His name alone was enough to cause grown men to cringe.
He was called many things by journalists over the years... " The Enforcer"... "The Maestro of Mayhem"... "The Robot of Destruction"... "The Animal”... and none of those... or even ALL of those together... did him justice.
Here’s what his bio on the Chicago Bears In The Hall website says about him: “From 1965 through 1973, the Chicago Bears' Dick Butkus wreaked unprecedented havoc on the offensive units of all other National Football League teams. Possessed with a desire to excel that few others have ever known, the 6-3, 245-pound middle linebacker played with only one goal in mind-that was, simply, to be the best.”
In his own words: "I want to be recognized as the best-no doubt about it. When they say all-pro middle linebacker, I want them to mean Butkus!"
Butkus was a terror to behold on the field, playing ferociously hard but clean (for that day and time) football. I regret to say I was overseas for his entire career and never got to see him play in person, but I would listen to games on the radio and I have seen the old films... the man was simply the best.
Chicago has a long tradition of excellence in it’s linebacking corps, including players like Bill George, 1952-65, the man who basically invented the position of middle linebacker; Brian Urlacher, 2000-2012, who’s power, speed and coverage ability basically reinvented the position; Mike Singletary, 1981-92, the heart and soul of the greatest defense to ever take the field; Lance Briggs, 2003-2014; Joe Fortunato, 1955-66; honestly I could go on and on. Most teams would be lucky to have ONE of these guys in their history.
I’m not going to say that Butkus is the best of the bunch (although it’s hard to imagine anybody better) but since the topic today is my FAVORITE linebacker, I can answer this for sure.
Butkus it is.
I have many other favorites, some of them are guys who were not nearly as heralded as those listed above. I always liked to watch Ron Rivera play, and of course Wilber Marshall was amazing.
That’s my take on it.
Now, it’s your turn. Who is your favorite Chicago Bears linebacker of all time? Spill the beans!