Bill Butler (American football)

William R. Butler (born July 10, 1937 in Berlin, Wisconsin) is a former American football safety in the National Football League for the Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings. He also was a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Canadian Football League. He played college football at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Bill Butler
No. 22, 20
Personal information
Born: (1937-07-10) July 10, 1937 (age 83)
Berlin, Wisconsin
Height:5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight:189 lb (86 kg)
Career information
High school:Berlin (WI)
NFL Draft:1959 / Round: 19 / Pick: 217
Career history
Career NFL statistics
Games played:75
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Early yearsEdit

Butler attended Berlin High School. He accepted a football scholarship from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

In 1988, he was inducted into the UTC Athletics Hall of Fame.[1]

Professional careerEdit

Green Bay packersEdit

Butler was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 19th round (217th overall) of the 1959 NFL Draft. Although he was initially waived in training camp, he was re-signed after the team cut fellow rookie Tim Brown.

He led the team in kickoff (21 returns - 22.5-yard avg.) and punt returns (18 returns - 9.1 average).[2] He returned a punt for a 61-yard touchdown in a 28-17 loss against the Chicago Bears.

Dallas CowboysEdit

Butler was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1960 NFL Expansion Draft and was moved to defense, becoming the first starting free safety in franchise history.[3] He ranked second in the league in punt returns (10.1-yard avg.) and also had 20 kickoff returns with a 19.1-yard average.[4]

On December 21, he was traded along with offensive tackle Dick Klein to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for safety Dick Moegle.[5]

Pittsburgh SteelersEdit

In 1961, he had 3 interceptions, while playing 10 games as a backup safety. On April 7, 1962, he was traded to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for a sixth round draft selection, completing a previous transaction.[6]

Minnesota VikingsEdit

In 1962, he started 12 games at safety and posted 5 interceptions (second on the team), returning one for a touchdown. He also led the team in kickoff (26 returns - 22.6-yard avg.) and punt returns (12 returns - 14.1-yard avg.).

In 1963, he repeated as the team leader in kickoff (33 returns - 21.6-yard avg.) and punt returns (21 returns - 10.5-yard avg.). In 1964, for the third season in a row, he led the team in kickoff (26 returns - 23-yard avg.) and punt returns (22 returns - 7.1-yard avg.).

Saskatchewan Roughriders (CFL)Edit

On August 20, 1965, he signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.[7] He was a two-way player and appeared in 12 games. He registered 44 carries for 138 yards (3.1-yard avg.), 16 receptions for 139 yards, one touchdown and 9 kickoff returns for 206 yards (22.9-yard avg.). He announced his retirement the following year.[8]

Personal lifeEdit

Butler lives in Berlin, Wisconsin and is the defensive coordinator for the Ripon High School football team and an assistant track and field coach.[9]


  1. ^ "Current Hall of Fame Members". Archived from the original on October 2, 2015. Retrieved June 25, 2020.
  2. ^ "Packers Hall of Fame announces donation of Lombardi-era team apparel pieces". Retrieved June 25, 2020.
  3. ^ "1960 NFL Expansion Daft". Retrieved June 25, 2020.
  4. ^ "Speedster Strengthens Defense". Retrieved June 25, 2020.
  5. ^ "Cowboys Swap 2 For Moegle". Retrieved June 25, 2020.
  6. ^ "Vikings Obtain Butler From Steelers". Retrieved June 25, 2020.
  7. ^ "Bed-Ridden Backs". Retrieved June 25, 2020.
  8. ^ "Riders Sign Four". Retrieved June 25, 2020.
  9. ^ "Ripon Tigers On-Line Media Guide". Retrieved June 25, 2020.