1960s1970sBaltimore ColtsChicago BearsDallas CowboysDenver BroncosDetroit LionsDick ButkusDocumentariesESPNFootballFrank GiffordGale SayersHarry KalasHighlightsHouston OilersIllinois Fighting IlliniInterviewsJohnny UnitasLegendsLos Angeles RamsMinnesota VikingsNCAAFNew York GiantsNFLNFL FilmsNFL Hall of FamePat SummerallPhiladelphia EaglesPittsburgh SteelersRose Bowl ClassicSan Diego ChargersSan Francisco 49'ersSteve SabolTerry Bradshaw

NCAAF & NFL – Fightin’ Illini / Chicago Bears – Dick Butkus – L E’s Stories Special – “The Monster Of The Midway Was A Rare Kind Of Football Animal With A Huge Roar On The Gridiron” – The Story Of Chicago Bears Legendary LB Dick Butkus

Today’s story is a tribute to one of the fiercest and most feared linebackers to ever play in the NFL….for this was a man who came to every game he played with an “intense attitude” to not only destroy his opposition…..and especially the quarterbacks, ball carriers and receivers on the other team…..as he didn’t just want to tackle them….but rather to destroy and/or dismember the opposing ball carrier…..as his real intent was to put them out of the game and on the sidelines.  Dick Butkus was known as the “Monster of the Midway”…..who played with a passion that was unmatched on virtually any gridiron that he played….as he simply put, went “balls to the wall” on every play that he participated in…..for he was always in “destruction mode”.  It is truly rare when we here at ImaSportsphile have the opportunity to showcase such an “attitude on the field of play” like the one displayed by Dick Butkus in the videos seen here in this tribute…..and for that reason alone, we are priviledged to present our tribute to the Monster of the Midway, Chicago Bear LB Dick Butkus.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      


NFL – 1965 To 1974 – Special – “A Football Life – The Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus Story”


Richard Marvin Butkus (born December 9, 1942) is an American former professional football player, sports commentator and actor…..who played football as a linebacker for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL) from 1965 to 1973…..when throughout those nine seasons he was invited to eight Pro Bowls….named a 1st-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….Dick Butkus is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most intimidating linebackers in pro football history.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        


NFL – 1965 To 1974 – Special Highlights – “Dick Butkus: Hard Nosed Old School Football”                                                          

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Butkus played his entire football career in his home state…..which began at Chicago Vocational High School…..then as a college football player at the University of Illinois…..where he was a linebacker and center for the Fighting Illini….who as a two-time consensus All-American….. while leading the Illini to a Rose Bowl victory over the Washington Huskies in 1964…..and was selected as the most valuable player in the Big Ten Conference for the 1963 season…..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.



NFL & NCAA – 1942 To Present – Special Documentary – “The Life and Legend Of Dick Butkus”


Butkus was drafted by the Bears as the 3rd overall pick in the 1965 NFL Draft……who 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), and was responsible for causing many more fumbles with his jarring tackles.  His tackling ability earned him both admiration and trepidation from opposing players…..and 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.”  In 2009, the NFL Network named Butkus the most feared tackler of all time.



NFL – 1965 To 1974 – NFL Films Special Highlights – Dick 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.”  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 still today an active philanthropist through the Butkus Foundation…..which manages various charitable causes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                              


NFL – 1965 To 1974 – ESPN Documentary – SportsCentury Special – Dick Butkus


Richard Marvin Butkus was born in Chicago, Illinois…..as the youngest of eight children…..and the 1st to be born in a hospital….cuz he was a large baby….while weighing 13 pounds 6 ounces (6.1 kg) at birth.  His father John, a Lithuanian immigrant to Ellis Island…..who spoke broken English….and was an electrician that worked for the Pullman-Standard railroad car manufacturing company…..while his mother, Emma, worked 50 hours a week at a laundry.  Butkus grew up in the Roseland neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side…..who was a fan of the NFL’s Chicago Cardinals….as he attended their games at Comiskey Park….,usually while sneaking into the stadium.  His older brother Ron played football for three colleges….and tried out for the Cardinals before quitting due to a bad knee.  For four years starting at age 15, Butkus worked with his four brothers as a furniture and household goods mover.



