August 5, 2016

Highlighted Year: Jack Butler, 1957

Defensive Halfback, Pittsburgh Steelers

Age: 30 (Nov. 12)
7th season in pro football & with Steelers
College: St. Bonaventure
Height: 6’0”   Weight: 195

Butler, who originally intended to study for the priesthood, didn’t play football until college where he made the team as an end. Undrafted by the NFL, he signed with the Steelers in 1951 and was shifted to defensive halfback (modern cornerback) where he intercepted 5 passes as a rookie, one of which he returned for a touchdown. Butler followed up with 7 in 1952 and 9 in ’53 but he did not gain his first Pro Bowl selection until 1955 (oddly enough, the only season of his career in which he had no interceptions). He received first-team All-NFL honors from The Sporting News, second-team recognition from the Associated Press and NEA, and was a Pro Bowl selection again in ’56, when he picked off 6 passes to give him a total of 31 through his first six seasons.

1957 Season Summary
Appeared in all 12 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Interceptions – 10 [1, tied with Jack Christiansen & Milt Davis]
Int. return yards – 85 [10]
Int. TDs – 0
Fumble recoveries – 1

Punt Returns
Returns – 1
Yards – 10
TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
1st team All-NFL: AP, UPI, NEA, NY Daily News, Sporting News
Pro Bowl

Steelers went 6-6 to finish third in the NFL Eastern Conference while leading the league in fewest yards allowed (2791).

Butler was a consensus first-team All-NFL selection in 1958 and ’59, when his career came to a sudden end late in the season due to a knee injury. An outstanding all-around athlete who played safety as well as defensive halfback throughout his career, he combined excellent instincts with rugged tackling ability. Overall, over the course of 103 games Butler intercepted 52 passes, which ranked second in NFL history at the time, returning them for 877 yards and four touchdowns. He also recovered 10 fumbles, one of which he returned for a TD. Butler was a consensus first-team All-NFL selection three times, received second-team honors after one other season, and was chosen to four straight Pro Bowls. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2012.


Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)

**NFC/AFC since 1970