Dick Butkus

Richard Marvin Butkus (born December 9, 1942) is a former American football player, sports commentator, and actor. He played professional football as a linebacker for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL) from 1965 to 1973. Through those nine seasons he was invited to eight Pro Bowls, named a first-team All-Pro six times, and was twice recognized by his peers as the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year. Renowned as a fierce tackler and for the relentless effort with which he played, Butkus is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most intimidating linebackers in pro football history.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Butkus played his entire football career in his home state, which began at Chicago Vocational High School. As a college football player at the University of Illinois, he was a linebacker and center for the Fighting Illini. A two-time consensus All-American, he led the Illini to a Rose Bowl victory in 1963 and was deemed the most valuable player in the Big Ten Conference, and in 1964 he was named college football's Lineman of the Year by United Press International (UPI). He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983.

Butkus was drafted by the Bears as the third overall pick in the 1965 NFL Draft. He soon established himself as a ball hawk with his penchant for forcing turnovers. In his NFL career, he intercepted 22 passes, recovered 27 fumbles (a record when he retired),[a] and was responsible for causing many more fumbles with his jarring tackles. His tackling ability earned him both admiration and trepidation from opposing players. According to Hall of Fame defensive end Deacon Jones, Butkus "was a well-conditioned animal, and every time he hit you, he tried to put you in the cemetery, not the hospital."[1] In 2009, the NFL Network named Butkus the most feared tackler of all time.

Butkus is credited with having defined the middle linebacker position, and is still viewed as the "gold standard by which other middle linebackers are measured."[2] He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979, and his No. 51 jersey is retired by the Bears. Following his playing career, Butkus began careers in acting, sports commentary, and celebrity endorsement. He is active in philanthropy through the Butkus Foundation, which manages various charitable causes.

Dick Butkus
refer to caption
Butkus in 1984
No. 51
Position:Linebacker
Personal information
Born:December 9, 1942 (age 76)
Chicago, Illinois
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:245 lb (111 kg)
Career information
High school:Vocational (Chicago, Illinois)
College:Illinois
NFL Draft:1965 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3
AFL draft:1965 / Round: 2 / Pick: 9
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:119
Interceptions:22
Fumble recoveries:27[a]
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Early life

Richard Marvin Butkus was born in Chicago, Illinois, the youngest of eight children, but the first to be born in a hospital. He was a large baby, weighing 13 pounds 6 ounces (6.1 kg) at birth.[3] His father John, a Lithuanian immigrant to Ellis Island who spoke broken English, was an electrician and worked for the Pullman-Standard railroad company. His mother, Emma, worked 50 hours a week at a laundry.[4] Butkus grew up in the Roseland neighborhood on Chicago's South Side. He was a fan of the NFL's Chicago Cardinals and attended their games at Comiskey Park. His older brother Ron played football for three colleges and tried out for the Cardinals before quitting due to a bad knee.[5] For four years starting at age 15, Butkus worked with his four brothers as a mover.[6]

Butkus played high school football as a fullback, linebacker, punter, and placekicker for coach Bernie O'Brien at Chicago Vocational High School. He averaged five yards per carry as a fullback, but preferred playing linebacker, where he made 70 percent of his team's tackles.[4] In Butkus's first year on the varsity team, Chicago Vocational surrendered only 55 points in eight games.[5] In 1959, he was the first junior to be honored by the Chicago Sun-Times as Chicago's high school player of the year.[5] Injuries limited his play as a senior, but he was still heavily recruited by colleges to play football.[3]

College career

Butkus chose to attend the University of Illinois, and played center and linebacker from 1962 through 1964 for the Illinois Fighting Illini football team. In his first year on the varsity team, he was named to the 1962 All-Big Ten Conference football team as the third-team center by the Associated Press (AP) and second-team center by United Press International (UPI).[7][8] In 1963, Illinois compiled an 8–1–1 record and defeated Washington in the 1964 Rose Bowl. Butkus was named the team's most valuable player for the season, and was awarded the Chicago Tribune Silver Football as the Big Ten's most valuable player.[9] He was a unanimous choice as a center for the 1963 College Football All-America Team, earning first-team honors from all seven major selectors.[10]

As a senior in 1964, Butkus was named the team's co-captain along with safety George Donnelly.[11] UPI deemed Butkus college football's Lineman of the Year for 1964,[12] and he was named the player of the year by the American Football Coaches Association and The Sporting News.[13] For the second consecutive season he was deemed the Illini's most valuable player. He was chosen for the 1964 All-America team by five of the six major selectors. In a cover story for Sports Illustrated that season, sportswriter Dan Jenkins remarked, "If every college football team had a linebacker like Dick Butkus of Illinois, all fullbacks soon would be three feet tall and sing soprano."[14] Butkus also finished sixth in Heisman Trophy balloting in 1963 and third in 1964, rare results both for a lineman and a defensive player.[15] According to statistics kept by the university, he completed his college career with 374 tackles: 97 in 1962, 145 in 1963, and 132 in 1964.[16]

