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Former Green Bay Packers Quarterback Bart Starr Dies At 85

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A list of the greatest football players ever might easily include Bart Starr. The Green Bay Packers quarterback died yesterday at age 85. The team said he had been in failing health since a stroke in 2014.

NOEL KING, HOST:

You can think of Starr as the Tom Brady of his time, or maybe Tom Brady is the Bart Starr of this time. He played from the 1950s to the 1970s, and his team won five titles, including the first two Super Bowls in 1967 and '68.

INSKEEP: His most famous victory was the NFL championship in 1967, which is known as The Ice Bowl. It was about 15 degrees below zero on New Year's Eve in Green Bay. The Packers were facing the Dallas Cowboys. And with seconds left...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TED MOORE: Here are the Packers. Third down, inches to go to pay dirt (ph), 17 to 14, Cowboys out in front. Packers trying for the go-ahead score. Starr begins the count, takes the snap. He's got the quarterback sneak, and he's in for the touchdown, and the Packers are out in front - 20 to 17.

INSKEEP: Quarterback sneak.

KING: Years later, Starr talked to ESPN about that moment.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BART STARR: Felt wonderful. It was just the greatest experience and feeling that you could imagine.

KING: After he retired from playing football, Starr went on to coach the Packers for several seasons.

INSKEEP: To this day, the NFL gives out the Bart Starr Award each year. Here's his wife Cherry explaining the award in - to the 2019 winner, Calais Campbell.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CHERRY STARR: It's given to the NFL player who best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community.

KING: In 2014, Starr was able to give the award to one of his football heirs, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers. In a statement yesterday, the Packers said Starr, quote, "epitomized class."

(SOUNDBITE OF CAUGHT IN THE WAKE FOREVER'S "WITH THE PERMISSION OF THE OIL BURNERS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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