Saturday, February 10, 2007
Sports Illustrated: Oct. 31, 1966
The sixth Packers’ appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated was in the Halloween-dated issue in the Fall of 1966. Pictured on the cover is Green Bay quarterback Bart Starr (behind #50 — center Bill Curry), along with the caption “Hot War in the West,” which refers to the NFL’s Western Conference.
The article in the magazine is about Starr and the the Western Conference teams (namely the Baltimore Colts) in “heated pursuit” of the Packers, who had just dismantled the Atlanta Falcons 56-3 the Sunday before. “The big lesson of the day was that the race in the West will turn on the quarterbacks... as everyone knows, Johnny Unitas is one of the finest quarterbacks of all time; as everyone SHOULD know, Starr is one of them, too... Starr is the perfect man for the meticulous, grinding Green Bay offense and he has just as much cool and just as much generalship as Unitas... ‘We’re different types,’ Unitas comments. ‘Bart’s an excellent quarterback, but he calls plays to control the ball, and I gamble. I throw anytime. But he’s a fine passer. Look at his statistics.’ ”
“He’s confident,” a Bear player said after the Packers beat Chicago a week ago. “You can’t ruffle him. You can’t make him mad. He’s got more confidence than almost anyone.”
Interestingly revealed in the article, which also provides an overview of Starr’s career to that point, is that Starr was drafted in the 17th round by the Packers in the 1956 Draft because, according to Starr, “Johnny Dee, the basketball coach at Alabama was... responsible for that. He was a good friend of the late (Packers scout) Jack Vainisi, and talked him into taking a chance.” That gamble turned into a good decision for the Green Bay Packers and Bart Starr.