clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NFL loses a legend with death of Bart Starr

New, comments

As the 2015 Bart Starr Award winner, Peyton Manning epitomized the “outstanding character and leadership” for which the award was inspired - and for which Starr’s legacy is most known.

denverbroncos.com via @BroncosTV

Good morning, Broncos Country!

An NFL icon died Sunday - and every football player who ever came into the pro ranks and proved his low draft expectations wrong has him to thank.

That’s because the two-time Super Bowl MVP and Hall-of-Fame quarterback out of the University of Alabama named Bart Starr was drafted in the 17th round of the 1956 draft, the 200th player.

But as Peyton Manning noted when he won the NFL award named after the Hall-of-Famer, Starr “transcended the low expectations ... and made a meaningful and lasting impact on this league and on everyone he came into contact with to this day.”

Starr’s impact on football - as well as football players - was indeed far and wide.

After Green Bay lost the first NFL championship game in 1960, the Packers never lost another playoff game under Starr, going 9-0 in playoff games - including the two Super Bowl victories over Kansas City and Oakland.

He was a four-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro, leading the Packers to NFL titles in 1961, ’62, ’65, ’67 and ’68. Starr was the 1966 NFL MVP and was named to the 1960s All-Decade team. He also was named MVP of the first two Super Bowls.

Starr had an unremarkable career at Alabama, but Green Bay Packers’ coach Vince Lombardi liked his mechanics, arm strength and decision-making.

Starr once gave Lombardi credit for creating a remarkable quarterback out of him: “If you work harder than somebody else, chances are you’ll beat him though he has more talent than you.”

It was that mentality that helped Starr propel his Packers to an unforgettable win in 1967 over the Dallas Cowboys in what has become known as the “Ice Bowl.”

But Starr wasn’t just known for his professional football career. His iconic “gentlemanly” demeanor was the true inspiration for the NFL’s “Bart Starr Award,” given annually since 1989 to the NFL player with the “most outstanding character.”

“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,” Starr’s family said in a statement on Sunday.

It is incredibly fitting that Manning was a Bart Starr Award winner.

With good mechanics and a football IQ unmatched in the NFL, Manning’s style would have no doubt been appreciated by Starr. And of all the “good people” playing in the NFL, Manning was always the epitome of “humble demeanor and generous spirit.”

Manning’s words in his acceptance speech in 2015 said as much:

“The man for whom this award is named stands as a true champion and among the all-time greats of this game. I am humbled and grateful for this award.”

Come to think of it, the only thing Bart Starr might have had against Peyton Manning was that he went to the University of Tennessee.

But being a gentleman, I doubt it.

RIP, Bart Starr.

Twitter Tribute to Bart Starr

Horse Tracks

Green Bay’s greatest quarterback dies at 85
Though he was a four-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl MVP, the play and game Starr is most remembered for is the iconic 1967 Ice Bowl against the Dallas Cowboys.

Bart Starr, unflappable quarterback who led Packers to five NFL titles, dies at 85 - The Washington Post
He was a linchpin of coach Vince Lombardi’s 1960s dynasty and the MVP of the first two Super Bowls.

Peyton Manning receives Bart Starr Award
Peyton Manning was presented with the Bart Starr Award Jan. 30, 2015.

Packers legend Bart Starr passes away at age 85 - NFL.com
Green Bay Packers quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Famer Bart Starr passed away at the age of 85, the team announced Sunday.

Bart Starr was Hall of Famer on and off the field - NFL.com
Growing up 90 miles north of Green Bay, Steve Mariucci loved the Packers and idolized Bart Starr. He recalls how his boyhood hero eventually became his mentor, inspiration and dear friend.

Green Bay's greatest quarterback dies at 85
Though he was a four-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl MVP, the play and game Starr is most remembered for is the iconic 1967 Ice Bowl against the Dallas Cowboys.

From the Archives: Peyton Manning receives Bart Starr Award
Peyton Manning was presented with the Bart Starr Award Jan. 30, 2015.

Packers legend Bart Starr passes away at age 85 - NFL.com
Green Bay Packers quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Famer Bart Starr passed away at the age of 85, the team announced Sunday.

Bart Starr was Hall of Famer on and off the field - NFL.com
Growing up 90 miles north of Green Bay, Steve Mariucci loved the Packers and idolized Bart Starr. He recalls how his boyhood hero eventually became his mentor, inspiration and dear friend.

NFL coaches learning from indoor football experience | SI.com
More coaches with indoor football experience are climbing the ranks in the NFL, in an era when more plays from far-flung corners of the football world are trickling up to the top level.

NFL summer subplots: One burning question for each AFC team - NFL.com
Is Pittsburgh's offense greater than the loss of its parts? Can the Colts take the next step? Will Houston's offensive line be its undoing (again)? Jeremy Bergman digs into one burning question for each AFC team.

Denver Broncos: Undrafted rookie spotlight on TE Austin Fort
Former Wyoming Cowboys tight end Austin Fort signed with the Broncos as an undrafted free agent. Does he have a shot to make the team?

Mason's Mailbag: Gary Zimmerman a true Broncos Hall of Famer
Also, a statistic that shows why Steve Atwater should already be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Five Undrafted Free Agents who could make Denver Broncos final roster
The Denver Broncos are known to add at least one UDFA to the final roster. Who has a chance to keep the streak alive? Here are a few who have a good chance.

The Ravens completely changed their offense without telling Lamar Jackson - The Washington Post
It's okay, they finally filled him in at OTAs.

2019 NFL season: One key homegrown player for each NFC team - NFL.com
Mitchell Trubisky is critical to the Chicago Bears' season, while Chris Godwin could be a 100-catch player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gregg Rosenthal identifies one key homegrown player for every NFC team heading into the 2019 NFL season.