Between Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre, the Green Bay Packers are famous for their star quarterbacks. But the fans in Green Bay don’t forget their original star snap-caller, Bart Starr, who led the Packers to victories in the first two Super Bowls.
Starr, 78, recently spoke with ESPN Playbook about this year’s Packers, how the NFL has changed since his playing days, and his latest endeavors.
What do you see for your Packers this year?
I see a strong year. If they can have that defense play a little better, I think they’re going to be right there and win it all. Offensively, I don’t know how you can have a stronger leader than Aaron Rodgers.
How well do you know Aaron Rodgers? Do you ever offer any quarterback-to-quarterback advice?
I’ve met him numerous times. I’ve been around him at some social functions, and I’ve really had admiration for him. I think he’s a quality person. I also admire his ability as an athlete because he is exceptional. I think, as I said before, if they get that defense to play better, look out for these guys.
When you watch football, how much is the game different now than when you played?
It’s changed dramatically when you look at the run versus the pass. In our days, we featured the run and we were a very strong running team. We threw the ball a lot, but we did it as a result of the run. We did it through play action passes. It’s still effective today, they obviously do that because you have teams that run the ball well also, but they have such multiple ways and approaches toward the passing game that I am very impressed with that portion of the game.
Do you see that as a positive change?
I like it very much how it’s being played, but I also seeing teams who haven’t forgotten the running game. Because of that, they spend a lot of time perfecting it.
How about off the field? How different is the athlete lifestyle now compared to your day?
That probably would be affected by what we are in our society. You just have to keep that in mind, in what we’re doing and how we build ourselves up through school. When you look at a person, you have to be fair to them. You have to look at the background of where they’re from and the impact the sectors have had on them.
Are you talking about something specific?
It’s just how we are in our society. You take a hard look in some places; how could we possibly have this going on in our city? I think what we have to do to get it to where we conduct ourselves in a way that we’re always seeking the very best we can be, by doing it in a way that’s full of integrity.
You’re involved with Tide’s “Show Us Your Colors” campaign, in which Tide provided every Packers fans with a free T-shirt at the Packers’ Week 1 game. What’s it been like to be a part of that?
It’s been fun to get involved in. I’m a great believer in Procter & Gamble’s products, and I love what Tide picked for this, because their whole theme was showing off our colors here in Green Bay. When you can do that, by encouraging all those at the ballgame to show off their green and gold, it shows the quality of the fans who support the Packers.