Isiah Robertson

Isiah "Butch" Robertson (August 17, 1949 – December 6, 2018)[1] was a professional American football player who played linebacker for the Los Angeles Rams (1971–1978) and the Buffalo Bills (1979–1982). He was selected to six Pro Bowls during his years with the Rams. He picked off 25 passes in his career, returning three for touchdowns, scoring a fourth touchdown on a fumble recovery in 1978. According to Rams and Bills records, Robertson also sacked the quarterback 24½ times and forced 16 fumbles in his career.

Robertson combined size, strength, quickness, speed, toughness, and a knack for making the game-breaking play. The 6'3" star was one of the NFL's fastest linebackers of his era, having been timed at 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

Isiah Robertson
refer to caption
Butch Robertson as he appeared on his 1972 Topps football card
No. 58
Position:Linebacker
Personal information
Born:August 17, 1949
New Orleans, Louisiana
Died:December 6, 2018 (aged 69)
near Dallas, Texas
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:225 lb (102 kg)
Career information
High school:Covington (LA) Pine View
College:Southern
NFL Draft:1971 / Round: 1 / Pick: 10
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Interceptions:25
Touchdowns:3
Player stats at NFL.com

College career

Isiah Robertson was a middle-linebacker at Southern University, located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he anchored a defense alongside future National Football League great and Hall of Fame member, cornerback Mel Blount.[2]

In 1970, his senior year at Southern, Robertson made 112 tackles and had 45 assists. The season was highlighted by a record-setting 102 yard interception return for a game-winning touchdown against Grambling State University in the game's waning seconds and a 15 tackle game against Prairie View in which he preserved a tie with a blocked extra point attempt.[3]

Robertson was a star of the Senior Bowl which followed the 1970 season, intercepting a pass and returning it 90 yards for the South before being run down from behind by the speedy Northern wide out J. D. Hill.[4] He was chosen to The Sporting News and TIME 1970 All-American team, as well as being named to the AP and UPI small college All-American Teams.[5]

Robertson concluded his collegiate career by receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in business marketing.

NFL career

1971 draft

Robertson was a first-round draft choice of the Los Angeles Rams in 1971, the 10th player chosen overall.[6] Robertson was the first linebacker and second defensive player taken in the '71 draft, a lottery which featured the selection of quarterbacks Jim Plunkett, Archie Manning, and Dan Pastorini with the first three picks.[6]

The Rams had earlier acquired the draft pick used to select Robertson, touted as "the black Dick Butkus," as part of a multi-player deal made with the Washington Redskins.[7] The team later used its own first round pick to select University of Florida defensive lineman Jack Youngblood,[8] a player eventually elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Los Angeles Rams

Robertson got off to a lackluster start in his debut season, 1971, earning reproach in the press from Rams linebackers' coach Tom Caitlin for having "wasted six weeks of his summer" — three weeks in college all-star camp and three weeks with the Rams putting out only partial effort.[9] He subsequently took heed and increased his intensity, winning accolades from star teammate Deacon Jones, who called the rookie "the best No. 1 choice I've seen since I've been with the Rams."[9]

Robertson explained his slow start:

"I was given some wrong information. Someone told me that pro football would be a lot of fun. But pro football is a business, not a game. I wasn't putting out 110% and now I'm making the adjustment.... It requires so much more dedication, hard work, and study. In college, you go to class and then practice. Here, it's just practice — it's football all the time."[9]

In his rookie year, Robertson established himself as one of the NFL's new stars, replacing the departed Jack Pardee as the Rams' starting strongside linebacker. He was voted AP Defensive Rookie of the Year,[10] and finished third in overall Rookie of the Year voting, with Packer running back John Brockington winning the award.[11] Robertson was also selected Second-team All-NFL and chosen to the Pro Bowl, played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Rams posted an 8-5-1 record but missed the playoffs by half a game.

