Who is the most important draft pick in Green Bay Packers history? Who is the one player that has done the most for the organization on and off of the field?
The Packers were born in 1919 and are one of the most storied franchises in the NFL. No team has won more than their 13 championships. Green Bay is the last of the small town teams from the 1920’s and ’30s. The hall of fame is full of men who played for the green and gold over the years. Still, finding a most important draft pick in Green Bay Packers history is easy. He was drafted in the 17th round in 1956 and his name is Brian Bartlett Starr.
Starr came to the Packers as a quarterback out of Alabama University in 1956. He had a star crossed career with the Crimson Tide which was marred by injury. His first three seasons at Green Bay were mediocre at best and there was no reason to believe Starr would ever amount to anything. Through it all, he remained one of the nicest men in the game.
Then came a man named Vince Lombardi in 1959 and everything changed. The most important draft pick in Green Bay Packers history was about to become the leader of one of the greatest dynasties in sports history.
It didn’t happen right way. Lombardi did not believe that Starr was tough enough to lead his team. The head coach went with Lamar McCann as his starting quarterback while Starr rode the bench. It was not until midway through the 1960 season that Starr became the permanent starting quarterback. From that point on, he and the Packers never looked back.
In 1960, Green Bay made it to its first NFL championship game since 1944. In his first championship game start, Starr came up four points short as the Packers lost 17-13 to the Philadelphia Eagles. Afterwards; Lombardi vowed that Green Bay would never lose another championship game. Over the next seven years, Starr helped him to fulfill that promise.
Green Bay came back to win back to back championships in 1961 and ’62. After a two year absence, the team won three consecutive titles from 1965 to 1967. No other NFL team has done this in the modern era. At the end of this run, the Packers proved that they were the best in the world by winning the first two Super Bowls.
Those who don’t think that Starr is the most important draft pick in Green Bay Packers history will say that he was a product of Lombardi’s system. That it was defense and the running game which was the reason for all of those titles. But if you look at Starr’s performances in playoff and championship games they speak for themselves. He was deadly in big games and the most valuable player in both Super Bowls. Starr’s five NFL championships are more than any quarterback in league history.
When he retired in 1971, Starr was still the same humble man as the one that had come to Green Bay in 1956. He even coached the Packers in the 1970’s and ’80s.
But it was what he did as a quarterback and the man he is that makes Bart Starr the most important draft pick in Green Bay Packers history.