Butler & Stanfel named 2012 senior nominees

08/24/2011

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.

Jack Butler

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.

Dick Stanfel

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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Recent Comments
  • Jordan Jaquay - February 29 2012 01:43 PM

    The list of potential nominees from the "Senior Pool" is endless. I believe to get men like Jerry Kramer, Johnny Robinson, Ray Guy, Chuck Howley, "Snake" Stabler, and a myriad of others in the Pro Football Hall of Fame needs to have a Veterans committee separate from the regular voting like they have in Baseball. Also, I feel there should be a separate category for the AFL like the Basketball Hall now has for the ABA.

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  • Cosme - February 25 2012 06:10 PM

    The Hof election committee should have elected Stanfel,and its slight of Claude Humphrey is inexcusable. Please, senior's committee: select Jerry Kramer and Chuck Howley this year and begin redressing wrongs!

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  • coachpill - February 08 2012 12:45 PM

    Words of wisdom from MikeG and Bachs.... Inexcusable that Dick Stanfel was not elected- shame on you voters who don't have a clue about the history of the game. MikeG and Bachs your ideas are spot on. How is it that Stan Jones (a very deserving HOF guard who absolutely should be in) makes it but 2 of the 3 guards that the HOF itself voted to the all decade team of the 50's (Stanfel and Dick Barwegan) are not... Kind of like a certain guard on the all decade team of the 60's AND the NFL's 50th Anniversary Team who has yet to make it...

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  • MikeG - February 07 2012 07:47 AM

    How the majority of the Hall of Fame voters could not elect Dick Stanfel, after he was selected by the seniors committee, is nonsense! Most of the voters did not even see the NFL in the 1950's-1960's. bachslunch is 100% correct. We definitely need a committee of historians to research, nominate, and vote in 5 seniors each year (we know that there are enough candidates), bypassing the writers entirely. This would allow the regular candidate voters to elect their members without having to consider two seniors. Also, change the format to have an induction on Saturday for the seniors, Sunday for the regular candidates, and the Hall of Fame exhibition game on Monday night.

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  • bachslunch - February 05 2012 12:26 PM

    herman, I agree with a lot you say. And while I applaud the committee for voting in Jack Butler, their snubbing Dick Stanfel was utterly inexcusable -- the latter is every bit as shabby as the snub they laid on the very deserving Claude Humphrey a few years ago. The Senior committee actually did a good job with the nominations this year (and last year, too), but it was the general board that flat-out dropped the ball on Stanfel this year. I actually think the Senior process should be radically changed -- have a committee of historians research, nominate, and vote in the Seniors, bypassing the writers entirely. The general track record the writers have exhibited the last several years suggests that many of them simply don't have a clue in this area. I do think they're doing a good job by and large with the regular candidates, though.

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  • herman kaufman - February 05 2012 08:48 AM

    The Hall of Fame is a total joke. For Jack Butler and Dick Stanfel to have to wait this long for election is the biggest joke of all. My theory about the voters is this: Not only do they have no sense of who should be in, they may not even be aware of the existence of players, who clearly qualify for election. I am amazed that Butler and Stanfel finally came to the attention of the voters. Who informed them? It is ridiculous. Butler was a terror, and Stamfel was one of the finest guards of his time. Has anybody ever heard of Bob Gain? One of the best of this time, who played end and tackle on defense. That he is not in the Hall is a disgrace. Ditto Billy Wilson of the 49'ers. Has anybody ever heard of this great receiver? It's time to either educate the voters or have a new selection process

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  • herman kaufman - February 04 2012 01:10 PM

    The Hall of Fame is a total joke. For Jack Butler and Dick Stanfel to have to wait this long for election is the biggest joke of all. My theory about the voters is this: Not only do they have no sense of who should be in, they may not even be aware of the existence of players, who clearly qualify for election. I am amazed that Butler and Stanfel finally came to the attention of the voters. Who informed them? It is ridiculous. Butler was a terror, and Stamfel was one of the finest guards of his time. Has anybody ever heard of Bob Gain? One of the best of this time, who played end and tackle on defense. That he is not in the Hall is a disgrace. Ditto Billy Wilson of the 49'ers. Has anybody ever heard of this great receiver? It's time to either educate the voters or have a new selection process. There are scores of others: Joe Fortunato of the Bears, Jim Ray Smith, guard for the Browns. Do any of the writers know these players?

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  • coachpill - December 22 2011 02:20 PM

    D'oh! Totally forgot about Johnny Robinson- he would be my #1 omission. In fact if I had a vote on next years Senior Candidates, I would probably go with him and Chuck Howley... with Jerry Kramer and Ray Guy right behind them.