Professional career

Butkus was drafted in the first round by both the Denver Broncos of the American Football League and the Chicago Bears of the National Football League. After several days of recruiting by both the teams and leagues, his decision to sign with the Bears was viewed as a major victory for the NFL.[17] Although the Bears offered him less money than did the Broncos, playing for his hometown team and coach George Halas was more enticing.[18] His rookie contract was worth $200,000.[19] Along with fellow future Hall of Famer Gale Sayers, Butkus was one of three first-round picks for the Bears in the 1965 NFL Draft. The pick they used for Butkus had been acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers.[20]

1965–1970

Succeeding Hall of Famer Bill George at middle linebacker, Butkus made an immediate impact as a rookie.[21] He established himself as a ball hawk by intercepting five passes and recovering six opponents' fumbles, and he was also credited unofficially with having forced six fumbles.[22] Against the New York Giants on November 28, he intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble, and was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Week by the AP for the first of four times in his career.[23] He finished third in balloting for the AP's rookie of the year award, behind Sayers and Ken Willard of the San Francisco 49ers, with AP sportswriter Jack Hand remarking that Butkus would have certainly won if there was a separate award for defenders.[b][24] He was named a first-team All-Pro by the AP and was invited to his first of eight straight Pro Bowls.[25]

In 1966, Butkus was named the second-team middle linebacker on the All-Pro teams of the AP, UPI, Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), and New York Daily News, with each selector placing him behind Ray Nitschke of the Green Bay Packers.[26] He reclaimed the first-team spot on the UPI and NEA teams in 1967, the AP team in 1968, and the Daily News team in 1969, all of which he occupied through the 1970 season.[25]

Butkus scored the first points of his career on November 9, 1969, when he tackled Steelers quarterback Dick Shiner in the end zone for a safety. He also recorded 25 tackles in the game, and for his efforts was recognized as the NFL Defensive Player of the Week by the AP.[27] That 38–7 win for the Bears was their only one of the season; they finished with a 1–13 record, which was the worst in franchise history. Additionally, Butkus' five-year contract had reached its end. A number of Bears players, including Butkus, expressed interest in being traded or cut by the team,[28] but he signed a multi-year contract extension prior to the 1970 season to remain in Chicago.[29] The contract raised his salary from $50,000 per year to around $80,000 to $100,000 per year.[19]

Despite the ineptitude of the Bears as a team, Butkus developed a reputation around the league as one of its best players. In both 1969 and 1970, he was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the NEA, which was voted on by NFL players.[30][31] He appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in September 1970 with the caption, "The Most Feared Man in the Game".[32] A panel of NFL coaches that year named Butkus the player they would most prefer to start a team with if they were building one from the ground up.[33]

1971–1973

Prior to the 1971 season, Butkus underwent preventive surgery on his right knee; he had torn ligaments in high school, but was able to continue playing due to strong muscles compensating for the injury.[34] In 1971, he recorded 117 tackles and four interceptions, leading the Bears in both statistics.[35] He also scored a point; in the closing minutes of a game against the Washington Redskins on November 14, the score was tied at 15 and the Bears had lined up to kick an extra point. The snap went over the head of holder Bobby Douglass, who then raced back to retrieve the ball and looked to pass it. Butkus, who was playing as a blocking back, ran into the end zone and leapt to receive the pass for the winning score.[c][36][37] Butkus later called the play his favorite of his career.[33] Despite the statistical output, for the first time since 1966 Butkus was not named to a major All-Pro first team, instead earning second-team honors from the NEA and Pro Football Writers Association.[25]

Butkus sparked controversy in 1972 with the release of Stop-Action, a memoir describing the final week of the 1971 season. The Bears had lost their final five games in 1971, and Butkus used the memoir as an outlet for his frustrations and grievances. In particular, he harshly criticized the Detroit Lions organization, saying, "I think they are a lot of jerks, from the owner, the general manager, the coach on down... If we were voting for a jerk team or organization they'd have my vote all the way."[38] The Lions responded with a 38–24 win over the Bears in Week 3 of 1972.[39] After the game Lions linebacker Mike Lucci, whom Butkus had labeled a "crybaby", denied that the book had any bearing on the game's outcome, but told reporters, "Butkus should just keep his mouth shut and play football." Butkus, who was notoriously surly with reporters, also denied any connection and accused the media of sensationalism.[40] Bears teammate Gale Sayers later said he did not like the book, feeling Butkus was above such name-calling.[41] The season as a whole was another productive one for Butkus, who reclaimed the first-team middle linebacker spot on the major All-Pro teams and was invited to his final Pro Bowl.[25]

