Bart Starr
No. 15     Retired
Personal information
Date of birth: (1934-01-09) January 9, 1934 (age 85)
Place of birth: Montgomery, Alabama
High School: Sidney Lanier (AL)
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) Weight: 193 lb (88 kg)
Career information
College: Alabama
NFL Draft: 1956 / Round: 17 / Pick: 200
Debuted in 1956 for the Green Bay Packers
Last played in 1971 for the Green Bay Packers
Career history
 As player:
 As coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 1971
Pass attempts     3,149
Pass completions     1,808
Percentage     57.4
TDINT     152–138
Passing yards     24,718
Passer rating     80.5
Stats at
Pro Football Hall of Fame

Bryan Bartlett "Bart" Starr (born January 9, 1934) is a former professional American football player and coach. He wore #15 and he was the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers from 1956 to 1971, during which time he led the Packers to multiple NFL championships. He was less successful as the Packers' head coach, compiling a record of 52–76–3 from 1975-1983.

He was named the Most Valuable Player of the first two Super Bowls and earned four Pro Bowl selections. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1977. He won the league MVP award in 1966.[1]

Starr has the second-highest playoff passer rating (104.80, behind current Packer Aaron Rodgers' 112.6) [2] of any quarterback in NFL history and a playoff record of 9–1. Starr's career completion percentage of 57.4 was an NFL best when he retired in 1972.[3] Starr also held the Packers' franchise record for games-played (196) for 32 years, through the 2003 season.[3]

Starr played at the University of Alabama from 1952 to 1956 and was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 17th round of the 1956 draft (200th overall).

Early lifeEdit

Starr’s early life was marked by hardships. Shortly after the start of World War II, his father's reserve unit was activated and in 1942 he was deployed to the Pacific Theater.[4] His was first in the US Army but transferred to the US Air Force for his military career.[5]

Starr had a younger brother, Hilton (Bubba).[6] In 1947, Bubba stepped on a dog bone while playing in the yard and passed away of tetanus three days later.[7][8] Starr’s relationship with his father deteriorated after Hilton’s passing.[9] He was an introverted child who rarely showed his emotions and his father pushed Starr to develop more of a mean streak.[10]

Starr attended Sidney Lanier High School in Montgomery, Alabama.[11] He tried out for the football team in his sophomore year, but decided to quit after two weeks. His father gave him the option of playing football or working in the family garden; Starr chose to return to the football field.[12]

In his junior year, the starting quarterback broke his leg and Starr became the starter.[13] He led Lanier to an undefeated season. In his senior season, Starr was named all-state and All-American, and received college scholarship offers from universities across the country.[14] He seriously considered the University of Kentucky, coached by Bear Bryant.[15] Starr's high school sweetheart, Cherry Louise Morton, was planning to attend Auburn and Starr wished to attend a college close to her.[16][17] Starr changed his mind and committed to the University of Alabama.[18]

College career (1952–1956)Edit

As the Korean War was fought during Starr’s freshman year, the Southeastern Conference – of which Alabama is a part – allowed freshmen to play varsity ball.[19] Starr did not start for Alabama his freshman year, but did play enough minutes to earn a varsity letter. His high point of the season was in the Orange Bowl, where in quarterback relief he completed eight of 12 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown.[20]

Bart Starr entered his sophomore year as Alabama’s starting quarterback, safety and punter. His punting average of 41.4 yards per kick ranked second in the nation in 1953 behind Zeke Bratkowski.[21] Alabama recorded a 6–2–3 record and lost in the Cotton Bowl to Rice by a score of 28–6. Starr completed 59 of 119 passes for 870 yards, with eight touchdowns that season.

In May 1954, Starr eloped with Cherry Morton. The couple chose to keep their marriage a secret. Colleges often revoked the scholarships of married athletes in the 1950s, believing their focus should remain on sports.[22] Cherry remained in Jackson, Alabama, while Starr returned to the University of Alabama.[22]

That summer, Starr suffered a severe back sprain while punting a football. He rarely played during his junior year due to the injury. The back sprain would occasionally bother him the rest of his football career. After a disappointing season of 4–5–2, Red Drew was replaced by J.B. Whitworth as coach of Alabama.

