Dave Butz
No. 62, 65
Position:Defensive tackle
Personal information
Born:(1950-06-23)June 23, 1950
LaFayette, Alabama
Died:November 4, 2022(2022-11-04) (aged 72)
Height:6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)
Weight:295 lb (134 kg)
Career information
High school:Maine South (Park Ridge, Illinois)
NFL Draft:1973 / Round: 1 / Pick: 5
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:216
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

David Butz (June 23, 1950 – November 4, 2022) was an American professional football player who was a defensive tackle in the National Football League (NFL) for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Washington Redskins in a 16-year career from 1973 to 1988. During his time with Washington, as the team's defensive "anchor",[1] he helped the Redskins reach the Super Bowl thrice, winning twice. He was named as one of the 70 Greatest Redskins in franchise history and a member of the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team. Before turning professional, he played college football for the Purdue Boilermakers. He was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2014.

Early life

Butz was born in LaFayette, Alabama,[2] on June 23, 1950, and soon moved with his family to Illinois.[3] He played high school football at Maine South High School in Park Ridge, Illinois, where he was two-time high school All-American.[2] He also played basketball and was the Illinois High School discus champion, setting a state record.[2] He was the nephew of Earl Butz, a Purdue University professor who later served as United States Secretary of Agriculture.[2][3]

College football

Butz played college football at Purdue University, where he was a 1972 finalist for the Lombardi Award.[2] He was a first-team All-Big Ten member and played in both the East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl, where he was named the Defensive MVP.[4]

Butz was named to the Purdue Boilermakers' Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004.[2][5] He was later also named to Purdue's All Time Football team[2] and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2014.[6]

Professional football

Butz was drafted in the first round (fifth overall) of the 1973 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, where he would play for two seasons.[7] In 1975, Butz was granted free agency due to a mistake in his contract that he had signed as a rookie in 1973. Redskins coach George Allen quickly signed him, but the NFL ruled that the Redskins had to compensate the Cardinals with two first-round draft picks (1977 & 1978) and a second-round pick (1978).[1][3][8][9]

Butz then played for the Washington Redskins for 14 years,[7] where he had three Super Bowl appearances: defeating the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII,[10] losing to the Los Angeles Raiders in Super Bowl XVIII,[11] and winning Super Bowl XXII over the Denver Broncos.[12] At the victory parade after Super Bowl XXII, he famously shouted to the crowd, "We came, we saw, we kicked their butts."[13]

As of 2022, Butz ranks fifth in franchise history in sacks (59.0, was third in 2008).[8][1][14] He was a one-time Pro Bowler in 1983 in a season in which he managed eleven sacks, a career-best.[15] He was named to the NFL All-Pro team in 1983 and 1984.[16][17] He only missed four games in his entire 16-year career.[2] Butz was among the largest players in the NFL when he played standing 6'8" and routinely weighing around 300 pounds.[18]

In October 1987, Butz famously checked himself out of the hospital to play in the Redskins' game against the New York Jets. Despite having dropped from 313 to 287 pounds due to the illness and feeling dizzy in the second half, Butz made a game-saving sack of Ken O'Brien to stop a Jets' drive late in the game and was awarded the game ball. After the game, he checked himself back into the hospital where he remained until the following Wednesday.[19][20]

In 1988, Butz played in his 197th game for the Washington franchise, passing Len Hauss to set a franchise record for games played.[21] He would later retire at 203 games played for Washington.[7]

Butz announced his retirement as an active player at the age of 38 on May 18, 1989.[22] He appeared in 216 NFL games, 191 as a starter, from 1973 to 1988.[23] He tallied 64 sacks in his career.[7] When he retired, he was the oldest starting player in the NFL.[24]

Butz was selected to the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team.[25][26] He was named one of the 70 Greatest Redskins at the Redskins' 70th anniversary in 2002.[27] His name is also featured along with that of other notable players in team history on the "Ring of Fame" at FedExField.[28]

Later life and death

Butz moved to Belleville, Illinois, early in his NFL career and continued to reside in the area for the remainder of his life[29] with his wife, Candyce; the couple had three children.[2] He also had a home in Fairfax, Virginia.[3]

In the early 2000s, Butz served as a board member for the National Rifle Association.[30][31]

Butz died on November 4, 2022, at age 72.[32][33]