Early in the first quarter against the Oilers in 1973, Butkus pounced on a fumble in the end zone for the only touchdown of his career. Houston tight end Mack Alston accused Butkus of intimidating the officials, saying he "grabbed the ball and started yelling 'touchdown, touchdown,'" after which "the officials looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders and called it a touchdown."[42] His season was cut short after nine games by a lingering right knee injury, which he had been playing through for years, but was further agitated after it gave out in Week 5 against the Atlanta Falcons.[43] Prior to the 1974 season an orthopedic surgeon told him, "I don't know how a man in your shape can play football or why you would even want to."[44] The injury ultimately forced him to retire in May 1974 at age 31.[45]

Lawsuit against Bears

Butkus's retirement came with four years remaining on a five-year contract with the Bears, which was to pay him $115,000 per year through 1977, came with a no-cut, no-trade clause, and was payable even if surgery was needed. The contract also promised necessary medical and hospital care which, according to Butkus, the Bears neglected to provide him, causing irreparable damage to his knee. The Bears then told him he would not be paid if he could not play. Butkus filed suit against the Bears' team doctor in May 1974 asking for $600,000 in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages.[46][47] It was eventually settled out of court when the Bears agreed to pay Butkus the full value of his contract. The episode caused a rift between Butkus and Bears owner George Halas, and the two did not speak for the next five years.[48]

Profile and reputation

Dick was an animal. I called him a maniac. A stone maniac. He was a well-conditioned animal, and every time he hit you, he tried to put you in the cemetery, not the hospital.[1]

— Deacon Jones, Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end

Standing 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m) tall and weighing 245 pounds (111 kg), Butkus was an exceptionally large linebacker during his era.[15] This size was a common trait in his family, as all four of his brothers and his father each stood over six feet tall and weighed over 200 pounds. He was also diligent with his conditioning. In high school he would push a car up and down a street to strengthen his legs,[49] and in college he developed a routine of running at trees and dodging them to emulate avoiding blockers.[50] Despite his size, he also had the speed and agility to make tackles from sideline to sideline and cover tight ends and running backs on pass plays.[51]

Hall of Famer Bill George, whom Butkus succeeded as the Bears' middle linebacker, said, "The first time I saw Butkus, I started packing my gear. I knew my Bear days were numbered. There was no way that guy wasn't going to be great."[52] At one point, Butkus gained a reputation as one of the best players on an otherwise bad Bears team in the late 1960s; during his tenure, the Bears won 48 games, lost 74, and tied 4.[53]

Consistently cited as one of football's meanest, toughest, and most feared players, Butkus was renowned for his intimidating profile and style of play.[19][14] He was known to snarl at the opposition prior to plays.[54] Quarterbacks would complain of Butkus biting them in pileups.[55] Lions tight end Charlie Sanders recalled Butkus poking him in the eyes with his fingers through his face mask.[56] He once intercepted a pass from Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton near the goal line, and instead of taking the ball into the end zone for an easy touchdown, he took aim at Tarkenton to run him over.[6] When asked by a reporter if he was mean as the rumors suggested, Butkus replied, "I wouldn't ever go out to hurt anybody deliberately. Unless it was, you know, important—like a league game or something."[57]

He played angry, often "manufacturing" things to make him mad, because he felt it gave him a competitive edge.[51][58] After the Bears lost to the Lions in their first matchup of 1969, Lions rookie running back Altie Taylor told reporters that Butkus was overrated. The next time the teams played that season, Butkus responded by chasing Taylor out of bounds after a play and causing him to jump into the stands at Wrigley Field.[59][60]

Butkus became most noted for his tackling ability, and the ferocity with which he tackled opponents. He was named the most feared tackler of all time by the NFL Network in 2009.[61] Once during practice, he hit a metal football sled so hard that he crumpled it and left a piece of it dangling off.[52] "Tackling wasn't good enough," recalled former Bears defensive end Ed O'Bradovich. "Just to hit people wasn't good enough. He loved to crush people."[59] Butkus is credited with 1,020 tackles in his NFL career.[15][62][63]

