“Big Dave Butz” played in the NFL for 16 years. He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1st round of the 1973 NFL Draft and played for the Cardinals for two years. Washington Redskins head coach George Allen gave the Cardinals two 1st round picks and a 2nd round pick for Dave Butz, who spent the next 14 years on Redskins defensive lines. Teams found running against Butz was like running into a brick wall. At 6’8″ tall and over 300 lbs., he batted passes down and often sacked the opposing quarterbacks.
This writer attended the November 3, 1975 Monday Night game at RFK stadium in Washington, DC when our George Allen-coached Washington Redskins defeated the mighty Dallas Cowboys in overtime 30 to 24. Cowboys-Redskins division rival games are always exciting, but this one was extra special. Along with some exciting offensive scores, there were also some outstanding defensive plays. Redskins “over-the-hill” gang constantly pressured and confused the great Cowboy quarterback Roger Staubach.
One play I remember was Roger Staubach had a 2nd down and about 12, 13 yards so he was in the shotgun formation when Dave Butz manhandled the Cowboys center and pushed the pocket back into Staubach just as all-pro linebacker Chris Hanburger blitzed and hit Staubach as he threw and the wobbly ball was intercepted by Redskins safety Kenny Houston. Houston ran the ball back to about mid-field, and Roger Staubach was so frustrated he threw a punch at cornerback Pat Fischer which resulted in a 15-yard penalty. The Redskins went on to score a touchdown with quarterback Billy Kilmer calling his own number on a quarterback sneak. Billy Kilmer did not sneak the ball often because he physically was limited due to a horrible automobile accident that left him with crushed legs. The Dallas Cowboys defense did not expect Kilmer to pull off a quarterback sneak for a touchdown. I believe coach George Allen and everyone on the team was surprised also judging by the reaction on the sideline. We Redskins fans got our money’s worth that night.
Dave Butz only missed four games in his 16 year NFL career. He has two Super Bowl rings, is in the Washington Redskins Ring of Fame, made the NFL 1980’s Team, Pro Bowler, a member of the 70 Greatest Redskins, and College Football Hall of Fame. It is this writer’s opinion that Dave Butz should also be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a view shared by many other football fans.
Dave Butz’s uncle Earl Butz served as Secretary of Agriculture under US Presidents Nixon and Ford. Big Dave Butz was instrumental in making our Washington Redskins defenses become known as “Capital Punishment.” HAIL. HTTR!
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