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Bart Starr (1934 - )

Former Pro Football Player, NFL Football Hall of Fame

American professional football player, quarterback for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League (NFL) through five NFL championships and the team's first two Super Bowl titles. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977. Born Bryan Bartlett Starr in Montgomery, Alabama, he played college football at the University of Alabama. The Packers drafted Starr in 1956. With Starr as quarterback the Packers won the NFL title in 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966, and 1967. In 1967 and 1968 the team won the Super Bowl, and Starr was voted the most valuable player in each game. He retired before the 1972 season and became an assistant coach of the Packers. In 1975 he was named head coach of the Packers.

Super Bowls I (MVP), II (MVP)
By Bart Starr, Green Bay Packers

As I observed the number of media representatives who were at the first Super Bowl, it was obvious that it was going to be something special because we saw more coverage at that game than we had at any previous National Football League championship games.

We were overwhelmed with the numbers of reporters who were there. We had no way of knowing how rapidly it would grow into the event that it has become today, but you had a feeling it was going to be special because of the amount of coverage, even back then in 1967. Coach Vince Lombardi told us he felt it was appropriate that we were representing the NFL in the Super Bowl. He said the Packers had earned the right and that the history and tradition of that great league — the NFL — were being placed on our shoulders. He knew that we were ready and anxious to uphold that.

We had a tremendous amount of respect for the Kansas City Chiefs. Players and coaches know very well the capacity and talent of their opponent and we could see they were an extremely talented group. They were bigger, faster and stronger than we were. The biggest advantage that we had was total team experience. That was the difference.

At halftime it was a close game. We led 14-10. But in the 2nd half our experience began to show and we were able to slowly pull away from them to win 35-10. The feeling of winning that first Super Bowl will always be something I'll cherish.

Max McGee stepped in for an injured Boyd Dowler that day and caught two touchdown passes. He was one of the true clutch performers we had on that team. He was an astute, gutsy guy. That represented the entire Packers organization at that time. There was no swagger with our team. But we quietly went out and did our job. I have never been around a group of more committed individuals.

In Super Bowl II, we were a mentally tired team in the week leading up to the game against the Oakland Raiders. Having won the NFL Championship in 1965 (before there was a Super Bowl), then Super Bowl I, and then winning the NFL Championship that season, it allowed us to have won three NFL Championships in a row - something no one else had done. That was a great accomplishment for us. We could also see the hype for Super Bowl II being ratcheted up from the previous season.

I don't think anyone knew that it would be coach Lombardi's last game coaching the Packers, but there were hints throughout the week because he made some emotional comments a couple of times when he literally had tears in his eyes.

After the game he told us how proud he was of us, and how pleased he was for us because of what we had been able to accomplish. Lombardi was an exceptional gentleman who had a major impact on me personally.

From the first day we met him he was someone who was an inspirational, driven leader who loved to teach. He had a true living, breathing quest for perfection. He was quick to tell you it was unattainable, but that we were going to chase the heck out of it, and in the process, we would catch excellence. He was not remotely interested in being good, he wanted you to seek to excel. Every single day of his coaching career for nine years you see someone like that standing in front of you and that will make a major impact on you over time.

Lombardi always had his life in order: God, family, and the Green Bay Packers. He went to church every morning, and if you ever heard him chew us out in the locker room you'd know why he had to be there each day!

After our initial meeting with him, we took a break after about an hour. I called my wife back in Alabama and all I said to her was, "Honey, we're going to begin to win." It was that obvious. What we lacked was leadership and he provided that immediately when he came in.

Bart Starr lives in Birmingham, Alabama and remains an avid fan of the Packers and the NFL. He's chairman of a Nashville-based company that develops medical office buildings around the USA.