The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Bart Starr, R.I.P.

Posted on | May 27, 2019 | Comments Off on Bart Starr, R.I.P.


My first clear memory of football was my Dad pointing at the television screen and saying, “That’s Bart Starr — he played for ’Bama.” The quarterback of the Green Bay Packers was a three-time MVP and is now in the Hall of Fame, but Dad was Class of 1950 at Tuscaloosa, so what mattered in my family was that Starr had played for the Crimson Tide.

Starr played a crucial role in the first football game I actually remember watching on TV, the infamous “Ice Bowl” championship between the Packers and Dallas played in -15° weather at Green Bay in December 1967. The Cowboys took a 17-14 lead in the fourth quarter and, with time running out, Starr led the Packers downfield on a 70-yard drive, but the Dallas defense twice stopped them on a goal-line stand. With 16 seconds left to play, Starr scored the winning touchdown on a quarterback sneak, the climax of what many consider the greatest game in NFL history.

Bart Starr had what used to be called “character.” He wasn’t a flashy player and, unlike his Packer teammate Paul Hornung, he wasn’t a womanizer. He was a leader on the field and off the field. He married his high-school sweetheart in 1954, eloping after his sophomore year at Tuscaloosa, and they remained married more than 60 years. Although he was only chosen in the 17th round of the NFL draft, Starr had what Vince Lombardi was looking for when Lombardi took over as coach of the Packers in 1960. During his NFL career, Starr set what were then league records for career completion percentage, 57.4, and consecutive passes without an interception, 294. He died Sunday at age 85.

R.I.P., Bart Starr. Roll Tide.



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