The NFL has lost a legend. 

The family of Bart Starr announced on Sunday that the former Packers quarterback passed away in Alabama on Sunday. Starr was 85. 

“We are saddened to note the passing of our husband, father, grandfather, and friend, Bart Starr,” the family said in a statement. “He battled with courage and determination to transcend the serious stroke he suffered in September 2014, but his most recent illness was too much to overcome. 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.”

After being selected by Green Bay during the 17th round of the 1956 NFL Draft, Starr spent 16 seasons with the Packers and helped turn them into one of the NFL‘s most iconic franchises. During his time in Green Bay, the Packers won a total of five NFL titles. As the starting quarterback for most of his career, not only did Starr lead the Packers to three NFL championships (1961-62, 65), but he was also named MVP of the first two Super Bowls after leading the Packers to blowout wins over the Chiefs (Super Bowl I) and the Raiders (Super Bowl II). 

In Super Bowl I, Starr threw two touchdown passes as the Packers rolled to a 35-10 win over Kansas City. The win in Super Bowl II was big because it ended up being Vince Lombardi’s final game as coach of the Packers. Starr was nearly unstoppable in the postseason. In 10 career playoff games, Starr led the Packers to a 9-1 record while tallying a 104.8 passer rating, which is an NFL postseason record that still stands to this day. 

Over the course of his career, Starr led the NFL in passing five times and was named first team All-Pro in 1966 when he also took home his one and only NFL MVP award. Starr also earned a trip to four Pro Bowls. 

Although Starr won five titles during his career, the moment he’s most known for might be the role he played in the Ice Bowl. In frigid temperatures at Lambeau Field, Starr led the Packers to a wild 21-17 win over the Cowboys in the NFL Championship. The victory wasn’t clinched for the Packers until Starr scored on a quarterback sneak from one yard out with under 15 seconds left to play. 

You can hear Starr tell the story of that fateful play below. 

Starr was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977, six years after he played his final down with the Packers. Although he retired in 1971, Starr never really left Green Bay. Four years after he decided to call it quits, the Packers decided to hire him as head coach, a role he held from 1975 to 1984. 

Starr’s career with the Packers almost got derailed before he even took a single snap. As he was heading into his junior year at the University of Alabama, Starr was the victim a brutal hazing that left him hospitalized. The injury kept Starr off the field for most of his junior and senior seasons at Alabama, which is how he fell to the 17th round in the NFL Draft. 

In more recent times, Starr has become a popular guy in the current Packers’ locker room. During an interview in September 2018, Aaron Rodgers admitted that Starr played a big part in his development in Green Bay. 

“We love having the older generation around because that is what the Packers are all about,” Rodgers said. “It’s about the family and the organization and everybody respecting guys who played before. And Bart is that guy for me. He’s a perfect example of what it means to be an incredible player but a better person. I think he’s a great role model for all of us, but even more when you’re a Green Bay Packer and you realize how much he’s meant to this community and back home as well to the folks in Alabama.”

Despite suffering two strokes, a heart attack and multiple seizures in September 2014, Starr was hoping that he would be healthy enough to attend a Packers’ game in person this year. Starr’s family had hoped that the legend would be able to attend the team’s home opener in September. 

“His love for all of humanity is well known, and his affection toward the residents of Alabama and of Wisconsin filled him with gratitude. He had hoped to make one last trip to Green Bay to watch the Packers this fall, but he shall forever be there in spirit.”

Starr will never be forgotten at Lambeau Field. Starr’s name will also live on in the annals of NFL history and that’s because the league gives out an award with his name on it every year that goes to the player who “best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field, and in the community.”

The Packers compiled a highlight video of Starr’s career, which you can see below. 

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