Once more, former Green Bay Packers safety LeRoy Butler is garnering serious consideration for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. One of the best players at his position during the 1990s, Butler was a critical member of the Packers’ defenses under Fritz Shurmur, earning first-team All-Pro honors four times.
Now, for the third time, Butler is a semifinalist for the Hall of Fame. Butler was a semifinalist for the 2018 and 2019 classes as well, and Packers fans must hope that this is the first year he advances from this group to Finalist status.
Butler joins a group of talented and deserving safeties in this year’s semifinalist class. However, Butler’s career numbers surpass those of the others in the class in many critical categories. Here are his numbers compared to those of Steve Atwater, John Lynch, Troy Polamalu, and Darren Woodson:
In terms of career totals, Butler leads in sacks and interceptions, while ranking third in the group in tackles per game. The guy also invented the Lambeau Leap, only the most distinctive touchdown celebration in NFL history.
One factor that this breakdown does not account for is postseason awards. Atwater was an 8-time Pro Bowler, though he only got two All-Pro honors. Lynch had nine and two, respectively, while Woodson had five and three. Polamalu got eight and four, but he is the only player in the group to earn a Defensive Player of the Year award (in 2010).
In this biased writer’s opinion, the only one of these players who should get in before Butler is Polamalu, who is in his first year of eligibility. However, Lynch and Atwater made the group of 15 finalists last year while Butler was left out of that list. The 2020 semifinalists will be cut down to 15 finalists in January before the final selection meeting on the Saturday prior to the Super Bowl.