Cornerback Jack Butler and guard Dick Stanfel, both members of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1950s, were named today by the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee as finalists for election into the Hall of Fame with the Class of 2012.
Butler and Stanfel will join 15 yet to be named modern-era candidates on the list of finalists from which the Class of 2012 will be selected. The Hall of Fame selection meeting will be held on February 4, 2012, the day before Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis. To be elected, the former NFL standouts must each receive the same 80 percent voting support that is required of all finalists. The Hall’s Selection Committee can elect a maximum of two senior candidates and five modern-era candidates for a class no smaller than four or larger than seven.
The Seniors Committee is comprised of nine members of the overall selection committee. Through mail vote, the 2012 senior nominees were reduced to a final list of candidates. Today, five members of the Seniors committee met in Canton to discuss each of the senior finalists. A senior nominee is an individual whose career ended at least 25 years ago.
Butler, a 6’1”, 200-pound cornerback out of St. Bonaventure, played nine seasons in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1951-59. He earned Pro Bowl honors four straight seasons (1956-59) and was named first-team All-NFL in the final three years of his career. Butler recorded 52 career interceptions for 827 yards and 4 touchdowns that included a league-high and career best 10 picks during the 1957 season.
Pittsburgh signed Butler as undrafted free agent who never played football in high school. He quickly developed into one of the finest defensive players of the decade noted as not only a great interceptor but also as an outstanding tackler. He retired tied for second all-time in interceptions. He also recorded four touchdown receptions and returned one fumble for a TD.
Stanfel, a second-round pick out of San Francisco by the Detroit Lions in 1951, was regarded as a premier guard during his era. He was an integral part of back-to-back NFL championship teams in 1952 and 1953. He was named the team's Most Valuable Player by his teammates for the 1953 season. After four seasons with Detroit, he was traded to the Washington Redskins in 1956. He played his final three years of his career with the Redskins.
In all, Stanfel was named to four Pro Bowls and selected first-team All-NFL five times. He earned all-league accolades twice with Detroit and all three seasons with Washington.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2012 will be formally enshrined during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival in Canton, Ohio next August.
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