• Former Georgia All-American quarterback Zeke Bratkowski, dead at 88

    By: AJC Sports


    Zeke Bratkowski, a two-time All-America quarterback at the University of Georgia and a member of the university's Circle of Honor, has died at his home in Florida. He was 88.

    Bratkowski played for coach Wally Butts at Georgia from 1951-53 and was a two-time SEC passing leader in addition to a pair of All-America selections in '52 and '53. Bratkowski won a pair of Super Bowls as Bart Starr's backup with the Green Bay Packers in the 1960s and is a member of the franchise's Hall of Fame.

    The Packers announced his death late Monday but did not disclose further details.

    Bratkowski played for the Packers from 1963-68 and again in 1971. He was the backup to Bart Starr for much of his professional career. He won 10 of his 14 starts for the Packers, completing 265 passes in 498 attempts for 3,576 passing yards and 24 touchdowns.

    He spent 14 years in the NFL, passing for more than 10,000 yards and 65 touchdowns with the Bears, Rams and Packers.

    One of Bratkowski's most notable performances in relief of an injured Starr came in 1965, a 13-10 overtime playoff win over the Baltimore Colts that sent the Packers to the title game against Cleveland.

    They beat the Browns for what would be the first of three straight championship seasons, and Bratkowski played briefly in both Super Bowl wins in the two years that followed.

    His death comes six months after Starr died at the age of 85. Under coach Vince Lombardi, Starr led Green Bay to six division titles, five NFL championships and wins in the first two Super Bowls.

    "I've tried to pattern myself after Bart," Bratkowski said in 1967, according to the Packers. "We study the movies together and go over the game plan together. I try to think as much like he does as I can so the team will not have to make a big adjustment if I'm needed."

    Bratkowski, born in Danville, Illinois, played at Georgia before starting his career with the Chicago Bears. Bratkowski played for the Bears and then the Rams in 1960 after his military service as an Air Force pilot in 1958 and 1959. 

    Bratkowski also spent more than two decades as an assistant in the NFL after his playing career ended.

    In 1980, he was inducted into the State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1989. He was inducted into the Georgia's Circle of Honor in 2006.

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