6 Ways To Be The “Starr” Of Your Organization

How Football Explains America

I am currently reading ESPN‘s Sal Paolantonio’s book How Football Explains America.  If you’re looking for a book that gives context to the history and formation of the modern NFL, it is a quality resource. 

One of the book’s most interesting sections is the recap of the career of Green Bay Packers quarterback Bart Starr.  Here are some quick facts on Starr:

  • Son of Army Master Sergeant Ben Starr
  • Younger brother Bubba died at age 13 creating additional pressure on his older brother.
  • Attended the Alabama Crimson Tide pre-Bear Bryant where he went 0-10 his senior year.
  • Drafted in the 17th round by the Green Bay Packers.
  • After three nondescript seasons, Vince Lombardi was hired as the team’s head coach.

Under Lombardi, Starr won three NFL titles, two MVPs, played in four Pro Bowls, and was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1977.

The following are the leadership principles we can take from Starr’s career:

  1. Confidence – After studying film of Starr’s first three seasons, Lombardi felt Starr could be a great quarterback though many felt he would never make it.  He saw a player who could make all the throws, was tough enough, but simply lacked confidence. Leaders, are you giving team members the confidence they need to succeed? 
  2. Study Habits – Starr had a great memory and tremendous study habits.  He mastered every aspect of the team’s playbook.  Leaders are readers.
  3. Father’s Influence – Starr grew up as a Methodist.  Lombardi’s verbal approach was rancid at best while bordering on abusive.  But after growing up in a Master Sergeant’s home, he could handle anything that came from Lombardi.  Leaders, are there things in your past you thought were difficult that unknowingly prepared you for success?
  4. Respect – Lombardi had proven his worth as the offensive coordinator of the New York Giants.  Starr approached life simply with a “Yes sir, no sir” approach.  Because of his respectful approach in general and in Lombardi’s resume in particular, he was the perfect field general for the no-nonsense disciplinarian.
  5. Execution – Because he studied more game film than anyone on the Packer roster, Starr could read defenses, make the right decisions, and then execute the plays to perfection.  For all the publicity the Baltimore Colts Johnny Unitas rightfully receives, Starr actually has a post-season QB rating of 104.8 which is 38 points higher than that of Unitas.  Leaders, do you understand the difference between activity and accomplishment?
  6. Religious Foundation – When Starr was on the road, he would remain in his hotel room and read his Bible.  While Lombardi and middle linebacker Ray Nitschke were the face of the 60s Packers, Starr was clearly the heart of the team.  His character allowed him to be the navigator of the Packer dynasty.  

Bart Starr was the NFL’s greatest on-field leader during the decade of the 60s.  Confidence, Respect, Study Habits, Life Preparation, A Religious Foundation, and the Ability to Execute.  Leaders, how are you doing in these areas? 

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About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.

One Response to “6 Ways To Be The “Starr” Of Your Organization”

  1. NFL_Tweeters RT @briankdodd #Leaders #Packers #NFL fans #pastors hoping 2 go 2 the nxt level read 6 Ways To Be The “Starr” Of Your Organization: http…

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