Quarterback: Bart Starr
196 games as a Packer
1956-1971, Green Bay Packers
Packers Head Coache-1975-1983
Four-time Pro Bowler, Four-time All-Pro
1966 League MVP
Two-time Super Bowl MVP
Four-time League passing percentage leader
1960s All-Decade Team
Five NFL Championship rings
One of only five Packer players with their numbers retired
Pro Football Hall of Fame Member
Out of Montgomery, Ala., via the University of Alabama, Bart Starr came to the Packers as an unheralded 17th-round draft pick in 1956. Held back by injuries and some questionable coaching decisions at Alabama, Starr was also considered too small at only 6' 1" and 197 pounds.
Few NFL executives knew of the competitive fire that burned inside of the ultra-quiet Starr or of his dedication and desire to be a great NFL quarterback. Playing on some awful Packer teams his first few years and bouncing in and out of the lineup, Starr had little chance to show off the skills he knew he had.
When Vince Lombardi came to Green Bay in 1959, that all changed. Starr started out as third-string that season, but by the middle of the year he was starting and helped lead the Packers to their first winning season in 12 years. The following year, Starr led the Packers to the playoffs for the first time in 16 years, losing the first and only playoff game of his career. In 1961, Starr led the Packers to the NFL championship, the first of five.
Vince Lombardi was enamored with Starr's dedication to study film and his ability to pinpoint how to attack opposing defenses. Lombardi had complete confidance in Starr. So much so, that he let Starr call ALL of the plays on the field.
Bart Starr was arguably the finest field general the league had ever seen. While many feel that the Green Bay Packer dynasty made Starr, his teammates will tell you it was the other way around. So many of his Packer teammates have said that without Starr, the talented Packers would not have won five championships. He was their leader, and with Starr at the helm, the Packers felt they could score every time they had the ball.
Deadly quiet and reserved off the field, Starr was known to his teammates as a fierce competitor who would do anything to win a game.
From 1960-1967, Starr led the Packers to a 62-24-4 record, six divisional titles and five NFL championships, including the first two Super Bowls. Starr was named Super Bowl MVP in both of those games, as well as NFL MVP in 1966.
Bart Starr is the Packers' greatest all-time quarterback because he was at his best when it counted the most—the playoffs. Starr's career playoff record is 9-1. His postseason passer rating of 104.8 (in an era when 80 was considered very good) remains No. 1 all time—better than Montana, Unitas, Favre, Bradshaw, Aikman, and a slew of other legendary modern QBs.
And remember, Starr played in an era dominated by defense when current pass interference rules did not exist. Starr retired as the NFL's most accurate passer of all-time.
As Cold Hard Football Facts points out in its excellent article, http://www.coldhardfootballfacts.com/Articles/11_2103_The_definitive_list:_Top_10_NFL_quarterbacks.html, Starr 's greatness can be measured in his career Yards Per Attempt (YPA) numbers. "Starr averaged a remarkable 7.85 YPA over the course of his entire career, the eighth-best mark in history, and better than that of a slate of quarterbacks who are generally regarded as the best passers in history, including Dan Marino (7.37), Joe Montana (7.52), Roger Staubach (7.67), Dan Fouts (7.68), Sonny Jurgensen (7.56), Fran Tarkenton (7.27), Y.A. Tittle (7.52), Terry Bradshaw (7.17), and Joe Namath (7.35)."
They further go on to say, "Six times in the 1960s, Starr surpassed 8.2 YPA for a season. To put that into context, Peyton Manning has surpassed 8.2 YPA just twice in his career. When it comes to a combination of leadership, victories, big-game performances, and statistical supremacy nobody—NOBODY—put together a more total package than Bart Starr, the greatest quarterback in NFL history."
Bart Starr was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.
Honorable Mention: Brett Favre
The greatest measure of a quarterback is how many championships you lead your team to. That's why Brett Favre is still playing the game; he wants more than just one ring. What affects a quarterback's chances of winning championships most is how he performs in the playoffs. Bart Starr's playoff passer rating is 20 points higher than Bret Favre's. Bart Starr's playoff record is 9-1, Brett Favre's is 12-10. Bart Starr threw three interceptions in 10 playoff games, Brett Favre threw 28 interceptions in 22 playoff games.
I'm not looking to denigrate Favre in any way, but these were the criteria I used to make my choice. While Brett Favre might be the most dynamic and entertaining quarterback to have played the game of football, the true measure of greatness in sports is winning. That's why Bart Starr is my greatest Packer quarterback of all-time.