NFL – 1965 To 1974 – NFL Films Special – Chicago Bears Dick Butkus: “The Monster of the Midway”


Butkus played high school football as a fullback, linebacker, punter, and placekicker for coach Bernie O’Brien at Chicago Vocational High School…. where he averaged five yards per carry as a fullback….but preferred playing linebacker…..where he made 70% of his team’s tackles.  In Butkus’ 1st year on the varsity team, Chicago Vocational surrendered only 55 points in eight games.  In 1959, he was the 1st junior to be honored by the Chicago Sun-Times as Chicago’s high school player of the year…..however, injuries limited his play as a senior…..but he was still heavily recruited by colleges to play football.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


NCAAF – 2017 – University of Illinois Special – Induction Speech Of Dick Butkus At His Into The Illinois University Athletics Hall of Fame                                                                                                                                         


NCAAF – 1963 – Big 10 Film Vault Highlights – 1963 Yearbook – Illinois Fighting Illini Vs Michigan State Spartans – Featuring Illinois C/LB Dick Butkus


Butkus chose to attend the University of Illinois…..while playing center and linebacker from 1962 through 1964 for the Illinois Fighting Illini football team…..when during his 1st year on the varsity team, he was named to the 1962 All-Big Ten Conference football team…..as the 3rd-team center by the Associated Press (AP)…..and the 2nd-team center by United Press International (UPI).  In 1963, Illinois compiled an 8–1–1 record and defeated Washington in the 1964 Rose Bowl…..as 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.  He was a unanimous choice as a center for the 1963 College Football All-America Team, earning 1st-team honors from all seven major selectors.



NCAAF – 1964 – The Rose Bowl Game Highlights – University of Washington Vs University of Illinois – Featuring Illinois C/LB Dick Butkus


NCAAF – 2917 – Special Interview – Dick Butkus Remembers The 1964 Rose Bowl – Washington Huskies Vs Illinois Fighting Illini


As a senior in 1964, Butkus was named the team’s co-captain along with safety George Donnelly…..when the UPI declared Butkus as college football’s Lineman of the Year for 1964…..and he was named the player of the year by the American Football Coaches Association and The Sporting News.  For the 2nd 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.”  Butkus also finished 6th in Heisman Trophy balloting in 1963 and 3rd in 1964…which were rare results both for a lineman and a defensive player.  According to statistics kept by the university, he completed his college career with 374 tackles:  with 97 in 1962, 145 in 1963 and 132 in 1964.



NCAAF – 1963 – Big 10 Film Vault Highlights – Illinois Vs Purdue – Featuring C/LB Dick Butkus Opening Gaping Holes For FB Jim Grabowski                                                                                                                                            


NCAAF & NFL – 1942 To 1974 – Fanatics Special Interview With Dick Butkus – On Growing Up On South Side of Chicago, Bears Fans And The Amazing Gale Sayers


Butkus was drafted 3rd in the 1st round of the 1965 NFL draft by the Chicago Bears….. and also in the 2nd choice of the 1965 AFL draft by the Denver Broncos of the American Football League….when 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.  Although the Bears offered him less money than the Broncos, playing for his hometown team and coach George Halas was more enticing.  His rookie contract was worth $200,000. 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…..as the pick they used for Butkus had been acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers.



NFL – 1965 To 1974 – NFL Films Special – Dick Butkus: “Hardest, Most Brutal Hits” – “He Was Moby Dick In A Goldfish Bowl”


Succeeding Hall of Famer Bill George at middle linebacker, Butkus made an immediate impact as a rookie…..while establishing himself as a ball hawk by intercepting five passes and recovering six opponents’ fumbles….plus he was also credited unofficially with having forced six fumbles.  Against the New York Giants on November 28th, he intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble …..and was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Week by AP for the 1st of four times in his career.  He finished 3rd in balloting for the AP’s Rookie of the Year Award behind Gayle 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.  He was named a 1st Team All-Pro by the AP and was invited to his 1st of 8 straight Pro Bowls.



NFL – 1965 To 1974 – Chicago Bears Highlights Special – Dick Butkus: “Let The Bodies Hit The Floor”


In 1966, Butkus was named the 2nd-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.  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.