In 1973 Robertson was voted First-team All-Pro. It was one of the best seasons of his brilliant career. He intercepted 3 passes that season and returned one interception 49 yards for a touchdown against the New York Giants on Monday Night Football. It was the first touchdown of his professional career. Isiah Robertson was considered by many as the best linebacker in the NFL. The Rams finished with a great 12-2 record and won the Western division.

In 1974, Robertson had an excellent season making All-Pro once again and named to his third Pro Bowl. The Rams posted a 10-4 record and won the Western division title again. In the playoffs, the Rams played the Washington Redskins. In the 4th quarter, with the Rams leading the Redskins only 13-10, Isiah intercepted quarterback Sonny Jurgensen's pass and ran 59 yards for a touchdown that sealed a 19-10 victory for the Rams.

In 1975 was voted All-Pro and made the Pro Bowl for the fourth time. He intercepted 4 passes for 118 yards and 1 touchdown. On Monday Night Football, against the Philadelphia Eagles, Robertson intercepted a pass and ran 76 yards for a touchdown showcasing his great speed. The Rams beat the Eagles 42-3. In 1975 the Rams finished with a 12-2 record and won their division. In the playoffs, the Rams defeated the explosive St. Louis Cardinals 35-23. The Los Angeles Rams would face the Dallas Cowboys in the 1975 NFC Championship game.

Butch Robertson was a First-team All-Pro in 1976 and a Second-team choice in 1977, making the Pro Bowl both seasons.

In 1978, his last year with the Rams, he was credited with 40 tackles, 4 sacks, and 2 fumble recoveries. Robertson returned a fumble 16 yards for a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings in a Rams 34- 17 victory. He only started 6 of the 13 games he played in, losing his starting job to Bob Brudzinski. Robertson may be best known for a play in the 1978 season, when, while attempting to tackle then-rookie Houston Oilers running back (and NFL Hall Of Famer) Earl Campbell, Robertson was head-butted in the sternum and run over by Campbell on his way down the field against the Rams. The play is often shown as a part of NFL Films highlights; especially those concerning Campbell.

Buffalo Bills

After the season, the Rams traded Robertson to the Buffalo Bills. After he was traded Robertson signed a 4-year $920,000 contract making him among the highest paid NFL linebackers, averaging $230,000 a season. In 1979, in his first year as a member of the Bills, Isiah brought his 8 years experience and football savvy to the young Bills linebacking corps, which included standout rookie Jim Haslett. He had another outstanding year. Isiah registered 93 tackles, a quarterback sack, recovered 2 fumbles, and had 2 interceptions. In a game against the Cincinnati Bengals, he intercepted a pass and ran 23 yards for a touchdown. It was the last touchdown of his career.

In 1980, Robertson had 76 tackles as part of an 11-5 record season for the Bills, in which won the Eastern division. The team then lost 20-14 in the playoffs to the San Diego Chargers.

In 1981, Robertson had 48 tackles and 23 assists for a total of 71 tackles. The Buffalo Bills posted a 10-6 record and were a wild card team in the playoffs. They defeated the New York Jets 31-27 in the playoffs and then lost to the Cincinnati Bengals in another playoff game. Robertson would play one more year, 1982, and he started all nine games as recorded 34 tackles.

Robertson retired from the NFL on May 2, 1983.[12]

Death and legacy

Robertson died in a three car crash southeast of Dallas, Texas on December 6, 2018, when he lost control of a limousine he was driving and spun out while navigating a curve.[13] Robertson's limo, which came to a rest perpendicular to the road along which he had been traveling, was then t-boned by a car from behind, pushing him into the opposite lane of traffic, where he was hit by a car traveling in the other direction.[13] Robertson was transported to a nearby hospital, where he subsequently died.[13] Police reports indicate that Robertson had been driving the limousine at an excessive rate of speed when he lost control.[13]

Isiah Robertson was 69 years old at the time of his death.

