Hall lowers its flag as Canton mourns the loss of Packers' great Bart Starr

Clark Judge

The Pro Football Hall-of-Fame announced that its flag on the Canton campus will be flown at half-staff in memory of former Green Bay Packers’ great Bart Starr.

Starr died Sunday at 85. He had been in failing health since suffering a serious stroke in 2014.

Starr was one of the greatest quarterbacks ever on one of the greatest football teams ever, the Green Bay Packers of the 1960s. He not only led them to six division titles, five NFL championships and two Super Bowl victories but was named the MVP of Super Bowls I and II.

What’s more, after losing the 1960 NFL title game to Philadelphia, Starr never dropped another playoff contest – going 9-0 in the process. He also led the league in passing three times in a career that lasted from 1956 to 1971.

Nevertheless, it wasn't a pass that most often is associated with Starr. It's a run – a 1-yard quarterback sneak, to be exact. With 16 seconds left in the 1967 NFL championship game, otherwise known as “The Ice Bowl,” Starr dove into the end zone behind the blocks of guard Jerry Kramer and center Ken Bowman.

The touchdown won the game and sent the Packers to their second consecutive Super Bowl.

“We all have a capacity to focus and to concentrate to a unique degree when we’re called upon to do it,” Starr once said of that play. “That’s exactly what I did that day.”

The team retired his number 15 jersey in 1973, making him just the third player at that time to gain that honor. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame four years later.

“The game has lost a true Hall of Famer,” Hall-of-Fame president and CEO David Baker said in a prepared statement, “but we have all lost a truly great man. Bart Starr was an American icon whose legendary football career transformed Green Bay, Wisconsin, into Titletown, U.S.A.

“More importantly, he lived a life of character defined by grace, poise, respect and commitment. The Hall of Fame will forever keep his legacy alive to serve as inspiration to future generations.”

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