Go to www.fanschoice.com to vote for the 2010 Hall of Fame class today!
[Ed. note: As I
bragged about informed you yesterday, I had the wonderful opportunity to interview three NFL Hall of Famers before Sunday's game at Lambeau Field. The interview group consisted of about 10-12 media members. Of course in my case, I use the term "media member" in the loosest sense possible--I'll be the first to admit that I was just a lucky blogger with a new digital voice recorder. We split up into smaller groups on stage before the public event and had a chance to rotate around to each Hall of Famer to ask some questions. Not all of the questions below were asked by me, but I did ask most of them listed for each interview. Here's the final interview with Packer legend Bart Starr:]
This event marks the first time the fans have a say in Hall of Fame voting. Is this a good thing in your opinion?
I think it's great that the fans get a chance to vote and show up on occasions like this. Obviously they're not the selection committee, but I don't know if there's a sport out there right now that brings in the fans like this. It's good to give the fans a way to make a contribution and have at least a bit of a say in it.
The big news of the day is obviously the Brett Favre thing--what do you think is going through his mind getting ready to run out there?
Well I don't know, and I'm not trying to avoid your question, but I'm purposely not going to get into that today. One, I think it's too late--this has been going on for well before this week around here! (Laughs) I'm just happy to be here today and I hope it's a good game and we can have a lot of fun.
So a quick follow up then, do you think that's what's going through Brett's head today--just ignore it?
I have no idea. He has to focus on the game and what he's been trained to do all week and what he's supposed to do for this Packer game, so that's his focal point.
How have you seen the Green Bay/Minnesota rivalry evolve since your playing days? Obviously the Favre situation has escalated things this year, but has the intensity always been there?
It's been a big rivalry. I think it's great because being in the same division and having something that is that strong is good for the league, it's good for that division obviously, it's just great for everybody. And in this latitude of the country, I just think it's wonderful. My wife and I of course have been living in Green Bay for 31 years, so this will always be our adopted home. When you can be a part of something like that well after you've retired, it's just a great experience.
How do you think Packers fans should welcome Brett back when he comes out of the tunnel? Should they boo him? Should they cheer?
(Laughs) I think that's up to the individual. As I said to the question before, it's not my place to say. It's for him, it's for the fans here to do their thing, and that's exactly what everybody should be doing.
How unique of an experience is this with someone that played here so long coming back playing for a rival?
Well it is definitely unique and I can't comment on it because I've never been there, but it's going to be an interesting day.
What was it like to be a member of the Green Bay Packers so long and be such a big part of this franchise as a player then a coach?
It was a great experience. In hindsight maybe I shouldn't have coached right away because I wasn't quite in the position I wanted to be. We had a some talented players on those teams and it was a great learning experience, and from that perspective I don't regret it. But more important to me was to always cherish the great years we had here with the wonderful people of Green Bay, and all the wonderful people around here that enabled us to win five championships in seven years.
How important is it to you to be a part of the Hall of Fame event and the game today?
It's really special. I really love all the Hall of Fame people. If you haven't looked closely at it in a number of years, you'll see some remarkable stages of improvement. I think when they can have something like this available to the fans it can only help. Now the fans here may not necessarily get to bring anyone in, but to hear their opinions, I think it's great for everybody. And I like coming to every game here, it's very special. By the time this season's over, my wife and I will have been to at least five of the ball games here in Green Bay and we're very proud of that.
Have a great day gentlemen.