The dog days of the offseason are finally behind us now that training camp is underway, just in time for our countdown of the Top 100 Chicago Bears of all time to really heat up. As we get closer to the season opener, we get closer to naming the #1 Chicago Bear of all time.
Kevin Butler or “Butthead” as he was affectionately known was drafted by the Bears in the 4th round of the 1985 draft. That is early for a kicker, but the Bears roster was loaded at the time and GM Jerry Vainisi called Butler “far and away the best player on the board in the 4th round”. Butler had a prolific college career at Georgia, breaking the NCAA accuracy record on kicks over 50 yards (52.4%) and eventually becoming the first kicker in the college football Hall of Fame.
Butler had a lot of personality for a kicker and fit right in on ’85 team. There is a story about Butler calling his fiance from training camp his rookie year and telling her they had to change their wedding date (1/26/86) because the Bears would be playing in the Super Bowl that day. It turned out Butler was right and he played a big part in the Bears dominant ’85 season. Butler broke the rookie scoring record with 144 points, kicked three field goals in the Super Bowl, and made 11 tackles on kickoffs during the season. Butler went on to play 11 seasons for the Bears and became their all time leading scorer with 1,116 points.
Despite having a pretty solid year in 1995 (74% FG accuracy) Bears HC Dave Wannstedt (Boo!) brought in kicker Carlos Heurta as training camp competition in ’96 and surprisingly cut Butler after the last preseason game. Butler was the last remaining player with ties to Ditka and the ’85 Bears. Like most of Wannstedt’s moves, the Huerta decision failed as he was released after missing 3 FG attempts in the first four games of the season. Butler went on to play two more seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before retiring with 1,208 career points.
What do you think of the ranking? Too high? Too low? I guess you’ll have to check back to see who finished ahead of him to judge for yourself. We’ll be counting down a different person each day as we inch our way to the September 7th season opener.