The Professional Football Researchers Association named Robertson to the PFRA Hall of Very Good Class of 2016 [14] He was voted to the Pro Bowl in 1971 and then in every year from 1973 to 1977, cementing his place as one of the NFL's premiere linebackers of the 1970s.[15]

Footnotes

  1. ^ Isiah Robertson, former Rams All-Pro, dies in car crash
  2. ^ "A&M Set for Southern," Tallahassee Democrat, November 14, 1969, pg. 14.
  3. ^ Chuck Siler, "Southern, Prairie View, Battle to 13-13 Tie," Pittsburgh Courier, October 6, 1970, pg. 14.
  4. ^ Associated Press, "Hill's Dash Fuel's North Romp, 31-13," Des Moines Register, January 10, 1971, pg. 4S.
  5. ^ Herschel Nissensen, "Burns Tops AP Little All America," Wausau Daily Herald, December 9, 1970, pg. 49.
  6. ^ a b United Press International, Plunkett to Patriots; Chicago Gets Joe Moore," Logansport [IN] Press, January 28, 1971, pg. 1.
  7. ^ Stacy Briggs and Paul Giordano, "QBs Drafted 1-2-3; Eagles Pick Defensive Tackle," Bucks [PA] Courier-Times, January 28, 1971, pg. 2.
  8. ^ Associated Press, "Pats Pick Passer Plunkett," Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, January 29, 1971, pg. D1.
  9. ^ a b c Mal Florence, "From Stranger to Starter: Robertson Flunked Rams' 'School' but Made Grade," Los Angeles Times, October 14, 1971, part 3, pp. 1, 6.
  10. ^ Associate Press, "Isiah Robertson is Named Top AP Rookie," San Mateo Times, January 5, 1972, pg. 34.
  11. ^ United Press International, "Brockington is Rookie of the Year," Santa Rosa Press Democrat, December 30, 1971, pg. 8.
  12. ^ Associated Press, "Isiah Robertson Retires," [Tucson] Arizona Daily Star, May 3, 1983, pg. E2.
  13. ^ a b c d Mike DiGiovanna, "Former Rams Great Killed in Car Crash," Los Angeles Times, vol. 138, no. 6 (December 9, 2018), pg. B7.
  14. ^ "PFRA Hall of Very Good Class of 2016". Retrieved December 9, 2016.
  15. ^ Associated Press, "Bills' Robertson Retires," Longview [TX] News-Journal, May 3, 1983, pg. 2-B.
1971 All-Pro Team

The following is a list of players that were named to the Associated Press All-Pro Team, the Newspaper Enterprise Association All-Pro team and the Pro Football Writers Association, and Pro Football Weekly All-Pro teams in 1971. Both first- and second- teams are listed for the NEA, and PFWA teams. These are the four All-Pro teams that are included in the Total Football II: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League and compose the Consensus All-pro team for 1971.

1971 Los Angeles Rams season

The 1971 Los Angeles Rams season was the team's 34th year with the National Football League and the 26th season in Los Angeles. The team looked to improve on its 9-4-1 record from 1970. The Rams would finish one game below their goal, as they finished 8-5-1 and finished 2nd in the NFC West behind the San Francisco 49ers. The Rams would start out strong, as they started 4-1-1 in their first 6 games before splitting their final 8 games. Despite sweeping the 49ers on the season (the 49ers would win the NFC West at 9-5), a crucial tie against the Atlanta Falcons in week 2 proved to doom the Rams, because had they beaten Atlanta, they would've clinched the NFC West by virtue of their sweep over the 49ers.

1973 All-Pro Team

The following is a list of players that were named to the Associated Press All-Pro Team, the Newspaper Enterprise Association All-Pro team and the Pro Football Writers Association, and Pro Football Weekly All-Pro teams in 1973. Both first- and second- teams are listed for the AP, NEA, and PFWA teams. These are the four All-Pro teams that are included in the Total Football II: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League and compose the Consensus All-pro team for 1973.

1973 Los Angeles Rams season

The 1973 Los Angeles Rams season was the team's 36th year with the National Football League and the 28th season in Los Angeles. The Rams were 7–0 at home for the first time since 1945. On the road, the Rams were 5–2.

