JACK BUTLER 6'1" 200 Safety 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