NFL

Bart Starr: What This Hall of Famer Meant to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers

It’s safe to say that nothing matters more to the city of Green Bay than football. A town that has been home to several football legends throughout the NFL’s 100-year history, Green Bay is on the map because of the Packers. One of those legends, Bart Starr, died earlier this year at the age of 85. As a Hall of Fame quarterback, Starr had always been a role model to the quarterbacks who have come after him, most notably Packers quarterbacks Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.

Bart Starr was truly one of the greats

Bart Starr was a guiding force for the Packers and Aaron Rodgers long after his retirement.
Bart Starr in Super Bowl II. | Focus on Sport via Getty Images

The Packers drafted Starr in 1956, and he became their starting quarterback four years later under the team’s new head coach, Vince Lombardi. During the 60s, Starr and Lombardi led the team to victory in five World Championships, including the first two Super Bowls in 1966 and 1967. Starr was the Super Bowl MVP in both Super Bowl I and II and league MVP in 1966. 

He is further remembered for his famous quarterback sneak in the 1967 Ice Bowl. During their last timeout of the game, Starr suggested the sneak to Lombardi and the resulting touchdown on the ice-covered field led to a Packers win against the Cowboys, bringing them to the Super Bowl.

Starr’s jersey was retired by the Packers in 1973, with No. 15 hanging proudly for fans to see at Lambeau Field. In 1977, he entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Lombardi once called Starr “the smartest quarterback I ever saw.” High praise from the man whom the Super Bowl trophy is named after!

The Packers still hold Starr in high regards

During halftime in their 2019 home opener against the Vikings, the Packers organization held an emotional tribute honoring Starr. In attendance were NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Packers CEO Mark Murphy, Bart’s wife, Cherry, and son Bart Jr., former franchise QB Brett Favre, and many Packers alumni.

Speaking to the fans, Cherry Starr shared her gratitude for the love and support she and Bart have received over the 60+ years since they first came to Green Bay. To the cheering crowd in the stands, she said, “I want to tell you how much I love you, and you will always have a special place in my heart.”

Starr’s death was hard for Aaron Rodgers

The Packers’ current quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, has spoken in the past about his relationship with Starr over the years. Rodgers told reporters earlier this year that he attended a memorial service for Starr in Alabama, simply saying “that was tough.” He shared that Starr was a major mentor to both him and Favre over the years, and that they both often received letters from the Starr family. Cherry was even known to send Rodgers trays of brownies every now and then.

Starr taught Rodgers that being a quarterback for the Packers was about more than just winning championships. It was also about being a part of the community. “Nobody better who exemplified that than Bart. A true gentleman.”

While Rodgers was busy with the game during much of the celebration of Bart’s life at Lambeau Field, he took to social media afterward to share some pictures from the day. Saying that Starr meant so much to him and Favre, he declared their win against the Vikings was all for him. Packers fans will surely hope that Starr’s spirit continues to help out the team this year as they continue on throughout the season, with number 15 decals on the backs of the players’ helmets.