  1. ^ a b c Bonesteel, Matt (November 4, 2022). "Dave Butz, who helped anchor Washington's 1980s defenses, dies at 72". Washington Post. Retrieved November 5, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Eight Former Boilermakers To Be Inducted Into Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame –". purduesports.com. web.archive.org: Purdue University. August 23, 2004. Archived from the original on January 10, 2016. Retrieved November 5, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d "Dave Butz, All-Pro Defensive Lineman for Washington, Dies at 72". The New York Times. November 4, 2022. Retrieved November 5, 2022. David Butz was born on June 23, 1950, in Lafayette, Ala., and moved with his family to Illinois at an early age. ... Butz, who lived in Fairfax, Va., was the nephew of Earl Butz, a former secretary of agriculture under Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford.
  4. ^ "College Football Hall of Fame". www.footballfoundation.org.
  5. ^ "Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame". Purdue Boilermakers. Retrieved November 5, 2022.
  6. ^ National Football Foundation (May 22, 2014). "NFF Proudly Announces Impressive 2014 College Football Hall of Fame Class". FootballFoundation.org. Archived from the original on May 29, 2014. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d "Dave Butz". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  8. ^ a b Richman, Michael (2008). The Redskins Encyclopedia. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. pp. 277. ISBN 978-1-59213-542-4.
  9. ^ "Dave Butz, two-time Super Bowl champion with Washington, dies at age of 72". National Football League. Associated Press. November 5, 2022.
  10. ^ "Super Bowl XVII – Washington Redskins vs. Miami Dolphins – January 30th, 1983". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved November 5, 2022.
  11. ^ "Super Bowl XVIII – Washington Redskins vs. Los Angeles Raiders – January 22nd, 1984". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved November 5, 2022.
  12. ^ "Super Bowl XXII – Washington Redskins vs. Denver Broncos – January 31st, 1988". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved November 5, 2022.
  13. ^ "'King for a Day' Set for a Premiere". Los Angeles Times. February 5, 1988. Retrieved October 15, 2009.
  14. ^ "Washington Commanders Career Defense Leaders". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved November 5, 2022.
  15. ^ Axxson, Scooby (November 5, 2022). "Dave Butz, two-time Super Bowl winner and Washington legend, dies at 72". Yahoo! Sports. USA Today.
  16. ^ "1983 NFL All-Pros". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved November 6, 2022.
  17. ^ "1984 NFL All-Pros". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved November 6, 2022.
  18. ^ "Dave Butz, who helped Washington win 2 Super Bowls, dies". Taiwan News. Associated Press. November 5, 2022.
  19. ^ Mann, Jack (October 26, 1987). "Skins' savior: Butz quits hospital, makes crucial plays in waning moments". The Baltimore Sun – via Newspapers.com.
  20. ^ "Butz lighter after sickness, but who'd notice?". Democrat and Chronicle. November 1, 1987. p. 8E – via Newspapers.com.
  21. ^ Friend, Tom (November 4, 1988). "Battered Butz beat goes on to 197th game". Washington Post. Retrieved November 5, 2022.
  22. ^ "Redskins' Butz retires after 16 NFL seasons," United Press International (UPI), Thursday, May 18, 1989. Retrieved November 4, 2022.
  23. ^ "Redskins' Dave Butz finally hangs it up". The Baltimore Sun. May 19, 1989. p. B8 – via Newspapers.com.
  24. ^ "No More Ifs for Butz". New York Times. May 19, 1989. Retrieved February 15, 2008.
  25. ^ "NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1980s – DEFENSE". profootballhof.com. Pro Football Hall of Fame. January 22, 2010. Retrieved November 5, 2022.
  26. ^ "From the Hall of Fame Archives: The 1980's All-Decade Team : 12/55 dave butz". NFL.com. Retrieved November 5, 2022.
  27. ^ "70 Greatest Redskins". Washington Post. June 14, 2002. Retrieved November 5, 2022.
  28. ^ "Ring of Fame". www.commanders.com. Washington Commanders. Retrieved November 6, 2022.
  29. ^ "An All-Pro NFL lineman and Super Bowl champion who made Belleville his home has died". Belleville News-Democrat. November 4, 2022. Retrieved November 5, 2022.
  30. ^ "Second Amendment has ally in ex-Redskin". The State. April 6, 2003 – via Newspapers.com.
  31. ^ "Ex-Redskin supports youth in the outdoors". The Morning Call. August 10, 2010 – via Newspapers.com.
  32. ^ "'Gentle Giant' Dave Butz, Washington Legend, Dead at 72: NFL Tracker". Sports Illustrated. November 4, 2022. Retrieved November 4, 2022.
  33. ^ "Purdue Legend Dave Butz Passes Away at 72". Purdue Boilermakers. Purdue University. November 4, 2022. Retrieved November 6, 2022. Dave Butz, a legend of Purdue Football who was inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame, passed away Friday (Nov. 4) at the age of 72.