Dick Butkus Was the Greatest – So Please Stop Giggling
Legendary NFL linebacker Dick Butkus passed away last week in his Malibu home at the age of 80.
Butkus played nine seasons for the Chicago Bears and was known for the ferocious, intense, and aggressive way that he attacked the game.
Born Richard Marvin Butkus, Butkus grew up the youngest of eight children growing up in a rough, blue-collar area on the south-side of Chicago. Butkus stayed local during his college years and attended the University of Illinois before being drafted third overall by his hometown Bears in 1965.
Butkus would go on to make eight Pro Bowls, two NFL All-Decade teams, the NFL and College Hall of Fames, as well as having his number 51 jersey retired with the Bears in 1994.
In 1985, college football started awarding a trophy to the top linebacker in the country. It was named the Butkus Award.
Butkus would later go on to star as an actor with movie credits that include Brian’s Song (1970), The Longest Yard (1974), Any Given Sunday (1999), a television role in My Two Dads (1987-89), and an iconic role as himself in the Miller Lite commercials.
Dick Butkus was one of the toughest, meanest, most intimidating linebackers the game has ever seen.
So why are you giggling?
If the football gods had it right, Dick Butkus would have been named something like Michael Stonebreaker (Notre Dame football), D’Brickashaw Ferguson (NY Jets), or Tedy Bruschi (New England Patriots). Manly names that fit the persona.
Instead, he got Dick Butkus.
On the one hand, growing up with the name Dick Butkus had to have toughened him in the streets, angered him in the weight room, and motivated him on the playing field.
On the other hand, it could have been worse.
• Dick Trickle was an American race car driver, Dick Shiner played quarterback in the NFL, Dick Sisler played baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals, and Dick Pole was a right-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.
Take this as a learning lesson for all new parents thinking about naming their child Richard or Dick. Think about alternative names like James or Noah. Especially those with suggestive last names.
• The exception to the rule may be Gradey Dick, the 6’8 forward out of Kansas that was just selected 13th overall by the Toronto Raptors of the NBA. Gradey starred for the Kansas Jayhawks, signed a lucrative deal with the Raptors, and recently threw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Toronto Blue Jays game. Is it Gradey Dick? Or Grade A Dick?
• And don’t get me started on former CBA basketball player Chubby Cox (Philadelphia Kings).
• Former Michigan Wolverine and Denver Bronco, Jake Butt, not only had the unfortunate honor of wearing his name on his jersey throughout his playing career – he also starred as a tight end.
• Questionable parenting names are not just for men. Ask former Olympic swimmer Misty Hyman. When your name is Misty Dawn Marie Hyman, you may want to avoid the mist and choose Dawn or Marie as your preference.
• Misty Hyman sounds less like a swimmer, and more like a name that’s sharing screen credits with Stormy Daniels.
• Do you know who probably should have been a swimmer while applying plenty of sunscreen? Former Swiss soccer player Bernt Hass.
• Destinee Hooker apparently had another destiny. She instead landed herself on the Olympic volleyball team back in 2012.
• Two-time WNBA Champion, and five-time WNBA All-Star DeWanna Bonner (Connecticut Sun) has had a stellar career averaging over 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists over a 14-year span. But she is still just one misspelling or mispronunciation away from a disaster.
• Come to think of it, Dick Butkus isn’t even the most unfortunate name in Chicago sports history. That title goes to a right-fielder that played most of his professional career with the Chicago White Sox during the 80’s. Russell Jay Kuntz – otherwise known as Rusty Kuntz.
Inevitably, the difference between a Dick Butkus, Chubby Cox, and a Rusty Kuntz is that Butkus stood at 6’3, weighed 245 pounds, and could literally rip your head off.
So, go ahead and chuckle if Ron Tugnutt (NHL Goalie), Ivana Mandic (College hoopster), or Pete LaCock (Kansas City Royals) show up on your feed. But show Dick Butkus some respect.
Dick Butkus not only survived the absurdity of his name – he went on to dominate the game of football so bad that….
We all wished we were a Dick Butkus too.
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