LeRoy Butler wonders why he doesn’t have more Hall of Fame support

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At the end of the 1990s, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee chose 11 players on offense and 11 players on defense for the All-Decade team. Of those 22 players, 19 are now in the Hall of Fame and two have been Hall of Fame finalists.

And then there’s LeRoy Butler.

Butler, the former Packers safety, has never even made the list of 15 finalists. He finds that hard to understand, given his 38 interceptions, 20.5 sacks, four All-Pro selections and status as one of the most important players on a Super Bowl-winning team.

“If they go by numbers, then I think it’s a slam-dunk I’ll be in,” Butler told the Packers’ website. “If they go by the guy who really started this safety blitzing and covering, and stuff like that, I know it will take care of itself and I’ll eventually get in. I just don’t know what they go by.”

Unfortunately for Butler, he looks like a long shot at the moment. He’s been eligible for 10 years and hasn’t even made the final 15 yet, and there are two other safeties — Brian Dawkins and John Lynch — who have been finalists and appear to be ahead of him in the mind of the members of the Selection Committee. And it’s only going to get harder for safeties to get in when Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed become Hall of Fame eligible.

“I guess I was more frustrated when I was first eligible because I was like they’re not going to put in a safety first ballot so next year should be my year,” Butler said. “When it didn’t happen, I said, ‘OK, this is one of those things that are drawn out. It may take some time so I just have to have peace with it.’”

That leaves Butler hoping that he’ll make it as a veteran candidate some day, as former Seahawks safety Kenny Easley did this year.

“I thought that was big,” said Butler of Easley. “I was glad to see a safety get in.”

Packers fans will be glad to see Butler get in, even though they’re probably going to have to wait a long time.

75 responses to “LeRoy Butler wonders why he doesn’t have more Hall of Fame support

  1. He’s the best modern-era SS behind only Hairamalu, he damn well SHOULD be in. Then again, so should Jerry Kramer and Steve Tasker.

    Part of the problem is they group all safeties in as one position, and they very much shouldn’t. Ed Reed is one of the best free safeties ever, yet should not go up against Lynch Polamalu or Butler, as they’re completely different types of players playing a very different roles.

    It’s as much a failure of the system tallying the votes and how they are awarded as anything.

  2. Dawkins has more int’s, sacks and almost triple the forced fumbles.
    But you only have eyes for T.O.

  3. He also invented the “Lambeau Leap”.

    At least Jerry Kramer has company among former Packers players who have been screwed out of the Hall of Fame.

  4. I would love to hear the HOF voters’ rationale behind this. Seeing how the NFL loves publicity and money maybe have a show where voters argue the merits of each pick they select or leave off…….Yea I onow…never going to happen due to voters likely trying to keep their arguments PC aand crazy fans sending death threats to voters they disagree with but it would be fascinating TV.

  5. To me the line for Safeties in Canton starts BEHIND Rodney Harrison.

    Enforcers Ronnie Lott (already in Canton) & Rodney Harrison and center fielder…Ed Reed.

    The best I’ve ever seen. Troy Polomolu would be an honorable mention. Could very well get in himself. Everyone else get in line behind these guys.

  6. That he was good enough for an all-Decade team, but isn’t getting much HoF consideration, is a fair point. Seems like Safeties are just a step above kickers to the HoF selectors (and kickers are just two steps above punters and long snappers). These are the same guys who won’t elect T.O., but do elect John Stallworth and Michael Irvin. Go figure.

  7. Safety blitz started with Larry Wilson. Not sure what he’s referencing.

    —————————-
    Millennials have no idea who that is.

    Wildcat Wilson is arguably the greatest Safety ever in with Lott and Reed.

  8. As a lifelong Packers fan I think he was a really good player for the team during the 90’s.
    This won’t be popular with Packers fans but I don’t think that he is quite good enough to get in the HOF.

  9. Reed and Polamalu are locks.

    Dawkins, I’m just not sure.

    Lynch.. Butler.. Atwater.. Harrsion.. DWoodson.. are all going to have to rely on the Veterans Committee.

  10. In my opinion, the HOF lets too many players in. The fact that they do, and based on who is in, for sure Butler should be in. He was an all 1990s 1st teamer, and the 3rd most important player on those great Packers teams, behind only Brett Favre and Reggie White.

    Having said that, Jerry Kramer should go in ahead of Butler.

