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Bart Starr, 1934-2019

Bart Starr, 1934-2019

05/26/2019
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Hall of Famer and Green Bay Packers legendary quarterback Bart Starr has passed away at the age of 85.

“The game has lost a true Hall of Famer but we have all lost a truly great man. Bart Starr was an American icon whose legendary football career transformed Green Bay, Wisconsin into Titletown U.S.A. More importantly, he lived a life of character defined by his grace, poise, respect and commitment. The Hall of Fame will forever keep his legacy alive to serve as inspiration to future generations,” shared Hall of Fame President David Baker.

The Hall of Fame flag on the museum’s campus will be flown at half-staff in Starr’s memory.

Starr was a 17th round draft choice of the Green Bay Packers in 1956. Three years later, his playing time was still limited and his football future appeared in doubt. That’s when Vince Lombardi took over as the Packers coach, an event that may have saved Bart's NFL career.

Lombardi, in tireless study of films, found that he liked Bart's mechanics, his arm, his ball-handling techniques and, most of all, his decision-making abilities. Under Vince's careful nurturing, Starr gained the confidence to become one of the NFL's great field leaders.

By 1960, Starr led Green Bay to the Western Division championship, the first in a long string of successes for Starr and the Packers. From 1960 through 1967, Bart's "won-lost record" was a sizzling 62-24-4 and the Packers won six divisional, five NFL, and the first two Super Bowl championships.

Although Starr seemed to receive minimal personal recognition for the team’s successes, knowledgeable football men knew who was making the Packers click. He was the perfect quarterback for his team. Because it was a balanced attack that he led, Starr's passes were limited – remarkably, he never threw as many as 300 passes in any one season. This may have helped to create the illusion that he was only an average passer.

The statistics, of course, do not bear this out. Starr held several NFL passing records, including the lifetime record of completing 57.4 percent of his passes over a 16-year period. He led the league in passing three times. He was the NFL's Most Valuable Player in 1966.

He won MVP honors in both Super Bowls I and II. Bart was at his best in his many postseason appearances. After their first title loss to Philadelphia in 1960, the Packers never lost another playoff game under Starr.

Starr was Enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

After his playing career, Starr served many roles in the NFL including quarterbacks coach, general manager and head coach for the Green Bay Packers. He was also a broadcaster for CBS.

The former QB was passionate about helping others. He and his wife helped co found the Rawhide Boys Ranch offers residential care and outpatient mental health services dedicated to helping at-risk youth and their families lead healthy, responsible lives. Rawhide has redirected the lives of thousands of youth that have either lived on our residential campus or received services through our numerous outpatient counseling clinics.

The couple also founded the. The Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation (VLCF). Since 1971, the foundation has raised over $21 million in the fight against cancer.  It has grown to include additional charitable cancer fundraising events such as the Vince Lombardi Award of Excellence Dinner Ball, Food and Wine event and Lombardi Walk/Run, among others.

As part of the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation, Starr and his wife created the Starr Children’s Fund, which is dedicated to raising funds to support pediatric cancer research and treatments.

A man of deep faith, Starr and the NFL founded one of the premier events during Super Bowl since 1989, a breakfast event that awarded The Athletes in Action/Bart Starr Award,  which is given to the NFL Player who "best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field, and in the community."

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