Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Day Butkus Caught a Bobby Douglass Pass for a Win

Dick Butkus was one of the most intimidating players of all time and one of the most fun to watch. At the snap of the ball, he attacked the opposing team and clawed at anyone in his way in a frenzied pursuit of running backs and quarterbacks. He epitomizes so much of what it means to play Bear football. Butkus was an eight-time Pro Bowler inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.

Butkus was one of the players featured in a book called Game of My Life by prolific sports author, Lew Freedman. This book is similar in approach to the 1945 classic baseball book called My Greatest Day in Baseball. Game of My Life is a narration of individual football greats fondest game memories.

Interesting enough, in the book, Dick Butkus described a November 14, 1971 contest against the mighty Washington Redskins, which featured him in an offensive role. According to Butkus, he had been whacked in the eye that day and it had swollen up on him--essentially making him blind in one eye. As the game wound down to the last few minutes, Butkus had been used as a blocking back for a Bears score that tied the match. A successful extra point would put the Bears ahead with little time remaining. Butkus remained in as a back for the attempt. With quarterback Bobby Douglass as holder and Mac Percival to kick the extra point, the ball was snapped and it sailed high over the quarterback. Douglass chased the ball down after it soared behind him--managing to come up with it twenty yards further out on the field. Frantically, Douglass sought out someone in the end zone. There was the great one-eyed warrior, Dick Butkus, who had run into the end zone. Douglass threw it right at Butkus who misjudged the ball's flight but was able to adjust and come down with it. It was worth one point at the time, which was all the Bears needed. Bears held and won the game--a small victory against the playoff bound Redskins. A great day for the great Butkus.

Copyright 2012 Sporting Chance Press, Inc.
Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of Patrick McCaskey's Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout and other fine sports books. Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout is a personal chronicle of Chicago Bears Senior Director Patrick McCaskey that looks back at decades of spiritual enrichment and life lessons from athletes, coaches, religious and everyday people. McCaskey recalls the stories of those who strived to make the cut on and off the field—plus people who left comfortable lives to serve the under-served in extraordinary ways.

Update: Sporting Chance Press's Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships by Patrick McCaskey now available--March 2014!  Order your copies here  for immediate shipment.