The latest installment of the SEC Storied franchise is a film focusing on one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the sport, Bart Starr. A legendary name in the history of American sports, Starr got his start at the University of Alabama en route to five NFL Championship titles in seven seasons with the Green Bay Packers. Directed by Fritz Mitchell and eith Dunnavant, SEC Storied: “Bart Starr: America’s Quarterback” debuts on Wednesday, Dec. 13 at 9 p.m. ET on SEC Network.
“Bart Starr’s life is so rich with narrative tension,” Dunnavant said. “This story matters because it reflects universal truths about the American experience, especially how you can, indeed, overcome very long odds to achieve your dream. Making the film was a reminder to us all about the fragility of life and about the power of resilience – on and off the football field.”
Starr was immortalized by his game-winning quarterback sneak in the fabled Ice Bowl in 1967. Stoic and modest, Starr led Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers to five NFL championships over a remarkable seven-year run, just as professional football captured the nation’s heart. But Starr’s story is one of darkness battling contentiously with light – his football success framed by the tragic losses of a brother and a son to untimely deaths 40 years apart.
“As a director, I always thought of Starr as kind of boring, a lousy sound bite. Humility has a hard time cutting through on television,” Mitchell shared. “But working on this film, I came to realize that Starr didn’t glide through life effortlessly. He worked tirelessly and faced adversity at each stage of his journey.”
After a promising start at the University of Alabama, Starr spent his senior season of 1955 as a backup quarterback on the only winless team in Crimson Tide history. Without the intervention of basketball coach Johnny Dee, who convinced a friend with the Green Bay Packers to give him a look, Starr might never have played professional football.
This documentary is the story of how Starr carefully navigated through the pathos of his early life to become one of the most beloved quarterbacks of all time, and how he ultimately dealt with his own pain.
Dunnavant is the author of the Starr biography “America’s Quarterback” and several other widely acclaimed sports and general history books, including “The Missing Ring.” He produced and directed the award-winning documentary film, “Three Days at Foster.” Dunnavant started his career as a teenage sportswriter in small-town Alabama, covered national college football for The National, and enjoyed a long career in magazine journalism, directing coverage of sports, business, politics, culture and media. He hosts the American Achievers podcast.
An Emmy and Peabody award-winning filmmaker, Mitchell has directed and produced documentaries for ESPN and PBS since 1998, including two films for the celebrated 30 for 30 series – “The Legend of Jimmy the Greek” and “Ghosts of Ole Miss.” In 2019, he directed the acclaimed eight-part/12.5-hour documentary “Saturdays in the South: A History of SEC Football” for ESPN’s College Football 150 project and the SEC Storied franchise. More recently, he directed “The Trials of Bobby Hoppe” and the seven-part “Southern Hoops: A History of SEC Basketball.”
An advance press screener is available upon request. Please contact Amanda Brooks at [email protected].
About SEC Storied
ESPN Films launched the SEC Storied documentary series in September 2011, presenting fans the opportunity to explore the rich athletic history of the Southeastern Conference. From extraordinary athletes and coaches to defining games and moments, the series has featured films that focus on the SEC’s recent and more distant past, including one of the most-viewed documentaries in ESPN history, “The Book of Manning.” In 2015, SEC Storied received its first two Sports Emmy nominations for both Outstanding Sports Documentary and Outstanding Music Composition/Direction/Lyrics with the film “It’s Time: The Story of Brad Gaines and Chucky Mullins.”
About SEC Network
The Southeastern Conference and ESPN launched SEC Network on August 14, 2014. The network televises hundreds of games across the SEC’s 21 sports annually. Programming includes in-depth analysis and storytelling in studio shows such as SEC Nation, Marty & McGee, Out Of Pocket, Read & React and Rally Cap, daily news and information with The Paul Finebaum Show and SEC Now, original content such as TrueSouth, SEC Storied and SEC Inside, and more. Hundreds of additional live events are available for streaming exclusively on SEC Network’s digital companion, SEC Network+, via the ESPN App and SECNetwork.com. Follow SEC Network on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and Twitter/X.