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Checkdowns: Seniors Committee nominates Dick Stanfel and Jack Butler for HOF

Posted by Chase Stuart on August 26, 2011

Dick Stanfel

Jack Butler

From Fifth Down friend Andy Barall:

The Hall of Fame seniors committee named Dick Stanfel and Jack Butler on Wednesday as finalists for election in the class of 2012. To be elected, they need the same 80 percent support as the modern era finalists when the full selection committee meets in Indianapolis on Feb. 4, the day before Super Bowl 46. A few thoughts about the nominees:

Although his playing career lasted only seven seasons, Dick Stanfel left his mark as one of the finest and most consistent offensive linemen of his time. In an era that valued technique over brute strength, Stanfel was fundamentally sound enough to be elected first team All-Pro five times and to be named to the N.F.L.’s all-decade team of the 1950s....

In those years, the offensive linemen had to keep their elbows bent and their hands close to their body for both run and pass blocking. They couldn’t extend their arms and push, as they do today. The best of them, like Stanfel, had to make up for it with smooth footwork and good balance. They needed to be able to move laterally just to stay in front of the pass rushers. Stanfel also had very good pulling speed in either direction....

Jack Butler is also a member of the N.F.L.’s all-decade team of the 1950s. He was a bright spot in an era when the Steelers had few winning seasons....

Butler finished his nine-year career in Pittsburgh (1951-1959) with 52 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries in 103 games. That interception total was the second highest in league history when he retired. He scored 9 touchdowns: 4 by interception return, 4 by pass reception and 1 by the return of a recovered fumble. Butler was a three-time first team All-Pro (1957-1959) and was elected to four Pro Bowls (1955-1958).

Butler was an all-around defensive back. He excelled against both the run and the pass. He read the play well, had a good nose for the ball, and he had excellent hands. Butler was also a punishing tackler. When he played safety, the wide receivers weren’t too eager to meet him in the middle of the field. “Jack was one player that could have played with the great Steeler teams of the ’70s”, Dan Rooney said. “He was fast, smart, and tough.”

For what it's worth, the guys over at the Pro Football Researchers Association messageboard seem to be happy with the choices.

This entry was posted on Friday, August 26th, 2011 at 10:01 am and is filed under Checkdowns, HOF. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.