NFL – 2011 – Mouthpiece Sports Interview Special – “A Legendary Tale of Dick Butkus with Former Chicago Bears’ Running Back Ronnie Bull”


Butkus scored the 1st 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.  That 38–7 win for the Bears was their only one of the season….when they finished with a 1–13 record….which was the worst in franchise history.  Additionally, Butkus’ five-year contract had reached its end…..when a number of Bears players, including Butkus, expressed interest in being traded or cut by the team…..but he signed a multi-year contract extension prior to the 1970 season to remain in Chicago.  The contract raised his salary from $50,000 per year to around $80,000 to $100,000 per year.



NFL – 1965 To 1974 – NFL Highlights – NFL’s Greatest Hits: Dick Butkus                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

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.  He appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in September 1970 with the caption, “The Most Feared Man in the Game”…… when 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.



NFL – 1965 To 1974 – NFL Hall of Fame Film – Dick Butkus Career Highlights – “Gladiator Mentality” 


Prior to the 1971 season, Butkus underwent preventive surgery on his right knee…..as he had torn ligaments in high school…..but was able to continue playing due to strong muscles compensating for the injury.  In 1971, he recorded 117 tackles and four interceptions….which lead the Bears in both statistics.  He also scored a point in the closing minutes of a game against the Washington Redskins on November 14….when the score was tied at 15 …..and the Bears had lined up to kick an extra point…..as the snap went over the head of holder Bobby Douglass…..who then raced back to retrieve the ball and looked to pass it…..as Butkus, who was playing as a blocking back, ran into the end zone and leapt to receive the pass for the winning score. Butkus later called the play his favorite of his career. Despite the statistical output, for the 1st time since 1966 Butkus was not named to a major All-Pro 1st team…..while instead earning 2nd-team honors from the NEA and Pro Football Writers Association.



NFL – 1965 – NFL Game of the Week Play by Play Replay – Chicago Bears Vs Baltimore Colts – Featuring Bears Rookie Stars RB Gale Sayers & LB Dick Butkus


Butkus sparked controversy in 1972 with the release of Stop-Action, a memoir describing the final week of the 1971 season…..whereas, 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.”  The Lions responded with a 38–24 win over the Bears in Week 3 of 1972.  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.  Bears teammate Gale Sayers later said he did not like the book, feeling Butkus was above such name-calling.  The season as a whole was another productive one for Butkus …..who reclaimed the 1st-team middle linebacker spot on the major All-Pro teams and was invited to his final Pro Bowl.



NFL – 1971 – Special Season Highlights – 1971 Chicago Bears – Featuring LB Dick Butkus – With Narrator Jack Brickhouse


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…..when  Houston tight end Mack Alston accused Butkus of intimidating the officials…..while 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.”  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 aggravated after it gave out in Week 5 against the Atlanta Falcons.  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.”  The injury ultimately forced him to retire in May 1974 at age 31.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              


NFL – 1973 – NFL Game of the Week Highlights – Chicago Bears Vs Houston Oilers – Featuring LB Dick Butkus Touchdown & Interception                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

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….and came with a no-cut, no-trade clause….which 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…..which 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.



NFL – 1969 – NFL Films Presents – The 1969 Chicago Bears Season Highlights – Featuring LB Dick Butkus


Standing 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m) tall and weighing 245 pounds (111 kg), Butkus was an exceptionally large linebacker during his era.  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…..exemplified by the fact that in high school he would push a car up and down a street to strengthen his legs….and in college he developed a routine of running at trees and dodging them to emulate avoiding blockers.  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.



 NFL – 1970 – Week 10 Highlights – Buffalo Bills Vs Chicago Bears – Featuring Bears LB Dick Butkus
In His Defensive Lineman of the Year Campaign                                                                                                                            


NFL – 1970 – Week 1 Highlights – New York Giants Vs Chicago Bears – Led By Bears LB Dick Butkus In His Defensive Lineman of the Year Campaign                                                                                                                           


NFL – 1970 – Week 2 Highlights – Philadelphia Eagles Vs Chicago Bears – Led By Bears LB Dick Butkus In His Defensive Lineman of the Year Campaign                                                                                                                    


NFL – 1970 – Week 5 Highlights – San Diego Chargers Vs Chicago Bears – Led By Bears LB Dick Butkus In His Defensive Lineman of the Year Campaign


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.”  At one point, Butkus gained a reputation as one of the best players on an otherwise bad Bears team in the late 1960’s….for during his tenure, the Bears won 48 games, lost 74, and tied 4.