Butkus recovered 27 fumbles in his career,[a] an NFL record at the time of his retirement.[15] One of his greatest strengths was his ability to rip the ball from a ball carrier's hands. Although not an official statistic at the time, it has been noted that Butkus would certainly be one of the all-time leaders in forced fumbles.[59][33]

Legacy and honors

USA Today called Butkus the "gold standard by which other middle linebackers are measured."[2] Although not the creator of the middle linebacker position—which is credited to his predecessor Bill George—Butkus is recognized as having defined the role.[1][62] He is also recognized for having set the benchmark for the success of Bears middle linebackers, which continued with Mike Singletary and Brian Urlacher.[66] Hall of Fame running back Earl Campbell, known for his hard-hitting running style, cited Butkus as his hero growing up.[67]

After his university years, Butkus continued to receive recognition for his college career. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983.[68] His No. 50 jersey is one of only two retired by the Illinois Fighting Illini football program, the other being the No. 77 of Red Grange,[69] and he was an inaugural inductee into the Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016.[70] Butkus was named to the Walter Camp Football Foundation's All-Century Team in 1999, compiled to honor the best college players of the 20th century.[71] In November 2017, Illinois announced it would erect a statue of Butkus on campus to overlook a future football performance center.[72]

Butkus was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979, his first year of eligibility.[73] The Hall's voters also named him to the NFL's 1960s All-Decade Team and 1970s All-Decade Team, deeming him one of the best players of both decades.[65] On October 31, 1994, the Bears retired Butkus's No. 51 jersey along with Sayers's No. 40 jersey during a ceremony at Soldier Field.[74] In 2004, a sculpture featuring Butkus, Halas, and seven other former Bears greats was unveiled at Soldier Field.[48]

Butkus has been repeatedly ranked among the top players in NFL history, being named the ninth-best player in NFL history by The Sporting News in 1999,[75] the tenth-best by the NFL Network in its The Top 100: NFL's Greatest Players series in 2010,[76] and the eight-best by the New York Daily News in 2014.[77] In 2017, NFL senior analyst Gil Brandt ranked Butkus as the third greatest linebacker of all time, behind Derrick Thomas and Lawrence Taylor.[78] He was also selected the 70th greatest athlete of the 20th century by ESPN.[79] In 1994, he was named to the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, compiled to recognize the best players of the NFL's first 75 years as adjudged by NFL officials and media personnel.[80]

Honoring his contributions to Chicago sports, Butkus was inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.[81] On August 24, 2013, he was inducted into the National Lithuanian American Hall of Fame.[82] In 2018 Butkus was inducted as a laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois and awarded the Order of Lincoln, the state's highest honor, by the Governor of Illinois.[83]

In 1985, the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando, Florida created the Butkus Award, which is given annually to the most outstanding linebacker at the high school, college, and professional levels as chosen by a nationwide panel of 51 coaches and sportswriters.[84] Butkus sued the Downtown Athletic Club for rights to the award in 2007, which it relinquished after a yearlong court battle. It has since been presented by the Butkus Foundation.[85]

As an homage, actor Sylvester Stallone named his pet Bullmastiff Butkus after the dog ate a security blanket. He decided to name him after "possibly the fiercest football player in history".[86] The dog later starred alongside Stallone in the Rocky film series.[1]

Film and television career

Since his career as a player, Butkus has become a celebrity endorser, broadcaster, and actor. He has appeared in films such as The Longest Yard (1974), Cry, Onion! (1975), Mother, Jugs & Speed (1976), Gus (1976), Superdome (1978), Cracking Up (1983), Johnny Dangerously (1984), Hamburger: The Motion Picture (1986), The Stepford Children (1987), Spontaneous Combustion (1990), Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990), Necessary Roughness (1991) and Any Given Sunday (1999), and as a regular character on TV shows such as Blue Thunder, My Two Dads, Vega$ and Hang Time. He portrayed himself in both the critically acclaimed TV movie Brian's Song (1971) and the 2002 comedy Teddy Bears' Picnic.[87] Butkus has also made cameo appearances in episodes of several television shows.

