Late Dick Butkus’ favorite play came against Bears ‘TNF’ opponent

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On Nov. 14, 1971, Butkus caught the game-winning score in a come-from-behind victory over Washington, 16-15. After the Bears scored the game-tying touchdown late, a high snap on the go-ahead extra point attempt forced quarterback and holder Bobby Douglass to run with the football. Following a mad scramble, Douglass connected with Butkus, who secured the pass with an impressive over-the-shoulder grab in the corner of the end zone. 

“I did the only thing possible,” Butkus said via the Bears‘ official website. “I didn’t know how deep I was in the end zone. I just turned around and waved, hoping that Bobby would see me.” 

Despite his intimidating 6-foot-3, 245-pound frame, Butkus had surprisingly good hands, finishing his career with 22 interceptions and 27 fumble recoveries. So, his offensive feat that day shouldn’t have been a surprise. 

TMZ was the first to report Butkus’ passing on Thursday, with the NFL releasing a statement shortly thereafter. 

“Dick Butkus was a fierce and passionate competitor who helped the linebacker position as one of the NFL’s all-time greats,” the league’s statement read. “Dick’s intuition, toughness and athleticism made him the model linebacker whose name will forever be linked to the position and the Chicago Bears.” 

Butkus, a Chicago native and Illinois graduate, spent his entire nine-year NFL career with the Bears. An imposing force, Butkus soon became the poster boy, the physical embodiment of intimidation in a rough-and-tumble sport like football. 

A five-time All-Pro and eight-time Pro Bowler, Butkus was arguably one of the best linebackers ever. Yet, despite that, a game-winning grab on a botched PAT was dearest to his heart. 

Somehow, that only adds to Butkus’ badassery.

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