Monday, December 29, 2014

Pillars of the NFL: Bart Starr

In Patrick McCaskey's Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships he covers the ten greatest NFL coaches of all-time.  Among the pillars is Vince Lombardi who coached the Green Bay Packers to five NFL Championships in the 1970s.  Lombardi was one of most gifted coaches who made his mark on NFL history. 

In a series of posts we include some description of Lombardi's players. 

Bart Starr

Bart Starr joined the Packers in 1956 from Alabama where he led the Crimson Tide to the Southeastern Conference (SEC) title in 1953.  Due to an injury and coaching change, Starr did not see much action his last two college seasons and was a long shot in the draft.  Selected in the 17th round, he lived through some rough seasons with the Packers when they went 8–27–1 in his 3 years before Lombardi.  Lombardi believed Starr would excel regardless of his checkered college and early-professional career.  Lombardi encouraged Starr and built up his confidence.  Starr became an excellent leader who could play especially well in the big games.  Especially revered for his decision-making capabilities, Starr was a smart quarterback.  He was also one of the most accurate passers in the league.  Because the Packers had such a great rushing game, which Lombardi nurtured, Starr would never have the kind of statistics that he might have had if he had played for a team that focused on the pass.  However, the balanced attack was what made the Packers great and Starr was a major player in their achievements.  Starr would be counted as one of many Hall of Famers who played for Lombardi.

According to a recent biography, Bart Starr, America's Quarterback,  the young man was raised in a military household.  When his father was present, he had a strict regimen of rules that were followed.  His mother was not so easy either!  Perhaps Lombardi's discipline felt right at how to the Alabama boy in pro career in Green Bay.

See "The Day Dick Butkus Caught a Bobby Douglass Pass for the Win."