Friday, November 7, 2008


6'1" 200
Pittsburgh Steelers
1951 - 1959
9 Seasons
103 Games Played
52 Interceptions
827 Yards
10 Fumble Recoveries
9 Touchdowns
5 Pro Bowls

Jack was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Steelers in 1951. Butler went to college at Saint Bonaventure University in New York. He is the last person to play in the NFL from Saint Bonaventure. In fact, the college dropped their football program after 1951. He played with 2 college teammates on the Steelers, George Hays, a defensive end who scored 1 touchdown, from 1950 - 1952, and Ted Marchibroda. Marchibroda, a Quarterback, is the only NFL first round pick in the schools history. In fact, only 2 other Bonnies were ever drafted by the NFL, neither higher than the seventh round. Marchibroda was drafted in 1953 and was finished playing by 1957. He later became a successful Head Coach for the Baltimore Colts, Indianapolis Colts, then the Baltimore Ravens. George Kenneally is the only Bonnie to play as long in the NFL as Butler. Kenneally was Defensive End,for the Pottstown Maroons, Boston Bulldogs, Chicago Cardinals, and Philadelphia Eagles. The only other Bonnie Alumni to be named an All Pro was Johnny Gildea for the 1938 New York Giants. Butler joined the football team at the request of Bonnie athletic director, Father Dan Rooney, the brother of Steelers owner Art Rooney. He played on the varsity team all fours years in school. He played End on offense, and caught just one pass in his first two seasons. He also played Defensive Back on defense. Butler was named to the 1949 Honorable mention All Western New York College Football Team due to his defensive prowess. In 1950, Jack set a ECAC pass receiving record with 29 catches for 522 yards and 5 TD's. Butler then got a tryout with the Steelers due to the Rooney connection. Jack Butler is a member of the Saint Bonaventure University Hall Of Fame.

He started right away and had 5 interceptions for 142 yards and a touchdown in his rookie year. He followed that up with 7 interceptions for a career high 168 yards. Jack also caught 3 passes for 2 touchdowns. In 1953, he caught 2 passes for 1 touchdown, and had 9 interceptions for 147 yards and an NFL leading 1 touchdown. He also had a career high 3 fumble recoveries. Butler led the NFL in 1954 with 2 touchdowns off of his 4 interceptions. Butler was named to his first All Pro team in 1955, despite it being the only season of his career where he did not record an interception. He would be named an All Pro until 1959, the year he retired. He recorded 6 interceptions for 113 yards in 1956, and returned a fumble for the last defensive touchdown of his career. He also caught the last pass of his career, a 10 yard touchdown reception. It was also the last touchdown of his career. Butler led the NFL with 10 interception in 1957. He followed that up with 9 the next season. Though he only managed to play 7 games due to a knee injury in 1959, he still had 2 interceptions. He retired after that season because of the injury. His 52 interceptions in nine seasons were second most in NFL history when his career abruptly ended in 1959 and still rank second in the Steelers history. Butler was named to the NFL's Team of the Decade for the 1950s, and was selected as one of the top 300 players to play in the NFL at that time. In October 2008, Jack Butler was named as one of the 33 greatest Pittsburgh Steelers of all time. The Steelers named those players to this team as part of their 75th anniversary season celebration. He is also a member of the Steelers 50th Anniversary All Time Team. When he retired from playing, Butler became an NFL scout. He was the director of BLESTO for over 40 years until he retired at 80 years old in 2007. If you know the game, you realize how important BLESTO is to the NFL. Butler has helped start the career of innumerous scouts, player personnel directors, and geneneral managers in the NFL.

There is only two reasons I can see how the voters in Canton have overlooked Butler as a player. Winning and lack of knowledge when it comes to professional football. The Steelers didn't do a whole lot of winning until the 1970's, and I have long said in this series that the majority of voters are incompetent. Many do not know a thing about football, and get their insights from headlines...and maybe even kickbacks. Butler was one of the hardest hitting Cornerbacks to have ever played the game. Yet, he also had shut down ability, which is shown with his 52 thefts. Those 52 interceptions were tied for 2nd All Time in NFL history when he retired. Personally, I think Jack's contributions off the field make him worthy two different ways. But, sticking to just his play on the gridiron, there is no question that is is truly a disgrace that Jack Butler has not yet been inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

Notable Players Drafted In 1951 (* Denote Hall Of Famer)

1. Kyle Rote, End, NY Giants
5. Bob Gain, DT, Green Bay
6. Jerry Groom, MG, Chicago Cardinals
11. Bud McFadin, DT, LA Rams
12. Gene Schroeder, E, Chicago Bears
14. Ken Konz, DB, Cleveland
18. Don Joyce, DE, Chicago Cardinals
19. Dick Stanfel, G, Detroit
23. Bill George, LB, Chicago Bears *
25. Ray Krouse, DT, NY Giants
34. Mike McCormack, OT, New York Yanks *
54. Al Carapella, DT, San Francisco
55. Jim Doran, E, Detroit
58. Lavern Torgeson, LB, Detroit
61. Jack Stroud, G, NY Giants
65. John Martinkovic, DE, Washington
67. Dale Dodrill, MG, Pittsburgh
68. Ken Farragut, C, Philadelphia
69. Jack Christiansen, DB, Detroit *
81. Ray Matthews, HB, Pittsburgh
86. Walt Michaels, LB, Cleveland
90. Leo Sanford, LB, Chicago Cardinals
151. Volney Peters, DT, Chicago Cardinals
166. Bobby Walston, E, Philadelphia
196. Gene Brito, DE, Washington
198. Al Michalik, MG, San Francisco
217. Dick Daugherty, G, LA Rams
228. Andy Robustelli, DE, LA Rams *
235. Fred Wallner, LB, Chicago Cardinals
304. Johnny Williams, DB, Washington
311. Will Sherman, DB, NY Yanks


David Funk said...

That's some pretty good numbers for Jack Butler. Having nine touchdowns in as many seasons is impressive, too.

I tell you, I look at many football players from the past, and I scratch my head as to why they're not in. I look at some from the 20s in that same regard.

Maybe you should start a petition for some of these guys? I don't know, it's a thought.

Nice work as always CCC.

Lester's Legends said...

Man, he was a dominant force of his time. I don't understand the logic of voters either.