NFL – 1968 – NFL Films Presents – The 1968 Chicago Bears Season Highlights – Featuring RB Gale Sayers & LB Dick Butkus


Consistently cited as one of football’s meanest, toughest and most feared players…..as Butkus was renowned for his intimidating profile and style of play…..for he was known to snarl at the opposition prior to plays…..and opposing quarterbacks would complain of Butkus biting them in pileups. Lions tight end Charlie Sanders recalled Butkus poking him in the eyes with his fingers through his face mask.  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.  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.”



NFL – 1965 To 1974 – Special Highlights – “The Dick Butkus Horror Show”


He played angry…..while often “manufacturing” things to make him mad….. because he felt it gave him a competitive edge.  After the Bears lost to the Lions in their 1st matchup of 1969, Lions rookie running back Altie Taylor told reporters that Butkus was overrated…..so, 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.                                                                                                                                                                 


NFL – 2013 – Special – “Health Matters with Dr. Larry Santora” – Dick Butkus and Deacon Jones – Part 1   


NFL – 2013 – Special – “Health Matters with Dr. Larry Santora” – Dick Butkus and Deacon Jones – Part 2                                                                                         


NFL – 2013 – Special – “Health Matters with Dr. Larry Santora” – Dick Butkus and Deacon Jones – Part 3


Butkus became most noted for his tackling ability…..and the ferocity with which he tackled opponents…..as he was named the most feared tackler of all time by the NFL Network in 2009.  Once during practice, he hit a metal football sled so hard that he crumpled it and left a piece of it dangling off.  “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.”  Butkus is credited with 1,020 tackles in his NFL career.



NFL – 1966 – Special – The 1966 Chicago Bears Season Highlights – Featuring RB Gale Sayers & LB Dick Butkus – With Host Frank Gifford


Butkus recovered 27 fumbles in his career, an NFL record at the time of his retirement…..for one of his greatest strengths was his ability to rip the ball from a ball carrier’s hands…..and 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.



NFL – 1967 – NFL Films Presents – The 1967 Chicago Bears Season Highlights – Featuring LB Dick Butkus – Narrated by Jack Brickhouse


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


NFL – 1972 – Week 13 Highlights – Chicago Bears Vs Philadelphia Eagles – Featuring Bears LB Dick Butkus Scoring A Point After On Pass From QB Bobby Douglas                                                                                                          


 NFL – 1972 – Week 5 Highlights – Chicago Bears Vs Cleveland Browns – Featuring Bears LB Dick Butkus


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.  His # 50 jersey is one of only two retired by the Illinois Fighting Illini football program….with the other being the # 77 of Red Grange…..plus he was an inaugural inductee into the Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016.  Butkus was named to the Walter Camp Football Foundation’s All-Century Team in 1999….which was compiled to honor the best college players of the 20th century.  In November 2017, Illinois announced it would erect a statue of Butkus on campus to overlook a future football performance center.



NFL – 1965 To 1974 – Chicago Bears Special – “Da Butkus”


Butkus was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979…..which was his 1st year of eligibility.  The Hall’s voters also named him to the NFL’s 1960’s All-Decade Team and 1970’s All-Decade Team…..while deeming him one of the best players of both decades.  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.  In 2004, a sculpture featuring Butkus, Halas, and seven other former Bears greats was unveiled at Soldier Field.



