EDITOR’S NOTE: “Butkus & Sayers: A Football Life” premieres Friday November 28th @ 9PM/ET on NFL Network
by Dave Douglas, Co-Producer
The Magician and the Mauler were picked back to back, 3rd and 4th overall in the first round of the 1965 draft. It is the only time in NFL history that 2 Hall of Famers were drafted right after the other.
Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers may seem as different as night and day but they were not. Not only were they drafted the same year but both came from humble backgrounds, both played RB and LB in high school, both College All-Americans, both played their entire careers with the Bears, both never played in a playoff game, both were all-pros and Hall of Famers, both had their careers cut short by knee injuries and both had the numbers retired together on a stormy Monday night in 1994.
In 1965, Gale scored 6 TDs in one game on the way to a rookie record 22. The ’65 NFL Rookie of the Year won the rushing title again in 1969 after knee surgery. Butkus was a perennial All-Pro and was NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1969 when the Bears went 1 and 13…an incredible feat.
Both have prospered post career and have lived exemplary lives. Gale runs a foundation that helps under-funded schools in the Chicago area. Dick is a crusader for affordable heart scans after he suffered a heart scare of his own. He also is active in the “I Play Clean” program, an anti-steroid organization.
BUTKUS and SAYERS: A FOOTBALL LIFE was produced by NFL Films Senior Producers Dave Douglas and David Swain.