The Rams donned new uniforms, which remained in use until 1994, their final season in Los Angeles, and though they moved to St. Louis in 1995, the uniform tradition continued until 1999, where they won Super Bowl XXXIV, and will wear them for Super Bowl LIII. The uniforms would return for their home games in 2018 and 2019

The Rams finished the season with a brilliant 12-2 record and won the NFC West and appeared in the playoffs for the first time in the post-merger era. However, in their first post-merger playoff game, they lost to the Dallas Cowboys 27-16. This would be the first of 8 straight division titles for the Rams, spanning from 1973-1979.

1974 All-Pro Team

The following is a list of players that were named to the Associated Press All-Pro Team, the Newspaper Enterprise Association All-Pro team and the Pro Football Writers Association, and Pro Football Weekly All-Pro teams in 1974. Both first- and second- teams are listed for the AP, NEA, and PFWA teams. These are the four All-Pro teams that are included in the Total Football II: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League and compose the Consensus All-pro team for 1974.

1974 Los Angeles Rams season

The 1974 Los Angeles Rams season was the team's 37th year with the National Football League and the 29th season in Los Angeles. The Rams looked to improve on its 12-2 season from 1973 and win the NFC West for the 2nd straight season. While not improving on their record, they did win their division for the 2nd straight season with a 10-4 record, which was good enough for the 2nd best record in the NFC. In the playoffs, Los Angeles defeated the Washington Redskins in a rematch of week 13's game, which Washington won 23-17, which turned out to be the Rams only loss at home during the entire season. They won this game 19-10 to advance to the NFC Championship Game for the first time ever. However, they lost to the Minnesota Vikings 14-10 to end their season.

1975 All-Pro Team

The following is a list of players that were named to the Associated Press All-Pro Team, the Newspaper Enterprise Association All-Pro team and the Pro Football Writers Association, and Pro Football Weekly All-Pro teams in 1975. Both first- and second- teams are listed for the AP, NEA, and PFWA teams. These are the four All-Pro teams that are included in the Total Football II: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League and compose the Consensus All-pro team for 1975.

1975 Los Angeles Rams season

The 1975 Los Angeles Rams season was the team's 38th year with the National Football League and the 30th season in Los Angeles.

In 2007, ESPN.com ranked the 1975 Rams as the tenth-greatest defense in NFL history. Said ESPN.com, "Fred Dryer. Jack Youngblood. Merlin Olson. Get the idea? They weren't the "Fearsome Foursome," but with those guys anchoring the defensive line, and All-Pros Isiah Robertson (linebacker) and Dave Elmendorf (safety), the Rams were almost impossible to score against. The Rams went 12–2, holding opponents to just 9.6 points a game, (the second-lowest average in NFL history) and ending the season with a six-game winning streak during which they gave up just 32 points. The defense wasn't as impressive in the postseason, surrendering 23 points in a first-round 35–23 victory over the offensive powerhouse Cardinals before losing 37–7 to the Cowboys in the NFC title game."

1976 All-Pro Team

The following is a list of players that were named to the Associated Press All-Pro Team, the Newspaper Enterprise Association All-Pro team and the Pro Football Writers Association, and Pro Football Weekly All-Pro teams in 1976. Both first- and second- teams are listed for the AP, NEA, and PFWA teams. These are the four All-Pro teams that are included in the Total Football II: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League and compose the Consensus All-pro team for 1976.

1976 Los Angeles Rams season

The 1976 Los Angeles Rams season was the team's 39th year with the National Football League and the 31st season in Los Angeles. The Rams continued their dominance of the NFC West, winning their 4th straight division title as well as their 4th straight playoff berth. After a record setting 1975 season in which their defense was nearly untouchable, the Rams were picked by many to win the Super Bowl. Despite not improving on its 12-2 record from 1975, the team continued to be one of the best in the NFL. This Rams team is quite notable for setting many records during the season. One good notable record was breaking the franchise record for points scored in a game with 59 in a 59-0 devouring of the Atlanta Falcons. The Rams would ultimately have another year of success, finishing 10-3-1. In the playoffs, they would beat Dallas 14-12 in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. However, the Rams would lose the NFC Championship game to the Minnesota Vikings 24-13.

