HomeSportsHappy 78th Birthday Dick Butkus: Relive the NFL Legend’s Best Moments

Happy 78th Birthday Dick Butkus: Relive the NFL Legend’s Best Moments

by Madison Miller
Photo by: Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Legendary NFL linebacker Dick Butkus is celebrating his 78th birthday today. He was considered one of the meanest NFL linebackers but is still hopefully having a very happy birthday.

He may have been tough, but the man could also drop a mean quote.

“I want to let them know they’ve been hit. When they get up they don’t have to look to see who it was that hit them. Shouldn’t be any puzzle. When they come-to they gotta say ‘It must’ve been Butkus that got me.'”

Dick Butkus Was a Feared Player

Butkus was well-known for his career with the Chicago Bears from 1965 to 1973. He played a total of 119 games during his NFL career. After retirement, he went into sport commentating and acting.

While playing the game he was invited to eight Pro Bowls, named an All-Pro six times, and was named NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year twice.

He was one of the most feared linebackers in the game. Deacon Jones, a defensive end, said that Butkus “was a well-conditioned animal, and every time he hit you, he tried to put you in the cemetery, not the hospital.”

He created the middle linebacker position and is viewed as the holy standard for that position. This means that players like Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher, Bobby Wagner, and Patrick Willis were all held to his deadly defensive strategy.

Butkus was all about intimidation. Whether it was smart-talking on the field or payback, he was an original in the game. He was also a leader and passionate about the team that he always played for. ‘The Animal” had 22 interceptions during his time in football.

When the team got a new coach, Jim Dooley, in 1969, Butkus famously took it as an initiative to still lead the team. In a team meeting he told everyone if they would just play the game like it should be played, they wouldn’t be having any problems.

End of Career

He played every play, every game, every season with his all. After nine seasons, he only stopped due to a knee injury. His No.51 jersey is retired by the Bears.

“You had to get him blocked because he was going to make a play from sideline to sideline,” according to a former teammate of Butkus.

Besides being a star on the field, Butkus was also known for his acting abilities. Whether it was film or TV episodes, Butkus had up to 50 different shows/movies roles.

Most notably, he was in “Gremlins 2,” “The Last Boy Scout,” “Any Given Sunday,” and “MacGyver.