Butkus endorsed Prestone, a brand of antifreeze, in a commercial during Super Bowl IV in 1970, stating the tagline, "Because plugging holes is my business." The ad marked the first highly successful celebrity endorsement in Super Bowl advertising.[88] Throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, Butkus appeared alongside fellow former NFL star Bubba Smith in a series of ads for Miller Lite, which were released to high acclaim.[89] In 1985, he was a pitchman for Echo, a producer of outdoor power equipment.[90] In the 1990s, Butkus promoted the "Qwik-Cook Grill", a grill utilizing newspaper as its main fuel.[91]

Butkus returned to the Bears as a color analyst on radio broadcasts in 1985, teaming with first-year play-by-play man Wayne Larrivee and former St. Louis Cardinals quarterback Jim Hart. He was hired as the replacement for Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder on CBS's pregame show The NFL Today in 1988,[92] serving as an analyst through 1989. He was named as head coach of the XFL's Chicago Enforcers franchise, but was replaced by coach Ron Meyer for the league's only season in 2001.[91] Instead, Butkus served as the league's director of competition and, during the second half of the season, a color commentator for the league's regional telecasts.[93]

In 2005, as part of the ESPN reality series Bound for Glory, Butkus served as head football coach of Montour High School in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.[94] He coached the team to a 1–6 record before departing with two games remaining in the season, saying he had fulfilled his contract for the show.[95]

Personal and later life

Butkus married his high school sweetheart, Helen Essenberg, in 1963 while they were students at the University of Illinois.[96][56] After his retirement, Butkus moved to Florida, and then to Malibu, California. He remains an avid fan and frequent media image for the Bears.[14]

Butkus has three children: Ricky, Matt, and Nikki.[97] Matt played college football for the USC Trojans as a defensive lineman, and joins his father in philanthropic activities. Butkus's nephew Luke Butkus has been an assistant coach in the NFL for the Bears, Seattle Seahawks, and Jacksonville Jaguars, and as of 2016 is an assistant coach at his alma mater, the University of Illinois.[98] Butkus's grandson Ian Parish plays volleyball for the UCLA Bruins.[99]

Injuries sustained during Butkus's playing career have compounded with time. He had his knee replaced with a metal unit. An osteotomy left him with one leg one-and-a-half inches shorter than the other, which has affected his hips, back, and neck. Around 2002, nerve damage in his spine caused him to develop foot drop. He lost strength in his hands until he needed them both to lift a coffee cup.[6] Still, Butkus maintains that football had a largely positive impact on his life, and that its benefits should not be overlooked.[100]

In August 2001, Butkus underwent quintuple bypass surgery to remove blockages in his arteries. After the surgery, he co-authored a book titled The OC Cure For Heart Disease with Lawrence J. Santora, the doctor who performed the procedure.[101]

Philanthropy

Through The Butkus Foundation, Butkus has supported many charitable causes. The foundation was formed to manage the receipt and disbursement of funds for his charitable causes. These include:

  • The Butkus Award, instituted in 1985, is one of the elite individual honors in football. The Butkus Foundation takes stewardship of the award recognizing athletic achievement and service to the community while honoring the nation's best high school, college, and professional linebackers. An independent selection committee is composed of 51 people, including professional, college, and high school scouts, and sports journalists.[84]
  • The Dick Butkus Center for Cardiovascular Wellness is a nonprofit organization in Orange County, California with a cardiac screening program that uses specialized testing to help identify those at risk of heart disease and sudden cardiac death.[102]
  • The I Play Clean Campaign addresses the issue of steroids among high school athletes. The campaign educates and encourages high school athletes to train and eat well, without resorting to illegal steroids and performance-enhancing products.[103]

Notes

  1. ^ a b c Some sources state Butkus recovered 25 fumbles.[64][65][63]
  2. ^ The AP did not give separate rookie of the year awards to offensive and defensive players until the 1967 season.
  3. ^ The score was worth one point as the NFL had not yet adopted the two-point conversion.[35]

References

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Bibliography

  • Chicago Tribune staff (2015). The Chicago Tribune Book of the Chicago Bears: A Decade-By-Decade History. Agate Publishing. ISBN 1572847581.
  • Freedman, Lew (2006). Game of My Life: Chicago Bears. Sports Publishing LLC. ISBN 1596701005.
  • Pompei, Dan (December 15, 2012). "Bear for all seasons". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 22, 2017.

Further reading

  • Butkus, Dick (1997). Butkus: Flesh and Blood. Doubleday. ISBN 0385486480.
  • Butkus, Dick (1972). Stop-Action. Dutton. ISBN 0525210059.

External links

1963 All-Big Ten Conference football team

The 1963 All-Big Ten Conference football team consists of American football players chosen by various organizations for All-Big Ten Conference teams for the 1963 Big Ten Conference football season. The selectors for the 1963 season were the Associated Press (AP), based on a vote by media members, and the United Press International (UPI), based on a vote of the conference coaches. Players selected as first-team players by both the AP and UPI are designated in bold.

Michigan State halfback Sherman Lewis was the only player to be unanimously selected by all ten of the conference coaches as a first-team honoree. Minnesota tackle Carl Eller and Illinois center Dick Butkus were selected as first-team players by nine of the ten conference coaches.

