Why Isn't LeRoy Butler in the Hall of Fame?
The NFL announced its Hall of Fame finalists Wednesday, and former Packers safety LeRoy Butler was not among them.
Fellow safeties Brian Dawkins and John Lynch, however, did make the final cuts.
That’s a shame, because Butler deserves consideration at least as much as they do.
A four-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro, Butler’s peak was at least as good as any that Dawkins and Lynch put together, and his best season has only been equalled by one other.
In 1996, Butler was credited for 6.5 sacks and five interceptions. Dave Duerson is the only other player in NFL history to surpass that combined total, recording seven sacks and five interceptions in 1986.
Butler was also the first defensive back in league history to total 20 interceptions and 20 sacks in his career. Others have met and surpassed that total, but being the first surely merits some consideration.
Unfortunately, this is the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Stats, and I don’t know if Butler will ever garner the same kind of name recognition that either Dawkins or Lynch does.
Both Dawkins and Lynch were high profile, vocal players who benefitted from being a part of high profile teams. Lynch especially gets a boost from his time with Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden, and I’m sure his current career as a broadcaster doesn’t hurt when it comes to staying on top of voters’ minds.
Safeties in general have a hard time making it into the Hall of Fame (Steve Atwater is still waiting, too), and with guys like Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu coming up for consideration soon, it seems unlikely that Butler will get his chance in the near future.
That’s a shame for one of the defenders who had a big hand in the Packers’ turnaround in the mid-90’s.