  11. [Butler] was an all 1990s 1st teamer, and the 3rd most important player on those great Packers teams, behind only Brett Favre and Reggie White.
    ===

    It’s not hard to make an argument Butler was the best defensive player on that team during their Super Bowl run (1995-1997)

  12. Basically because the voters aren’t that bright. They had to make a beeline to put a 3-year RB in but can’t get over hating T.O. to put him in or have time to put in great players like Butler who should have been first ballot. I was truly shocked the year Aeneas Williams got in because for them to know he was a Hall of Famer would require them to actually know more about the game than he was popular at the time or who was simply nice to them.

  13. kenberthiaume says:
    Feb 13, 2017 3:08 PM
    Is Rodney Harrison going to get in? He’s more deserving than this guy.
    *******************************
    He’s more deserving than his contemporary John Lynch at strong safety who was an HOF finalist. Harrison and Lynch played almost the same exact years and Harrison had more tackles, picks, and sacks, and doesn’t even get a sniff of the HOF.

  14. Woodson > Harrison > Dawkins > Butler > Lynch > Atwater
    ===

    Butler, Dawkins – 4x All-Pro
    Lynch, Harrison, Woodson – 3x All-Pro
    Atwater – 2x All-Pro

  15. Woodson > Harrison > Dawkins > Butler > Lynch > Atwater
    ===
    Butler, Dawkins – 4x All-Pro
    Lynch, Harrison, Woodson – 3x All-Pro
    Atwater – 2x All-Pro
    =====
    Woodson the only one of the group tasked with doubling as a slot corner.

  16. Well….he’s right that safeties in underrepresented in the HOF, but even in his era I think Rodney Harrison and Darren Woodson are more deserving. You could make pretty good case for Carnell Lake as well.

    Hall of very good type player, IMO.

  17. Woodson the only one of the group tasked with doubling as a slot corner.
    ===

    And conversely, Butler was a force at the line of scrimmage.

    .. and he started his career as a corner. If you think he wasn’t versitle, I’d have to say you’re wrong.

  18. Get out of here with that Darren Woodson or Rodney Harrison nonsense. No one saw either of those guys as Hall of Famers except homers. Butler was the best defensive player on those Packers teams. He was versatile and excellent at what he did. One prominent HC said he was the most complete plyer in football in 1994 or 1995, I can’t remember which, and he played that well his entire career. I thought some of you were talking about Charles Woodson, and then you would have had a point. Dawkins and Butler are Hall of Famers. Lynch, Atwater, Dennis Smith, D. Woodson, and Harrison are not. Just because you played a long time or had enough people parrot it doesn’t mean that you are.

  19. Butler, the former Packers safety, has never even made the list of 15 finalists. He finds that hard to understand, given his 38 interceptions, 20.5 sacks, four All-Pro selections and status as one of the most important players on a Super Bowl-winning team.
    —-
    “My record says I’m a gosh darn good coach!” Mike “buffet blaster” mccarthy

  20. I appreciate Butler and while he was certainly the best DB from the Packers during that part of GBS run. I didn’t realize he had 4 All pros that surprised me (as in first team) or am I confusing that with Pro Bowls. Even back in his day where players pretended to care more about it. Hall of very good, yes Packer hall of fame 100%.. all of NFL maybe consideration but I don’t think he is one.

  21. The problem Butler has is this:

    He had an injury that abruptly ended his career (mid 2001), and that happened while the Packers were down (missed playoffs in ’99-’00). So there was no retirement tour for him to showcase his numbers or his great plays.

    Compare that to Lynch and Dawkins who got the hype of a FA move to Denver for 3 or 4 years at the end of their career. Neither of them put up huge stats, but it did give them more TV time for their HOF resume to be pushed.

  22. In Super Bowl 32, Denver game planned to take Butler off of the line of scrimmage so they could run. It was a brilliant move. They lined Shannon Sharpe up outside knowing that Butler was the only Packer capable of guarding him, and also knowing that Butler would make a huge impact stopping the run if he were left inside. The fact that Denver game planned specifically for Butler when the Packers had Reggie White, a strong D-line, and a very good defense is evidence of just how good Butler was as a safety.

