Green Bay Packers football legend Bart Starr, who led the team to five NFL championships including wins in Super Bowl I and II, died on Sunday in Birmingham, Alabama at 85, the team announced. Starr's health had been ailing since he suffered a stroke in 2014, according to the Packers' team historian.
Starr was the quarterback of the Packers from 1956 to 1971, winning a total of five titles, including the first two Super Bowls in 1967 and 1968. He earned MVP honors in both of those games as well. He won league MVP in 1966 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.
Under the guidance of legendary coach Vince Lombardi, Starr helped create a football dynasty in northern Wisconsin. The Packers remain the only NFL franchise to win three straight league championships since postseason play began 85 years ago.
Starr was born in Montgomery, Alabama, on Jan. 9, 1934. He attended college at the University of Alabama, where he experienced an up-and-down four years as the team's quarterback. He led the Crimson Tide to the Southeastern Conference Championship as a sophomore, but was limited by a back injury his junior year and ended up splitting time at the quarterback position with his senior year. The Packers drafted him in the 17th round in 1956.
He initially began his NFL career as a backup. It took Starr four years before he notched his first victory as a starter, but once he took control the results spoke for themselves. He led the team to NFL championships in 1961, 1962, 1965 and Super Bowl titles in 1966 and 1967. Together with Lombardi, Starr compiled a record of 73-21-4 in regular season games and a sterling 9-1 postseason record, according to the Packers.
In perhaps the most memorable moment of his career, Starr quarterbacked the Packers to a 21-17 victory against the Dallas Cowboys in the famous "Ice Bowl" 1967 NFL Championship, a game played in -16 degree weather and a wind chill that fell to -46 degrees below zero. Starr scored the game-winning quarterback sneak in one of the greatest moments in NFL history.
Starr finished his 16-season career with 24,718 passing yards, 152 touchdown passes and 15 rushing touchdowns in 196 games played. He also served as head coach of the Green Bay Packers from 1975 to 1983.
According to the Packers, Starr suffered two strokes and a heart attack in September 2014. Starr is survived by his wife, Cherry, and his eldest son, Bart Jr. He was preceded in death by his youngest son, Bret.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement calling Starr "one of the most genuine, sincere people" he's met. "He personified the values of our league as a football player, a family man, and a tireless philanthropist who cared deeply about helping at-risk kids," Goodell said.
"Above all, he was a wonderful human being who will be remembered for his kindness and compassion. On behalf of the entire NFL family and football fans all over the world, we send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Cherry, his family, and the Green Bay community. He will be sorely missed."