By Zane Miller
The Green Bay Packers had one of their best seasons in 1961, going 11-3 to qualify for the postseason and take down the New York Giants 37-0 in the Championship Game. A major part of the success was quarterback Bart Starr, who started every game for the Packers that season and finished sixth in passing touchdowns as well as fourth in passing yardage.
In 1962, however, the Packers topped even their championship-winning numbers from the previous year, going 13-1 with Starr again starting every game for the team to send Green Bay to their third consecutive championship final.
On October 14th against the Minnesota Vikings, Starr had the finest performance of his 1962 campaign as he would pass for three touchdowns and 297 yards in a 48-21 demolishment which saw the Packers go up 27-0 in the second quarter. By this point in the contest, Starr had already picked up two touchdown passes, finding veteran wide receiver Max McGee both times, before getting another touchdown to start the second half on a pass to wide receiver Boyd Dowler.
Although the Vikings battled their way back into contention in the fourth quarter with a pair of touchdowns to make it 34-21, Green Bay responded with two of their own to seal the victory and keep their hopes at an undefeated season alive. However, the Packers would eventually take their only loss of the year on November 22nd against the Detroit Lions, as the team would uncharacteristically struggle throughout the first three quarters, allowing the Lions to go ahead 26-0. While the Packers managed to get some semblance of offense going in the fourth, it wouldn’t be enough as Detroit claimed the 26-14 win to end the undefeated bid four games shy of the finish line.
Although Starr had set the then-record for single-season wins, the statistics themselves would be underwhelming with 12 touchdown passes and 2,438 yards, taking 12th in the touchdown rankings and eighth in passing yardage. He would finish three touchdowns behind Dallas Cowboys quarterback Don Meredith, who only won two games during the season, as well as two yards short of St. Louis (now Arizona) Cardinals quarterback Charley Johnson, who went 3-6-1 on the year.
Nevertheless, the Packers were set to face the Giants in a rematch for the championship game, taking on fellow double-digit game winner YA Tittle. Under cold and windy conditions in New York, defense quickly became the name of the game with the Packers holding a 10-0 shutout at halftime. The Giants looked to swing the momentum back in their favor after a Green Bay fumble on special teams led to a touchdown, but the Packers’ stiff defense would keep them from finding the end zone again. Green Bay tacked on a pair of field goals to crown themselves as back-to-back champions with the 16-7 victory. Despite the triumph, Starr would be held to just 85 passing yards by an equally tough defensive effort by New York, as he was also unable to reach the end zone.
With all of the statistics in mind, I grade Starr’s 1962 season at a B. This season is a strange anomaly, as he was obviously able to find a way to win games when needed so I couldn’t justify putting it as a C. On the other hand, he couldn’t crack the top 10 in touchdown passes in a 14-team league and only had average passing yardage for the time, making this one of the more difficult campaigns to grade for.
HEWT running counter
What do you think about Bart Starr’s 1962 season? Feel free to leave a comment below and thanks for reading!