NFL – 2019 – Golic & Wingo Show – Special – Bears Legend Dick Butkus Is Humbled By Making The NFL 100 All-Time Team


Butkus has been repeatedly ranked among the top players in NFL history…. while being named the 9th-best player in NFL history by The Sporting News in 1999….the 10th-best by the NFL Network in its The Top 100: NFL’s Greatest Players series in 2010….and the 8th-best by the New York Daily News in 2014.  In 2017, NFL senior analyst Gil Brandt ranked Butkus as the 3rd greatest linebacker of all time, behind Derrick Thomas and Lawrence Taylor…. which in our opinion here at ImaSportsphile is like “splitting hairs”.  He was also selected the 70th greatest athlete of the 20th century by ESPN.  In 1994, he was named to the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team…..which was  compiled to recognize the best players of the NFL’s first 75 years as adjudged by NFL officials and media personnel.  In 2019, Butkus was named to the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.



NFL – 2015 – Special Tribute & Interview With Big Ten Network Broadcaster Mike Hall and Illinois University Dr. Vijay Thangmani – Dick Butkus: “A Living Legend”


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


NFL – 2011 – Beyond The Game Live Special – Dallas Cowboys FB Claxton Welch Tells A Story About Playing Against The Bears LB Dick Butkus


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.  Butkus sued the Downtown Athletic Club for rights to the award in 2007…..which it relinquished after a yearlong court battle…..and has since been presented by the Butkus Foundation.                                                                                                                                                                                                  


NCAAF – 2017 – CBS Sports Special – Big 10 Icons: Dick Butkus – “The Butkus Award”


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”…..as the dog later starred alongside Stallone in the Rocky film series.



NCAAF – 1964 – Special Highlights – Big 10 Icons – Dick Butkus: “The 1964 Rose Bowl”


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 in 1974….Cry, Onion! in 1975….Mother, Jugs & Speed in 1976…..Gus in 1976….  Superdome in 1978….Cracking Up in 1983…. Johnny Dangerously in 1984…. Hamburger: The Motion Picture in 1986….The Stepford Children in 1987….. Spontaneous Combustion in 1990….Gremlins 2: The New Batch in 1990….. Necessary Roughness in 1991….and Any Given Sunday in 1999….and also as a regular character on TV shows such as Blue Thunder…..My Two Dads….. Vega$….MacGyver….and Hang Time.  He portrayed himself in both the critically acclaimed TV movie Brian’s Song in 1971….. and the 2002 comedy Teddy Bears’ Picnic.  Butkus portrayed Officer Alan Dimsky in Cass Malloy, the 1982 CBS pilot for what later became the syndicated situation comedy She’s the Sheriff…..and has also made cameo appearances in episodes of several television shows.



Movie – 2005 – Movie Clip From “The Longest Yard” – Starring Burt Reynolds + Dick Butkus – “The Ball Breaker” Scene                                                                                                                                                                          


Movie – 1975 – Movie Clip From “Cry, Onion” – Starring Franco Nero + Dick Butkus – “Bar Fight” Scene                                                                


Movie – 1976 – Movie Trailer From “Mother, Jugs and Speed” – Starring Bill Cosby + Raquel Welch + Harvey Keitel + Dick Butkus                                                                                                                                                            


Movie – 1986 – Movie Clip From “Hamburger, The Motion Picture” – Starring Dick Butkus + Leigh McCloskey + Debra Blee                                                                                                                                                                     


Movie – 1976 – Movie Trailer From “Gus, The Kicking Mule” – Starring Ed Asner + Don Knotts + Dick Butkus                                                                                                                                                                                          


Movie – 1983 – Movie Trailer From “Cracking Up” – Starring Jerry Lewis + Milton Berle + Foster Brooks + Sammy Davis Jr + Dick Butkus                                                                                                                                                          


Movie – 1986 – Movie Clip From “Johnny Dangerously” – Starring Michael Keaton + Joe Piscopo + Marilu Henner + Dick Butkus


Butkus endorsed Prestone Antifreeze in a commercial during Super Bowl IV in 1970….while stating the tagline, “Because plugging holes is my business.” The ad marked the 1st highly successful celebrity endorsement in Super Bowl advertising.  Throughout the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Butkus appeared alongside fellow former NFL star (and later Blue Thunder co-star) Bubba Smith in a series of ads for Miller Lite…..which were released to high acclaim. In 1985, he was a pitchman for Echo Tools, a producer of outdoor power equipment.  In the 1990’s, Butkus promoted the “Qwik-Cook Grill”….which was a grill utilizing newspaper as its main fuel.