1963 Big Ten Conference football season

The 1963 Big Ten Conference football season was the 68th season of college football played by the member schools of the Big Ten Conference and was a part of the 1963 NCAA University Division football season.

The 1963 Illinois Fighting Illini football team, under head coach Pete Elliott, won the Big Ten football championship with a record of 8–1–1, defeated Washington in the 1964 Rose Bowl, and was ranked No. 3 in the final AP Poll. Illinois center Dick Butkus received the Chicago Tribune Silver Football award as the most valuable player in the conference and was a consensus first-team All-American.

The 1963 Michigan State Spartans football team, under head coach Duffy Daugherty, compiled a 6–2–1 record, finished in second place in the conference, led the conference in scoring defense (7.0 points allowed per game), and was ranked No. 10 in the final AP Poll. Halfback Sherman Lewis was a consensus first-team All-American and finished third in the voting of the 1963 Heisman Trophy.

The Big Ten's statistical leaders included Tom Myers of Northwestern with 1,398 passing yards, Tom Nowatzke of Indiana with 756 rushing yards, and Paul Krause of Iowa with 442 receiving yards. Carl Eller of Minnesota was the first Big Ten player selected in the 1964 NFL Draft with the sixth overall pick.

1963 Illinois Fighting Illini football team

The 1963 Illinois Fighting Illini football team was an American football team that represented the University of Illinois during the 1963 Big Ten Conference football season. In their fourth year under head coach Pete Elliott, the Illini compiled an 8–1–1 record, finished in first place in the Big Ten Conference, were ranked #3 in the final AP Poll, and defeated Washington in the 1964 Rose Bowl. The sole loss was a 14-8 defeat against Michigan.Illinois center/linebacker Dick Butkus was selected as the team's most valuable player, won the 1963 Chicago Tribune Silver Football trophy as the Big Ten's most valuable player, and was honored as a unanimous first-team player on the 1963 College Football All-America Team. Tackle Archie Sutton was selected by the Newspaper Enterprise Association as a second-team All-American.Quarterback Mike Taliaferro led the team with 450 passing yards while Jim Grabowski led the team with 616 rushing yards. Gregg Schumacher led the team with 133 receiving yards.

1964 All-Big Ten Conference football team

The 1964 All-Big Ten Conference football team consists of American football players chosen by various organizations for All-Big Ten Conference teams for the 1964 Big Ten Conference football season. The selectors for the 1964 season were the Associated Press (AP), based on a vote by media members, and the United Press International (UPI), based on a vote of the conference coaches. Players selected as first-team players by both the AP and UPI are designated in bold.

Michigan won the Big Ten Conference championship for the first time since 1950, defeated Oregon State in the 1965 Rose Bowl, and had five players who were selected as first-team honorees by either the AP or UPI. Two Michigan players were consensus first-team picks by the AP and UPI: quarterback Bob Timberlake and defensive tackle Bill Yearby. Timberlake also received both the Chic Harley Award as the college football player of the year and the Chicago Tribune Silver Football trophy as the most valuable player in the conference.

Ohio State finished in second place in the conference and had six players who were selected as first-team players by either the AP or UPI teams. Three of the Ohio State honorees were consensus picks by the AP and UPI: offensive guard Dan Poretta, linebacker Dwight "Ike" Kelly, and defensive back Arnie Chonko.

Nine players from teams other than Michigan and Ohio State received consensus All-Big Ten honors in 1964. They are: (1) Illinois linebacker, Dick Butkus, who was a consensus All-American and was named Sporting News College Football Player of the Year; (2) Illinois fullback and College Football Hall of Fame inductee Jim Grabowski; (3) Michigan State halfback Dick Gordon; (4) Iowa end Karl Noonan; (5) Indiana end Bill Malinchak; (6) Illinois' offensive tackle Archie Sutton; (7) Indiana guard Don Croftcheck; (8) Northwestern center Joe Cerne; (9) Purdue defensive tackle Jim Garcia; and (10) Illinois defensive back George Donnelly.

1964 Illinois Fighting Illini football team

The 1964 Illinois Fighting Illini football team represented the University of Illinois in the 1964 Big Ten Conference football season. Dick Butkus played center and linebacker for Illinoisfrom 1962 through 1964. During the 1964 season, Butkus was a unanimous pick for the 1964 College Football All-America Team, was named the American Football Coaches Association Player of the Year, finished third in Heisman Trophy balloting (a remarkable achievement for a lineman), and was selected as the team's most valuable player.