1976 Pro Bowl

The 1976 Pro Bowl was the NFL's 26th annual all-star game which featured the outstanding performers from the 1975 season. The game was played on Monday, January 26, 1976, at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana in front of a crowd of 32,108. The final score was NFC 23, AFC 20. It was also the first Pro Bowl game played indoors.

The game featured the best players in the National Football League as selected by the league's coaches. John Madden of the Oakland Raiders led the AFC team against an NFC team led by Los Angeles Rams head coach Chuck Knox.The AFC's Billy "White Shoes" Johnson was named the game's MVP on the strength of a 90-yard punt return touchdown and a second punt return of 55 yards that set up a field goal. The referee was Fred Silva.Players on the winning NFC team received $2,000 apiece while the AFC participants each took home $1,500.

1977 All-Pro Team

The following is a list of players that were named to the Associated Press All-Pro Team, the Newspaper Enterprise Association All-Pro team and the Pro Football Writers Association, and Pro Football Weekly All-Pro teams in 1977. Both first- and second- teams are listed for the AP and NEA teams. These are the four All-Pro teams that are included in the Total Football II: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League and compose the Consensus All-pro team for 1977.

1978 Los Angeles Rams season

The 1978 Los Angeles Rams season was the team's 41st year with the National Football League and the 33rd season in Los Angeles.

The Rams won their sixth-straight division title and appeared in the NFC Championship game, only to get shutout by the Dallas Cowboys 0–28.

1982 Buffalo Bills season

The 1982 Buffalo Bills season was the franchise's 13th season in the National Football League, and the 23rd overall. Due to the 1982 NFL strike, the season was shortened to only nine games; the Bills' 4–5 record left them in the 9th spot in the AFC, therefore eliminating the Bills from the playoffs in the 16-team tournament format.

The Bills led the league in rushing in 1982, with 1,371 yards (152.3 per game) on the ground.

Associated Press NFL Rookie of the Year Award

The Associated Press NFL Rookie of the Year Award is an annual award given to the top offensive and defensive first-year players in the National Football League (NFL) as adjudged by the Associated Press (AP). Winners are selected by a nationwide panel of 50 members of the AP who regularly cover the league. The AP has chosen an offensive rookie of the year since 1957 and a defensive rookie of the year since 1967.

Ballots are cast at the end of the regular season, before the playoffs. Since 2011, winners of the AP Rookie of the Year awards are announced at the NFL Honors presentation the night before the Super Bowl along with the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year Award and other AP awards. While several organizations recognize their own NFL Rookie of the Year, the NFL considers the award given by the AP to be its official honor, with the winners listed in the league's annual Record and Fact Book. Running back Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants and linebacker Darius Leonard of the Indianapolis Colts were named AP Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year, respectively for the 2018 season.

Bob Brudzinski

Robert Louis Brudzinski (born January 1, 1955) is a former American football linebacker who played 13 seasons in the National Football League (NFL).

Jim Youngblood

Jimmy Lee Youngblood (born February 23, 1950) is a former American football linebacker in the National Football League (NFL) for the Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins. He played college football at Tennessee Tech and was drafted in the second round of the 1973 NFL Draft.

Los Angeles Rams awards

This page details awards won by the Los Angeles Rams American football team. The Rams were formerly based in St. Louis (1995–2015) and Cleveland (1936–1942, 1944–1945), as well as Los Angeles (1946–1994, 2016–present).

Southern Jaguars football

The Southern Jaguars are the National football team representing the Southern University. The Jaguars play in NCAA Division I Football Championship as a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. The Jaguars started collegiate football in 1916, and played in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference before joining the SWAC in 1934.

Every year, they play their last regular season game against Grambling in the Bayou Classic in New Orleans, Louisiana in late November.

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