  23. Are we so sure Polamalu is a stone cold lock for the HOF?

    Buter; 889 tackles, 20 sacks, 38 ints, 13 forced fumbles

    Polamalu; 770 tackles, 12 sacks, 32 ints, 14 forced fumbles

  24. joetoronto says:
    Feb 13, 2017 5:12 PM
    Every player has a shot now for the Hall of Pretty Good.
    ====================

    Not for defensive backs, only kickers have a harder time getting in.

  25. Leroy Butler was very good. He might even be HOF-worthy.

    The problem? You can also make arguments for Brian Dawkins, Steve Atwater, Rodney Harrison, Cliff Harris, Donnie Shell, etc., etc., etc., as safeties. All of them COULD be Hall of Famers, but none of them jump out at most people over the others… and I would throw Darren Woodson and John Lynch in this group too (and I have no idea why Lynch got in ahead of the others, either).

    Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu might or might not have better stats than some or all of the safeties I mentioned above (I don’t have them in front of me), but to me those 2 each in their own way revolutionized the ways safeties play today, and made just about every offense who played against them game plan to account for just them. I don’t feel you can say that about any of the others I mentioned. Reed and Polamalu are a cut above just the stats, and true Hall of Famers who should both get in very quickly when eligible.

  26. Why did Easley have to wait so long?
    Both he and Butler should have been in long ago.
    Seems like safeties are under-appreciated in HOF voting.
    As a Niners fan it was painful watching Butler
    own Steve Young at the line of scrimmage in like 5 straight wins before the T.O. miracle.

  27. Leroy is the only player from the all 90’s team to not be a HOF finalist…..sad. Even sadder is that Jerry Kramer was named to the 50th anniversary team and is the ONLY player from that team NOT in the hall. Leroy, you were a great player, but even you got to admit that Kramer needs to be there before you.

  28. We’d love for LeRoy to get in the Hall of Fame. He was a good player. It’s because he hasn’t washed off the stench yet. He could still get in, though. It may take awhile, so don’t give up hope.

  29. TheDPR says:
    Feb 13, 2017 3:57 PM
    Safeties get no love. Dawk should be in, too.

    The HoF is earning its nickname: The Hall of Lame

    This is the type of BS that legitimizes BS. While the former is accurate and agreeable, the later is pure bovine excrement.

  30. In my opinion, the HOF lets too many players in.

    I’d say the opposite. The rate of induction hasn’t changed since the 1960s, when the NFL had less than half as many teams.

    Also, the Hall needs to understand that defensive players are as important as offensive players. And that sacks and interceptions are not the only defensive stats.

  31. Take a seat bro, the Bengals Ken Riley retired with the 3rd most int’s (65) and never missed a game in his 15 year career and hasn’t gotten a sniff of the hof since he was first eligible in 1988. Today he is still tied with Charles Woodson for 5th all time and yet he still sits in limbo. Gotta hand it to the nfl, getting it wrong since 1920!

  32. I’m a tad surprised so many Pack fans are cheering for this guy because he destroyed their favorite denial: he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal in 2013 that at least a DOZEN Packers were using HGH (which was against the rules back then but not tested for until 2015). This won’t have made Butler very popular. Btw, still waiting for the league to properly investigate it – some fanboys still seem to think the Al Jazeera report was some insane jihadi BS plot to falsely smear American sports, LOL. You can be sure Goofdell never asked Butler for any insights during the league’s non-investigation.

  33. [Butler] told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal in 2013 that at least a DOZEN Packers were using HGH
    ===

    The same stuff the Broncos (Romanowski, McCaffery, TD) were using circa-1997? Endorsing it even?!

    .. And I have no doubt the Al Jazeera report was true. CMIII is the poster boy for steroid use today. And Peppers had been suspended for PED use early in his career.

    I’d be more interested to hear what kind of favor Mark Murphy called in to get it swept under the rug.

  34. ktfulmer says:
    Feb 13, 2017 3:08 PM
    Shouldn’t enter the conversation before Brian Dawkins or Steve Atwater.
    ———————
    Dawkins was in a more creative scheme, much like Woodson’s stats in Oakland vs his stats in the 2nd half of his career in Green Bay where they had him move all over the field and he got a lot more sacks, ints and forced fumbles.

    Atwater was a neat hitter, but LeRoy could actually slide in and play cornerback, linebacker, blitz, tackle, cover, etc.

    Atwater was just a neat hitter who’d get exposed in today’s passing league.

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