Whitworth conducted a youth movement in Alabama for the 1955 season and only two seniors started for the team. While healed from the back injury, Starr rarely played in his senior season either. Starr played briefly in the Blue–Gray bowl of 1955.

Johnny Dee, the basketball coach at Alabama, was a friend of Jack Vainisi, the personnel director of the Green Bay Packers. Dees recommended Starr as a prospect to Vainisi.[23] The Packers were under the impression that Starr was a Sigma Chi and would learn quickly.[24] In the 17th round of the 1956 NFL Draft, Starr, selected by the Packers, was the 199th pick.[25][26]

Starr spent the summer of 1956 living with his in-laws and throwing footballs through a tire in their backyard, in order to prepare for his rookie season.[27] The Packers offered $6500 to sign Starr and he accepted, with the added condition, requested by Starr, that he receive $1000 up front.[28]

Packers quarterbackEdit

Starr began as a backup to Tobin Rote in 1956 and split time with Babe Parilli until 1959, Vince Lombardi's first year as Packers coach. In that season, Lombardi pulled starter Lamar McHan in favor of Starr, and he held the starting job henceforth. The following season the Packers advanced to the 1960 NFL Championship Game, but lost to the Philadelphia Eagles, Lombardi's only post season loss as a head coach. The Packers returned to the title game and won in 1961 and 1962, both over the New York Giants. In 1966, Starr was named the NFL's Most Valuable Player by the Associated Press (AP), the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA) and UPI.

Starr was responsible for calling plays when he was quarterback, as was the norm at the time.[citation needed] One of his most famous play calls was in the Ice Bowl against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL championship game on the final day of 1967. In Miami, the Packers defeated the AFL champion Oakland Raiders 33–14 in Super Bowl II, Lombardi's final game as head coach of the Packers. Bart Starr and the Packers surprised the runner-up Raiders. The 1967 Packers were the last team to win three consecutive NFL titles. Starr's playing career ended at the conclusion of the 1971 season, and at the time had the second best career passer rating at 80.5. (First at the time was Otto Graham at 86.6

In 1965, Starr and his wife Cherry helped co-found Rawhide Boys Ranch in New London, a facility designed to help at-risk and troubled boys throughout the state of Wisconsin, and continue to be affiliated with it.

In 2006, Starr (then 72) received a form letter from an 81-year old woman named Ruby Young residing in Kerrville, Texas alleging that the two had had an affair in 1960 and that he owed her $2 million in compensation for "mental and emotional distress" caused by the relationship. The letter was sent to the Rawhide Boys Ranch. Starr immediately turned it over to a US Postal Service investigator, who wrote two letters to Young posing as the former QB and received replies both times demanding money. Starr and his attorney issued a statement saying that he did not know and had never had any contact with Young, who was subsequently charged with extortion and given a suspended sentence under the condition she have no further contact with Starr or any of his family.[29][30]

Packers coachEdit

Immediately after his retirement as a player, he served as an assistant coach (quarterbacks) in 1972 under Dan Devine, when the Packers won the NFC Central division title at 10–4 with Scott Hunter under center. He was then a broadcaster for CBS for two seasons. When Devine left for Notre Dame after the 1974 season, Starr was hired as head coach of the Packers. His regular season record was a disappointing 52–76–2 (.408), with a playoff record of 1–1. Posting a 5–3–1 record in the strike-shortened season of 1982, Starr's Packers made their first playoff appearance in ten years (and their last for another 11 years). They defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 41–16 in the expanded wild card round of 16 teams on January 8, 1983, then lost to the Dallas Cowboys 37–26 in the divisional round the following week. After a disappointing 8–8 finish the following year, Starr was dismissed in favor of his former teammate, Forrest Gregg, who previously led the Cincinnati Bengals to Super Bowl XVI and coached the Cleveland Browns before .


File:Packers retired number 15.svg

Starr was voted to the NFL Pro Bowl four times. He was voted NFL Most Valuable Player by both AP and UPI in 1966, and was chosen Super Bowl MVP in 1966 and 1967. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1977.

