’t be among the top QB’s in football today is badly mistaken. Those two guys could play in any era and be great QB’s because they were just that good — especially in big games. In fact, no one was better in big games than Starr.
    Bart Starr was also one of the most classy pro athletes of all time. He was so respected by his teammates that if they’d miss a block and he got crushed by a defensive player, they’d feel awful. But being the classy person he was, he never would show any anger toward them. Except one time, that is. He had an offensive lineman who missed his blocks several times and finally Starr couldn’t contain himself. In the huddle he told that lineman if he missed his block one more time, he would kick him right in the seat of his pants in front of the packed stadium. The player didn’t miss any more blocks that day.
    Bart Starr was a player that every NFL fan could admire. I’ll be very surprised if anyone gives a thumbs down on any nice thing someone says in here about him. He was as great of a man as he was a player.
    Rest in peace, Bart. And thanks for all the great memories you gave all Packers fans as well as non-Packers fans. I hope you are now with Coach Lombardi and all those great Packers teammates who have also passed away that you had during those championship years.

  37. harry hands says:
    May 26, 2019 at 1:42 pm
    Prayers for his loved ones. He led a great life. Definitely a guy to look up to and was a good role model. From this Vikings fan, RIP Bart.


    Posts like this make me — a lifetime Packers fan — feel so good inside. Thanks for the classy post, Vikings fan.

  38. From a diehard Viking fan, very sorry to see this. Rest in peace, Bart. IMO, still the greatest QB in Packer history.

  39. Spoke at our athletic bsnquet in Prsir du Chien in the early sixties a great God fearing mand a truly first class in everthing

  40. “Legend” is often overused/misused in sports.

    Not today.

    The whole State of Wisconsin is mourning this loss today. I was flying back into the state and the news of Bart’s passing was announced on the plane this morning. Dry eyes were few in the next few minutes of silence.

    Bart Starr touched so many lives and not just in the sports world.

    Everyone who has ever met Bart knows that he made you feel like you were the most important person in his world in that moment.

    Lynn Dickey said it perhaps best: “He’s the finest human being, not the finest man, the finest human being I’ve ever met in my life”




  41. Saw him play many times at Lambeau. Still remember when he was struggling one day and the fans cheered when he got injured and Zeke Bratkowski came in the game. Back up qb is always the most popular guy in town. Bart and Zeke were neighbors and close friends. RIP Bart

  42. There are a few select NFL players that deserve to be honored by fans of every team for what they contributed in the early days to make the league what it is today. Bart Starr was one of those players. Rest in peace Mr. Starr.

  43. Please do ignore the jealous child Vikings fan.

    Bart Starr was injured on the Packers first play of a playoff game in 1965 while trying to make a tackle after a fumble by Bill Anderson. The Packers went on to beat the Colts in OT.

    No fans ever cheered a injury in Green Bay. How disgusting that he was allowed to post that here on this day.

  44. Truly a great one, helped build the NFL into the juggernaut it is today. Privileged to see him play a few times. RIP

  45. So the first post says “RIP to an NFL legend” and it has 12 down votes right now. Who would down vote that? Ready in peace.

  46. RIP Mr. Starr.
    I find it amazing that he lived so long despite playing old school football. Whereas today’s players die young, probably due to poor health decisions (e.g. drugs, PEDs).


    Although I did read in David Maranis’ book “When Pride Still Mattered” that Bart was upset with his play one night and had four bottles of Miller High Life.

  47. freefromwhatyouare says:

    May 26, 2019 at 6:08 pm

    Please do ignore the jealous child Vikings fan.

    Bart Starr was injured on the Packers first play of a playoff game in 1965 while trying to make a tackle after a fumble by Bill Anderson. The Packers went on to beat the Colts in OT.

    No fans ever cheered a injury in Green Bay. How disgusting that he was allowed to post that here on this day


    That was a packer fan who posted that. Unless your saying that Viking fans pose as packer fans or packer fans pose as Viking fans, which is a serious cry for help and I agree 100% with you.

