No single man will ever epitomize the best of the National Football League like Bryan Bartlett Starr.

On the field and off, Bart Starr was the very definition of a winner and, especially, role model. Bizarrely overlooked in debates about who was the greatest quarterback ever, Starr, who died Sunday at age 85, won championships at a rate (five in seven years) still unequalled in the history of the game.

Starr’s Packers won while Johnny Unitas’ Baltimore Colts, Frank Gifford’s’ New York Giants, and Jim Brown’s Cleveland Browns were all in their heydays. They won as Tom Landry’s Dallas Cowboys began their dynasty. And of course, they won the first two Super Bowls in convincing fashion, with Starr as Most Valuable Player both times.

Yet the “Greatest of All Time” appellation is usually given to Tom Brady, with Peyton Manning, Joe Montana, and sometimes Unitas or John Elway in the debate. Why not Starr?

Many people attribute Starr’s success to his coach Vince Lombardi. Well, if a genius coach is to get more credit for championships than the quarterback, why isn’t Brady’s record diminished by playing only for Bill Belichick? After all, Belichick’s Patriots won 10 of 15 games with the merely good Matt Cassell as quarterback one year and won just 10 of 16 with Brady the next.

Montana, with his “Mr. Clutch” post-season reputation of winning all four Super Bowls he played, couldn’t hold a candle to Starr’s post-season statistics….

What distinguished Starr even more was his character. His community spirit in Green Bay, Wis., and in his hometown of Birmingham, Ala., was unmatched, his charitable endeavors renowned.

“Bart came as close to perfection as any man I ever met, perfection as a quarterback and as a human being,” wrote his Hall of Fame teammate Jerry Kramer in 1985. “Bart always said the right thing, always did the right thing….

[The full column is at this link.]


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