1964 Rose Bowl

The 1964 Rose Bowl was the 50th Rose Bowl Game, played on January 1, 1964. It featured the Illinois Fighting Illini and the Washington Huskies.Illinois was led by Dick Butkus, Jim Grabowski, Lynn Stewart, and Archie Sutton on their way to a 17–7 victory over the Huskies, led by Junior Coffey.The game was scoreless until the second quarter; Washington scored first, following an Illinois fumble at its own 27-yard line. Backup quarterback, Bill Siler, kept it for three yards, then passed it to Joe Mancuso for 18 yards to the Illini 6. Siler then faked a pass and pitched to halfback Dave Kopay, who scored behind the block of halfback Ron Medved, with 8:26 left in the first half. The Illini got on the scoreboard with Jim Plankenhorn's field goal in the waning seconds of the second quarter and Washington led 7–3 at halftime.

In the third quarter, Illinois took control as Jim Warren scored the "go-ahead" touchdown on a two-yard run. Sophomore Grabowski rushed for 125 yards, scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter, and was named the game's Most Valuable Player. Butkus played both ways in this contest, both at center and linebacker. He recovered a fumble, and had an interception (in addition to leading a defense that held Washington to only 59 yards rushing and 71 yards passing for the game).

1965 Chicago Bears season

The 1965 Chicago Bears season was their 46th regular season completed in the National Football League. The club posted a 9–5 record, earning them a third-place finish in the NFL Western Conference. The club improved over the dismal 5–9 record of the previous season.

They started the season 0–3, but thanks to rookies Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus, the team won 9 of the last 11 games. Sayers had a magnificent rookie season, and in one game against the San Francisco 49ers at Chicago's Wrigley Field on December 12, he scored six touchdowns in a 61–20 Bears win, the first time the Bears scored 61 points in a regular season game. Sayers would set an NFL rookie record with 22 touchdowns in one season. The six-touchdown performance tied an NFL record and set a new Bears record.The 1965 Bears draft class was named No. 8 on NFL Top 10 draft classes.

1969 Chicago Bears season

The 1969 Chicago Bears season was their 50th regular season completed in the National Football League. The club posted a 1–13 record, the worst in franchise history. This occurred despite the exploits of Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers. Sayers had torn the ligaments in his right knee during the 1968 season. After surgery, Sayers went through a physical rehabilitation program with the help of teammate Brian Piccolo. In 1969 Sayers led the league in rushing once again with 1,032 yards, but he lacked the speed he once had and averaged only 4.4 yards per carry. An already poor season was made even worse when running back Piccolo was diagnosed with cancer in November. He would succumb to the disease in June of the following year.

Archie Sutton

Archie Michael Sutton (November 2, 1941 – August 29, 2015) was a professional American football player who played offensive tackle for three seasons for the Minnesota Vikings.Sutton found early fame as a tackle playing for the Illini alongside center, Dick Butkus; offensive guard, L.D. Stewart; and running back, Jim Grabowski. This powerhouse team defeated UCLA, Michigan, and (No. 4) Michigan State during the regular season. The Fighting Illini squad then topped Washington 17–7 in the 1964 Rose Bowl. He died in 2015.

Blue Thunder (TV series)

Blue Thunder is an American drama series based on the movie of the same title that aired on ABC from January 6 until April 16, 1984 featuring the Blue Thunder helicopter.The series uses the converted Aérospatiale Gazelle helicopter and large portions of stock footage from the 1983 film. A ground unit named "Rolling Thunder" backed up the helicopter in the television series. This was a large support van with a desert camouflage off-road vehicle stored inside.

The television series cast includes James Farentino, Dana Carvey, and former professional American football players Bubba Smith and Dick Butkus. The series was canceled by ABC after they felt the similar Airwolf on CBS would win the ratings battle. Also, the series aired at the same time as the CBS soap opera Dallas on Friday nights, and lost.

Eleven episodes were made before the series was cancelled.

Bryan Schwartz

Bryan Schwartz (born December 5, 1971 in St. Lawrence, South Dakota) is a former American football linebacker in the National Football League. He was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second round of the 1995 NFL Draft. He played college football at Augustana College. During his Senior season, Schwartz was the first Division II player nominated for the Dick Butkus Award, which goes to the nations best college linebacker.

In 2002, Schwartz and his wife appeared on an episode of Trading Spaces. Designer Hildi Santo Tomàs covered their wall with over 4,000 wine labels. The Schwartzes—who say they told producers that they don't allow alcohol in their home—were not impressed. They wound up taking one month and $5,000 of their own money to undo Santo Tomás's vision.Schwartz currently resides in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fl with his wife and seven children.

