Bart Starr dead at 85 after full life on and off the field
Pro Football Hall of Fame quaretrback Bart Starr died Sunday following a stroke at the age of 85. His health had been declining.
Starr, elected to Canton in 1977, led the Green Bay Packers to five NFL titles and was the MVP of the first two Super Bowls ever played. He spent his entire career, spanning 16 seasons, with the Packers, and was a five-time NFL leading passer during that span. He also served as the Green Bay head coach from 1975-’83.
Most remembered for scoring the winning touchdown in the 1967 Ice Bowl game Dec. 31, 1967, against the Dallas Cowboys for the NFL title, Starr led his offense down the field to sneak across the goal line for a win on a day when the wind chill was a minus-46 degrees during that game.
Starr was a 17th-round long shot pick by the Packers, the 200th selection overall in the 1956 NFL Draft. The Alabama product served as a backup to Tobin Rote, Babe Parilli and Lance McHan until Vince Lombardi handed Starr the reins in Week 8 of the 1959 seasons against John Unitas and the Baltimore Colts. Bart remained the starter for the rest of 1959 and the season opener in 1960. Most people don’t know that McHan started weeks two through five before Starr took over the following week and never looked back.
In 1953, Starr had an offer to attend the University of Kentucky, whose head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant really wanted the young signal caller. But Bart’s high school sweetheart, Cherry Morton, was set to attend Auburn university. To remain close to the lady that he would eventually marry, Starr accepted the offer to play his college football at Alabama. He remained married to Cherry for over 60 years. Bryant became Alabama’s head coach in 1957.
Not only did Bart Starr make an impact on the gridiron, but in the community as well. In 1965, Bart and Cherry co-founded Rawhide Boys Ranch in New London, Wisconsin. It was a facility designed toe help at risk and troubled boys. He donated a Corvette he was given as the Super Bowl II MVP (that was the game played following Ice Bowl, to help the facility grow. He and his wife also helped start the Vince Lombardi cancer foundation in 1971.
“Bart Starr was one of the most genuine, sincere people I knew. He personified the values of our league as a football player, a family man, and a tireless philanthropist who cared deeply about helping at-risk kids. Above all, he was a wonderful human being who will be remembered for his kindness and compassion. On behalf of the entire NFL family and football fans all over the world, we send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Cherry, his family, and the Green Bay community. He will be sorely missed.” – Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to be a member of the LSU football program, developing a passion for the game in even…