Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 9/4/12
Bart Starr's final game as a Green Bay Packers quarterback took place in 1971, when All in the Family ruled television and the cost of a first-class postage stamp was eight cents. In the 41 years since Starr last walked off Lambeau Field as a player, much has changed in the world. Starr's allegiance to the Packers hasn't. "I follow them uniquely closely, and I always will," Starr said Tuesday during a promotional teleconference campaign for Tide. "It's just a part of my makeup and a part of my body and thought process, because of having been here for so many years and continuing to follow them and having so many friends around here."Starr, who lives in Birmingham, Ala., is in Green Bay this week as part of Tide's "Show Us Your Colors" campaign for the Packers' Sept. 9 season opener against the San Francisco 49ers. All fans to attend the game will receive a free, Tide-branded Packers T-shirt on their seat.Starr played all 16 of his pro football seasons for the Packers from 1956-71 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1978. He also coached the team from 1975-83. Now 78, Starr said he still tried to watch as many Packers games as he could on television. And he believes this year's team could be a serious championship contender despite last year's defensive struggles.A year ago, Green Bay finished the regular season 15-1 but ranked last in the NFL in total defense, allowing 411.6 yards per game. Green Bay lost to the New York Giants in the divisional playoffs."As they improve that defense this year hopefully, I think you're going to see a Super Bowl team on the field," Starr said.In particular, Starr praised quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the 2011 NFL MVP and a Super Bowl champion that season."I didn't have any of the qualities that he has," Starr said. "He's far superior to the qualities that I possessed. He's a very, very special player. "I think that he's in control of the system that he's operating. You can see the confidence factor, I think, and the way he conducts himself. I believe that it's just a great example of leadership that you're able to see on television."Starr himself was the 1966 NFL MVP for the Packers after completing 156 of 251 passes (62.2 percent) for 2,257 yards, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions. That season marked Starr's fourth of his four Pro Bowl appearances.Despite Starr's extraordinary success in Green Bay, he wasn't selected by the Packers until the 17th round of the 1956 NFL draft, with the 200th pick overall. He likely flew under the radar, in part, because he rarely saw the field during his final two seasons as quarterback at the University of Alabama. As a sophomore, Starr led Alabama to a 6-2-3 record and a spot in the Cotton Bowl against Rice, but his college highlights ended there. He played sparingly during his junior season after sustaining a severe back sprain the previous summer, and Alabama finished the year 4-5-2. And before his senior season, Alabama replaced head coach Red Drew for J.B. Whitworth, who opted to play younger players."He basically benched us seniors," Starr said. "We may have played 10 or 12 plays throughout the season. But that was it. We don't know to this day how we lettered."In the end, however, Starr's lack of collegiate success his final two years became a blessing because of his ability to play for the Packers. Starr finished his Packers career with a 9-1 playoff record as a starter and a 57.4-percent completion rate, the best in the NFL at the time of his retirement."I was thrilled to be drafted," Starr said. "Obviously I was disappointed with so many rounds taken, but I was pleased to be picked. Over time, I was even more thrilled."Starr said he couldn't pinpoint one moment during his Packers career that stood out above the rest. But he recalled Green Bay's playoff success with particular reverence. Starr led the Packers to victories in Super Bowls I and II in 1967 and 1968, respectively."When you win the Super Bowl games you were in, when you win the championship games to get to the Super Bowl, those kind of happenings don't occur that often," Starr said. "When you're privileged to be a part of something like that occurring, you have to be very thrilled."Follow Jesse Temple on Twitter.
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