Butkus Award

The Butkus Award, instituted in 1985 by the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando, is given annually to the top linebackers at the high school, collegiate and professional levels of football. The award, named in honor of College Football Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker, Dick Butkus, is presented by the Butkus Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports a number of health and wellness activities including the "I Play Clean" anti-steroid program. The award was first established by the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando, which relinquished control of the award in 2008 following a lawsuit by Butkus.Traditionally, the award was given only to the top collegiate linebacker. The Butkus Award was expanded in 2008 to include high school and professional winners as part of a makeover by the Butkus family to help end anabolic steroid abuse among young athletes. Two players have won both the high school and collegiate Butkus Awards: Notre Dame linebackers Manti Te'o (2008, 2012) and Jaylon Smith (2012, 2015).

Chicago Vocational High School

Chicago Vocational High School (commonly known as CVCA, Chicago Vocational Career Academy or CVS) is a public 4–year vocational high school located in the Avalon Park neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, Illinois, United States. Operated by Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Vocational High School opened in 1941. The school was barely opened when the outbreak of World War II caused a change in plan. The school would be a vocational school, but one under the control of the United States Navy, where many mechanics who would build and repair aircraft, among others, were trained. After the war, the school was instrumental in helping returning veterans who went off to war prior to graduation to earn their diploma. The school is also closely associated with a few of its notable alumni, particularly Dick Butkus.

Johnny Dangerously

Johnny Dangerously is a 1984 American parody of 1930s crime/gangster movies. It was directed by Amy Heckerling; its four screenwriters included Bernie Kukoff and Jeff Harris.

The film stars Michael Keaton as an honest, goodhearted man who is forced to turn to a life of crime to finance his mother's skyrocketing medical bills and to put his younger brother through law school. It also features Joe Piscopo, Marilu Henner, Maureen Stapleton, Peter Boyle, Griffin Dunne, Dom DeLuise, Danny DeVito, Dick Butkus and Alan Hale, Jr.

List of Chicago Bears broadcasters

Currently, WBBM NewsRadio 780 airs the Chicago Bears football games with Jeff Joniak doing the play-by-play, along with color commentator Tom Thayer and sideline reporter Zach Zaidman. Over the years, many Bears play-by-play broadcasters have included Jack Brickhouse and Wayne Larrivee. Their current preseason TV announcers on Fox Chicago are Adam Amin or Kyle Brandt (play-by-play), Jim Miller (color commentary) and Lou Canellis (sideline reporter).

My Two Dads

My Two Dads is an American sitcom that was produced by Michael Jacobs Productions in association with Tri-Star Television (later Columbia Pictures Television) and distributed by TeleVentures. It starred Paul Reiser, Greg Evigan, and Staci Keanan. The series premiered on NBC on September 20, 1987, airing three seasons through April 30, 1990.

National Football League 1970s All-Decade Team

This is a list of all National Football League (NFL) players who had outstanding performances throughout the 1970s and have been compiled onto this fantasy group. The team was selected by voters of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The squad consists of first- and second-team offensive, defensive and special teams units, as well as a first- and second-team head coaches.

Punter Ray Guy was the leading vote-getter for the 1970s All-Decade Team, receiving 24 of a possible 25 votes. O.J. Simpson and Lynn Swann were next with 22 and 21 votes, respectively. Linebacker Jack Ham and Tight end Dave Casper each received 20 votes. Next were Defensive end Jack Youngblood and Joe Greene who each had 18 votes.

Holdovers from the National Football League 1960s All-Decade Team were Bob Lilly, Dick Butkus, Merlin Olsen, Larry Wilson, Jim Bakken, and Willie Brown.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1980 film)

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a 1980 television film on NBC filmed in Utah, loosely based on Washington Irving's short story. It starred Jeff Goldblum as Ichabod Crane, Meg Foster as Katrina von Tassel, and Dick Butkus as Brom Bones. The film is also known as La leggenda di Sleepy Hollow in Italy. It was directed by Henning Schellerup. Executive producer Charles Sellier was nominated for an Emmy Award for his work on the movie..

In a departure from the original story, the film ends with Ichabod arriving at Katrina's house and the Headless Horseman returning to the dark forest. It also introduces an original character, widow Thelma Dumkey; while Brom Bones and Ichabod Crane are rivals for Katrina, Thelma is Katrina's rival for Brom Bones. Thelma and Brom become engaged at the end of the film.

Tony Steward (American football)

Tony Steward (born September 19, 1992) is an American football linebacker who is a free agent in the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He played college football at Clemson. Steward was considered one of the best linebacker prospects in his class, and earned the 2010 high school version of the Dick Butkus Award.

Dick Butkus—awards and honors
Current
Former

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