TV Ad – 1977 – Lite Beer From Miller – With Former Football Hero Dick Butkus & Former Rugby Hero Mike Roberts                                                                                                                                                                                       


TV Ad – 1979 – Lite Beer From Miller – With Former Football Heroes Dick Butkus & Bubba Smith                                                                               


TV Ad – 1984 – Lite Beer From Miller – With Not So Famous Polo Players Dick Butkus & Bubba Smith                                           


TV Ad – 1986 – Famous Bears Dick Butkus & Mike Ditka – For Rust Proofing Paint Shield – “The Protector”                                             


TV Ad – 1987 – Dick Butkus For Aqua Velva Lectric Shave                                                                                                  


TV Ad – 1996 – Visa Card At The Pro Football Hall Of Fame – Featuring HOF Players Terry Bradshaw & Dick Butkus  


TV Ad – 1985 – NFL HOF Dick Butkus For Elias Brothers Restaurants 


Butkus returned to the Bears as a color analyst on radio broadcasts in 1985 …..while teaming with 1st-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…..and 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.  Instead, Butkus served as the league’s director of competition…..and during the 2nd half of the season, as a color commentator for the league’s regional telecasts.



NCAAF – 2019 – Big 10 Network Special – University of Illinois Statue Unveiling Of Dick Butkus Statue – Sound Bites: “Dick Butkus is a National Treasure”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

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.  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.



NFL – 2013 – Yahoo Sports presents “Outside the Game” w/ Angela Sun – Dick Butkus: “Linebacker, Legend And Lifesaver”


Butkus married his high school sweetheart, Helen Essenberg in 1963….while they were students at the University of Illinois.  After his retirement, Butkus and family moved to Florida…. and later to Malibu, California…..as he remains an avid fan and frequent media image for the Bears.  Butkus has three children: Ricky, Matt, and Nikki.  Matt played college football for the USC Trojans as a defensive lineman….who 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 organizations…. and he also coached for the University of Illinois, his alma mater….and as of 2019 is an assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers.  Butkus’s grandson Ian Parish plays volleyball for the UCLA Bruins.



NCAAF – 2017 – Special – Dick Butkus Speaks At Illinois Hall Of Fame Induction Announcement


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.  Still, Butkus maintains that football had a largely positive impact on his life, and that its benefits should not be overlooked.



NFL – 1965 – NFL Play By Play Report – Chicago Bears Vs Minnesota Vikings – Featuring Bears RB Gale Sayers & LB Dick Butkus


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.



NFL – 1971 – Week 2 Game of the Week Highlights – Chicago Bears Vs Minnesota Vikings – Featuring Bears LB Dick Butkus


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.

  • 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.

  • 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                                                                                 


NFL – 1965 To 1974 – Special – “Video Tribute To Dick Butkus”

                                                                                                                                    After watching the videos in this story and tribute to The Monster of the Midway, there can be absolutely no doubt that Bears LB Dick Butkus was absolutely one of the fiercest tackler, most intimidating football players to ever play the game of football….whether it was on the college gridiron or the fields of the NFL…..for any way you cut the pie, Dick Butkus struck fear in the minds of running backs, quarterbacks and receivers who went over the middle….cuz the fact remains still today….that he was one of the most vicious hitters to ever play the game.   However, after viewing the “non-contact” videos in this story…..that is when it becomes obvious that his character and demeanor off the field was very different from the “animal” he became on the gridiron….for away from the game, he was a humble and very thoughtful superstar….and a devoted husband and family man….as is reflected in every interview, speech and “sitdown” with this legendary player.  Dick Butkus was in a league of his own…..and without question the greatest middle linebacker of all time….for the truth be known, no other middle linebacker has ever come close.  Yeah, Lawrence Taylor and Derrick Brooks were the best of the best…..but they were on the outside….which is a “whole different ball game”…..with a “whole different skill set”……but neither one of them could have done what they did as a middle linebacker…. and they just weren’t comparable to Dick Butkus.  We at ImaSportsphile are “flat out honored” to post the story and video library of the one and only “Monster of the Midway” Dick Butkus.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button