When the Bears had Butkus and Gale Sayers (picked #3 & #4 in the exact same 1965 draft! Man, what a draft that was…), the workforce was normally terrible — but they had been as nice to observe as any Bear workforce…due to watching simply these two. The truth is, even with Sayers — as swish, outstanding and entertaining a runner to observe as I’ve seen — Butkus is the one defensive participant who’s made me sit up for seeing the Bears (or any) workforce *with out* the ball.
The quintessential Butkus play, that I noticed typically rising up was a runner getting the again, sweeping left with two blockers in entrance of him main the way in which — and then you definitely’d see Butkus’s physique come flying in, knocking the 2 blockers apart, bursting by them and never solely tackling the runner, however inflicting a fumble and recovering the ball.
Here is how nice Butkus was: in 1969, the Chicago Bears solely received one sport, they ended the season 1-13. They had been horrible. But Butkus received the NFL Award for finest Defensive Participant of the Yr.
When ESPN did a particular countdown on the 100 biggest NFL gamers of all-time throughout the NFL’s one hundredth season, they named Dick Butkus #10. Regardless of taking part in on solely two profitable groups in his nine-year profession (minimize quick by unhealthy knees.) That is how nice Butkus was.
It must be famous, too, that when school soccer provides out their Linebacker of the Yr award, it is known as the Butkus Award. That, too, is how nice Dick Butkus was.
Here is the video proof. However stick round for a bonus video — a brief, however wonderful clip of my favourite play ever with Dick Butkus, that I bear in mind as a child and fortunately discovered.
But for all his renown as a spectacular defensive participant, my favourite play with Butkus that I bear in mind when rising up had nothing to do with protection!
When the Bears would kick further factors and area objectives, they’d use Butkus to dam for the kicker, as a result of he was so powerful. Late in a single sport in 1972 (the video says “1971,” however that is incorrect), the Bears lined as much as kick an vital further level in opposition to the Philadelphia Eagles. However the snap was unhealthy, and the ball obtained away from the holder — who occurred to even be the workforce’s quarterback, Bobby Douglas.
In the meantime, as Douglas scrambled round to collect up the free ball, Dick Butkus had the presence of thoughts (at the same time as a defensive participant) to understand that he was of no worth within the backfield, and as an alternative sneaked his approach into the tip zone.
Now, I can guarantee you, at no time throughout the Philadelphia Eagles’ sport preparation was the query ever introduced up — “Okay, now, who might be protecting Butkus?” And so, there Butkus was, nearly actually simply standing ultimately zone on their own, nobody near him. As a result of who on the planet would consider protecting Dick Butkus. And when Bobby Douglas lastly was capable of management the ball, he ran round to his left — fortunately being a left-handed thrower, and fortunately Butkus (maybe realizing this and partly, too, as a result of he was lined up on the left) had run out to the left aspect — and so Douglas, being a quarterback, noticed Butkus fully by himself ultimately zone. And threw him the ball, which Butkus merely stood there and caught, for the additional level.
However that is not the most effective factor concerning the play. What occurred subsequent made the play particular — all of the extra so when in comparison with this period of participant celebrations and choreographed workforce dances after they do one thing good. When Butkus caught the additional level, he did not rejoice, he did not dance, he did not spike the ball — as an alternative, he simply turned to the Eagles’ defender who was dashing in the direction of him, however too late…and politely, and totally sardonically held out the ball for him. In maybe probably the most gracious, “in your face” transfer you’ll ever see. At which level the pissed off Eagles participant simply thwacked the ball away.
And better of all, as proof, this is that video!