  48. There’s some Viking fans on here who I truly respect, and there’s some who do a disservice to the Vikings and football fans in general. Easy to tell the two apart. Thank you classy Viking’s fans.

  49. Led the league in QB rating 5 times. Career average of yards per attempt is greater than greats like Unitas, Montana, Marino, Tarkenton, Namath and Jurgenson. Not thought of as a scrambler but averaged 5.3 yards per carry. In 65, 66 & 67 packer rushing attack ranked 11, 14, &4 in the NFL. During the same period the passing game ranked 2, 1 & 1. 9-1 in the postseason. 5 World titles, including three in a row. 104.8 postseason passer rating with a 0.4% interception rating. In my opinion the best ever. And as many have said, an even better person with all the charitable work he did. RIP.

  50. Starr was even a better person than just a NFL Hall of Famer. His charitable work was endless. But his work with young men who need direction in life at the Rawhide Ranch will be his true legacy. Gone but never to be forgotten in GB. Starr and Lombardi put GB on the map.

  51. Sad to see guys like this go. Saw him play briefly in the early 70’s in Chicago (he only threw a few passes in the game I saw) and remember my grandfather pointing out him and Nitschke out and telling me how they were all-time greats. Such a soft-spoken man playing a game that was much harder on QB’s in that era, yet he was so durable and probably doesn’t get enough credit for his toughness. Then again, they were all tougher and played through more back then.

  52. My first and always team is the Redskins, but my love for the game beginning as a child came from watching the greatest player who ever lived, Jim Brown, and the team of the greatest coach who ever lived, the Green Bay Packers. A true thrill to see wonderful players like Bart Starr dominate the 1960’s. Those Packers are surpassed only by the incredible Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970’s. They were both loaded with special players and they were both fierce, aggressive and hard hitting, and neither had a whiff of scandal or corruption. Ok – Paul Hornung, 1963!

  53. The Bart Starr segment of the NFL Top 100 Players of All-Time, with Bill Curry providing the commentary, is a great snap-shot of Starr. What a terrific teammate and leader. Intangibles aside, this guy was a terrifically accurate thrower. A life well lived.

  54. The Ice Bowl was the first football game I ever saw. No need to be sad, as to live to be 85 is an amazing feat!

  55. What kind of idiot downvotes an RIP comment on this thread? Is this a joke? Bart Starr was a great man and even made appearances before games in his poor health status to represent the team and show that he will always bore the green and gold. Thank you for everything you have done for the team, the community, and the game of football, Bart. Rest in peace.

  56. I wish the NFL would let every player on the Packers wear the #15 that Bart wore on opening night against the Bears. In fact, it would be even better if the Bears wore that number, too.
    Bart Starr transcended football and it was more important to him to be remembered as a good man. He was the epitome of a great ambassador for the game after he retired. And he was total class when he played.
    Thank you all fans of other teams who have offered praise and condolences for Bart Starr. He deserves that because of the man he was.
    I feel as if I lost a family member today. Bart Starr was a great sports hero of mine and I have tremendous respect for the class and dignity he always showed.
    R.I.P. Bart and my heartfelt condolences for the love of his life — his wife, Cherry.

  57. Thank You Mr. Starr, you lived your life with class and dignity. Your life will be remembered for your life on the field. Your life could be measured by the people who’s lives you made better off the field, and that measure would be even greater. You were truly a great man, God has blessed us all for having known you!

  58. Sad day for Packers fans and the NFL. Growing up watching Starr and the Packers I became a fan for. The Packers were lucky to have Bart Starr. A rare guy who is a big reason the NFL gained the popularity as it did in the 60’s. A legend to the legends of the game. Bart Starr was my all time favorite. RIP Bart Starr.

  59. ariani1985 says:
    May 27, 2019 at 11:38 am
    Saw him play in the early 80s, was a fun game to be at.

    Another fantastic fabrication by Ariani, considering Bart Starr retired in 1971.

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