Sunday, May 26
Bart Starr was Joe Montana before Joe Montana. Starr was that good. Outstanding leader, tremendous accuracy, exellent play-caller, clutch performer. Starr, 85, had been in ill health and died today.
These were Starr's postseason numbers: 9-1 record, 15-to-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio, 8.2 yards per pass. Mind you this was in the 1960's when quarterbacks threw as many interceptions as touchdown passes and only averaged around six yards per pass attempt. It was smashmouth football. No West Coast style offenses. You set up the pass by running the ball not the other way around.
Starr led the Packers to six division titles, five NFL championships and was two-for-two in Super Bowls.
These are the numbers. Starr, the man, was even more outstanding. Kind, generous, great sense of humor and very classy.
As a coach, Starr tried to fix the Packers leftover mess Dan Devine created but couldn't get the Packers over the hump. He tried very hard, though. He deserves credit for that.
This was the kind of person Starr was: A young sports reporter for a southern Wisconsin newspaper with a circulation of around 35,000 was sent up north to Green Bay to get an exclusive intervew with Starr, then coach of the Packers. The young reporter reached Green Bay the night before since the interview was set for the next day at 8 a.m.
But when morning came and it was time to get ready, the young reporter was horrified to realize he had forgotten his shaver. Worried about his scruffy appearance, the young reporter was going to apologize to Starr when they were introduced, but before he could say anything Starr apologized for his appearance saying he had just finished working out. You couldn't tell that because Starr was immaculate. But Starr's icebreaker comment put the nervous young reporter at ease and the interview went well with the courteous and patient Starr.
Bart Starr was aptly named because he was a true star. A humble one at that.
Every time a Vince Lombardi-Packer passes away it leaves a chunk of sadness from anyone who had the privilege of growing up a Packers fan in Wisconsin during the 1960s. The loss of Starr is the biggest chunk of them all.