He is one of five Green Bay Packers to have his number (15) retired by the team. The others are Tony Canadeo (3), Don Hutson (14), Ray Nitschke (66), and Reggie White (92).[31] Of the five, only Starr is still living.

Starr was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1981.

Starr has an NFL award named after him. The Bart Starr Award is given annually, by a panel of judges, to an NFL player of outstanding character. Drew Brees was the recipient of the 2011 award, presented in Dallas, Texas.[32]

Head coaching recordEdit

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
WonLostTiesWin %Finish Won Lost Win % Result
GB1975 4100.2863rd in NFC Central
GB1976 590.3574th in NFC Central---
GB1977 4100.2864th in NFC Central---
GB1978 871.5312nd in NFC Central---
GB1979 5110.3134th in NFC Central---
GB1980 5101.3445th in NFC Central ---
GB1981 880.5002nd in NFC Central ---
GB1982 531.6113rd in NFC 11.500 Defeated St. Louis Cardinals in first round.
Lost to Dallas Cowboys in second round.
GB1983 880.5002nd in NFC Central ---
Total52763.408 1 1 .500

Player statisticsEdit

Regular seasonEdit

Year Passing Rushing
Att Comp Yds TD Int Att Yds Avg TD
1956 44 24 325 2 3 5 35 7.0 0
1957 215 117 1,489 8 10 31 98 3.1 3
1958 157 78 875 3 12 25 113 4.5 1
1959 134 70 972 6 7 16 83 5.2 0
1960 172 98 1,358 4 8 7 12 1.7 0
1961 295 172 2,418 16 16 12 56 4.7 1
1962 285 178 2,438 12 9 21 72 3.4 1
1963 244 132 1,855 15 10 13 116 8.9 0
1964 272 163 2,144 15 4 24 165 6.9 3
1965 251 140 2,055 16 9 18 169 9.4 1
1966 251 166 2,257 14 3 21 104 5.0 2
1967 210 115 1,823 9 17 21 90 4.3 0
1968 171 109 1,617 15 8 11 62 5.6 1
1969 148 92 1,161 9 6 7 60 8.6 4
1970 255 140 1,645 8 13 12 62 5.2 1
1971 45 24 286 0 3 3 11 3.7 1
Total 3,149 1,808 24,718 152 138 247 1,308 5.3 15


  1. Profootball Hall of fame – Bart Starr
  3. 3.0 3.1
  4. Starr, by Bart Starr, pg. 15
  5. Mooney, Loren (1998-10-12). Bart Starr, Green Bay Packers Legend. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
  6. Claerbaut 2004 pg. 19–20
  7. Starr, by Bart Starr, pg 17
  8. Claerbaut 2004 pg. 21
  9. Claerbaut 2004 pg. 23
  10. Starr, by Bart Starr, pg 18
  11. Claerbaut 2004 pg. 24–25
  12. Starr, by Bart Starr, pg 21
  13. Claerbaut 2004 pg. 27–28
  14. Claerbaut 2004 pg. 32
  15. Bart Starr by John Devaney, pg 32
  16. Starr, by Bart Starr, pg 25
  17. Claerbaut 2004 pg. 34–35
  18. Claerbaut 2004 pg. 35–36
  19. Bart Starr, by John Devaney, pg. 34
  20. Bart Starr, by John Devaney, pg. 36
  21. Bart Starr, by John Devaney, pg. 38
  22. 22.0 22.1 Starr, by Bart Starr, pg 26
  23. Starr, by Bart Starr, pg 29
  24. Bart Starr, by John Devaney, pg. 40
  25. "Bart Starr at". Archived from the original on 11 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-12.
  26. Claerbaut 2004 pg. 47–48
  27. Bart Starr, by John Devaney, pg. 42
  28. Claerbaut 2004 pg. 49–50
  31. "Green Bay, "Retired Numbers"". Archived from the original on 2008-04-04. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
  32. "Bart Starr Award". Archived from the original on 18 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
  • Claerbaut, David (2004), Bart Starr: When Leadership Mattered, Lanham, MD.:Taylor Trade Publishing ISBN 1-58979-117-7

External linksEdit

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