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Remembering Bart Starr, So Great So Much Mo(o)re Than The Quarterback Sneak

May 28, 2019

I begin with the great Green Bay Packers’ radio announcer, Ted Moore’s legendary broadcast “Starr begins the count” and then /now let’s “count” the many great feats of the superb quarterback Bart Starr, who died days back at age 85, in addition to the most memorable, that frigid last day of 1967.

Bart Starr led the Packers to a still unmatched five NFL crowns in seven seasons, compiling the highest winning percentage .900 (9-1), as a quarterback, in “win or go home,” playoff games.

He was brilliant in the (37-0) Green Bay win over the New York Giants in the 1961 NFL Title game and even better, throwing four touchdown passes, in the Packers’ less heralded, but also great title game win vs Dallas, that the 1966 title tilt.

In less than ideal conditions, Bart, Jim Taylor, one of so many sports greats to die in the last year, and Jerry Kramer, finally put into the NFL “Hall” in the last year, led the offense (16-7) at Yankee Stadium vs the Giants to win it all in 1962.

It was deemed too cold for 7 year old Michael Santasieri Jr. to attend that game so he, my dad and me listened on the radio (no television). Ray Nitschke led the defense and appeared on What’s My Line that night, while depite the bitter cold, Mr.John Costas took his 10 year old son, Bob to the game.

In years to come, all three then (ouch!) younger ones, (Bob Costas, Santasieri and Andy B) would see football for something far less, Costas doing so publicly, yet hold good memories of games, from its past.

Bart had bad ribs and it was Zeke Bratkowski, who was in at quarterback in the Packers’ more than somewhat fortunate, (13-10) overtime win vs the Baltimore Colts to win the 1965 Western Conference crown in a playoff game.

No it was not greats, Bart Starr vs John Unitas that day but able back up Bratkowski vs Tom Matte, the latter having last played quarterback in college, before injuries to “John U.” and Earl Morrall, forced him into action at the position in 1965. (Trivia: Bob Costas did work for CBS before a long and great career at NBC and Tom Matte was an analyst, Costas on play by play, for at least one NFL game telecast by CBS.)

A week later in the mud of Lambeau Field, vs “my” defending champion Cleveland Browns, in what would be the great player, Jim Brown’s last game, Bart directed the “Pack” to a (23-12) win as Jim Taylor and especially Paul Hornung ran, as Ted Moore invoked “as if the days of yore.” It was the first of the still unprecedented three straight titles won with playoff game(s), by Green Bay.

I rooted both for and against the Packers, more against, and can tell you how Mr. Starr was as good as any, on third down or any clutch situation.

Bart does not get enough credit for the great quarterback he was. The Packers were great, so great, but people often forget how great a quarterback Bart Starr was.

His daring long passes to the likes of Carroll Dale or Boyd Dowler on third and a yard or less! They seemed to always work!

Starr was the MVP of the first two Super Bowls, each an easy Green Bay victory vs an upstart AFL team.

Oh yes, as the classic NFL Films presentation voice stated (not John Facenda) the Packers traversed 68 yards over a polar ice cap.” It was December 31, 1967!

My friend “Cheese” came down from upstairs. Dad, he and I watched, Bart talked to Vince Lombardi after first down, NOT right before the decisive play which was on third down.

Much happened, the names Jethro Pugh, Jerry Kramer, Ken Bowman, Chuck Mercein, the latter so great on the classic drive, resonate.

“Starr begins the count, he takes the snap, HE”S GOT The Quarterback sneak and HE”S IN FOR THE TOUCHDOWN–And the Packers are out in front (20-17). There’s 13 seconds showing on the clock and the Green Bay Packers are going to be World Champions, NFL champions for the third straight year.

Click below to hear that moment with a much more informative set up and others all broadcast by Ted Moore.

Please read the words from Bart Starr’s family by clicking below. Many pictures of Bart and others (66, Ray NItschke’s #) are included.

A message from the family of Bart Starr – packers.com

 

Bart Starr, pictured above.

 

 

 

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