Green Bay Packers in the Hall of Fame: Bart Starr

Bryan Bartlett “Bart” Starr played all 16 of his NFL seasons with the Green Bay Packers, the team that drafted him with the 200th pick in the 17th round of the 1956 draft.

Like the similarly-named Brett Favre, Starr was a son of the south, being born in Montgomery, Alabama in 1934.

And like the other two Green Bay Packers quarterbacks who are or will be in the NFL Hall of Fame (Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers), Starr outperformed his draft spot.

In 1991, Favre was selected 33rd (by the Atlanta Falcons – and subsequently traded to the Packers for their first-round pick in the 1992 draft, which ended up being the eighth pick, with which the Falcons selected tackle Bob Whitfield), and Aaron Rodgers was selected 24th in the 2005 draft.

Each member of that triumvirate gave several teams “bypasser’s remorse” when they helped their teams win Super Bowls.

Starr, especially, though, at the practically Mike Piazza-esque 200th pick, must have had all the other teams, who passed on him multiple times, ripping out their cranial follicles (figuratively, at least), when he quarterbacked the Packers to the first two Super Bowl victories following the 1966 and 1967 seasons. Starr also led the Packers to an NFL championship the year before the first Super Bowl, and is the only NFL quarterback with such a three-peat.

To date, Starr is the only Packers quarterback to win two Super Bowls (Favre played in two, defeating the New England Patriots, and losing to his idol, John Elway and the Denver Broncos).

I am expecting Rodgers to win his second Super Bowl within the next season or two, but as of now, he is tied with Favre and behind Starr in Super Bowl victories.

But back to Starr and his accomplishments:

  • Super Bowl MVP both times he appeared in that contest
  • Five-time NFL Champion (1961 and 1962 in addition to the aforementioned three-peat from 1965-1967)
  • Multiple selections to the Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors
  • 1966 NFL MVP
  • Named to the virtual all-decade team of the 1960s
  • Inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1977 (the same year he got into the NFL Hall of Fame), and had his jersey number (15) retired.

The only other Packers whose jersey numbers have been retired are Tony Canadeo (3), Brett Favre (4), Don Hutson (14), Ray Nitschke (66), and Reggie White (92).

Interestingly, passer rating was not a statistic that was kept during his career, but it has been computed after the fact, and Starr, although amassing a not-overly-impressive-by-modern-standards 80.5, led the league in that category five times (1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, and 1969).

To put it in perspective, at the time of Starr’s retirement following the 1961 season, the only quarterback with a higher career passer rating was Otto Graham (86.6).

Starr does have the highest postseason passer rating (104.8), and compiled a postseason record of 9-1. After Starr and coach Lombardi lost their first playoff game (to the Philadelphia Eagles), they never lost another.

At the time he retired, Starr owned the best completion percentage (57.4) in NFL history.

All things considered, Bart Starr should be one of the four stone visages on the virtual Mount Passmore, along with Otto Graham, Joe Montana, and fellow Packer Aaron Rodgers. Honarary fifth man: Yelverton Abraham (Y.A.) Tittle.

Starr was a quarterback coach and then the head coach of the Green Bay Packers following his playing career, but did not enjoy the same kind of success on the sideline as he had on the field.

He did, though, help the Packers win the NFC Central division in 1972 as quarterback coach, calling plays from the sideline for new quarterback Scott Hunter.

Starr later became head coach for nine seasons, replacing Dan Devine. Starr also functioned as GM the first five of those years.

In college, Starr played safety and punted in addition to quarterback. In fact, in his sophomore year at Alabama in 1953, Starr was the nation’s second-ranked punter, with a 41.4 average. The top punter? Zeke Bratkowski, who would wind up as Starr’s backup quarterback in Green Bay.

Perhaps the finest accolade to be given to Bart Starr is an award named for him which is awarded each year for a player who has excelled in displaying outstanding character.

The Bart Starr award has been given each year since 1989. Some of its recipients include Packers Reggie White, Eugene Robinson, and Aaron Rodgers.