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  • bachslunch - December 22 2011 10:33 AM

    coachpill, thanks for the kind words. Significant Senior safety snubs for me would include Jimmy Patton, Bobby Dillon, Johnny Robinson, Cliff Harris, and Eddie Meador -- plus guys like Dave Grayson and Cornell Green played both safety and corner. And Kenny Easley just joined this group when he didn't reach the semis this time around. Hopefully, Jack Butler leaves this logjam in February. Regularly eligible examples include Donnie Shell (this is his last eligible year), Joey Browner, Deron Cherry, Steve Atawater, Leroy Butler, and Darren Woodson. The HoF voters historically have not done well by safeties, given this. Cornerbacks however seem to do a lot better: the primary Senior snubs for me here are Grayson, Lemar Parrish, and Abe Woodson, with cases also possible for Green, Bobby Boyd, Louis Wright, and Lester Hayes. Some might add Ken Riley and Pat Fischer to the list, but I'm not in favor of DBs with lots of lifetime INTs and slim postseason honor numbers -- Emmitt Thomas and Dick LeBeau are mistake enough here for me.

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  • coachpill - December 22 2011 09:58 AM

    Bachslunch, thanks for the feedback- I've enjoyed following your comments on the boards. Mike Curtis and Bill Forester were a couple more who were on my list- I will have to check out the others you mentioned. Who do you see at safety? To me the biggest omission is Donnie Shell (and possibly his partner in the Steelers secondary Mike Wagner) who is on the modern semi-finalist list this year...

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  • bachslunch - December 21 2011 02:30 PM

    coachpill, agreed that there's a really bad LB logjam in the Seniors section, though it mostly concerns outside LBs, who are very poorly represented from this time. Agreed very much that Chuck Howley, Maxie Baughan, and Robert Brazile are at the top of that list, and both Larry Grantham and Joe Fortunato are right on their heels. I think there's room for all of them in the HoF. Randy Gradishar being an inside LB in a 3-4 defense also makes him both an unfortunate snub and uniquely representative of his position for the time. I can see some argument for Tommy Nobis and Lee Roy Jordan, but given how deep the HoF is in MLBs, am thinking the priority should be to get much deeper representation at the other positions first. Dave Robinson and Andy Russell strike me as being a touch lower then the Howley/Baughan group, and one can add guys like Bill Forester, Isiah Robertson, Mike Stratton, Mike Curtis, and Bill Bergey here. Phil Villipiano is a touch lower here yet. Plus the Seniors have bad backlogs at safety and WR.

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  • coachpill - December 21 2011 10:58 AM

    2 excellent choices by the senior committee- I hope they both get in. Have been reading about the receiver logjam over on the modern board, and would argue that we have a linebacker backup here on the senior side! I would argue for the following (in this order): Chuck Howley, Dave Robinson, Tommy Nobis, Lee Roy Jordan, Maxie Baughan, Andy Russell, Randy Gradishar, Robert Brazile, Phil Villipiano... who else am I missing?

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  • SSR - December 06 2011 03:51 PM

    For me, the two biggest omissions are Ken Stabler and Jim Marshall.

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  • SSR - December 06 2011 03:49 PM

    For me, the two biggest omissions are Ken Stabler and Jim Marshall.

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  • SSR - December 06 2011 03:47 PM

    For me, the two biggest omissions are Ken Stabler and Jim Marshall.

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  • The_Campus_Sword - December 06 2011 02:36 PM

    Dave Robinson is a huge omission. So is Gale Gillingham, who sadly died this year. Jerry Smith was one of the best receiving tight ends of his era. His numbers are as good or better than Charlie Sanders, who got in few years ago. He died of AIDS in 1986, and I can't help but think that there may be a little residual prejudice at work.

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  • bachslunch - October 17 2011 02:58 PM

    Rasputin, a couple thoughts. Given that being elected to the HoF is an individual award, there doesn't necessarily have to be a parallel correlation between championships won and number of HoF-ers by team. And while I'm in agreement with you that Chuck Howley, Cliff Harris, and Drew Pearson are all Cowboys who definitely belong in the HoF, there are a whole lot of bad snubs out there that the Seniors Committee should correct in addition to these folks. "Getting on the selectors' case" makes sense when the Senior nominees are bad (Dick LeBeau, Emmitt Thomas, Marshall Goldberg, Floyd Little, Willie Galimore), but it's difficult to justify when the two nominees are excellent choices, as happened this year. The emphasis should be on getting the deserving folks in regardless of team, and at two per year, it'll take a while, sorry to say. Hopefully, Howley, Harris, and Pearson get their chance sooner or later.

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  • Rasputin - October 15 2011 02:37 PM

    No, Mike, I won't get off their backs. Even after letting Hayes and the obvious first ballots in this past decade the Cowboys still have one of the worst HoFer to championship ratios in the NFL. Less than a decade ago Dallas had fewer players in Canton than the freaking Vikings! It's going to take a lot to atone for those decades of anti-Cowboys bias. Cliff Harris is the only first team 1970s All Decade defender to not be in the HoF. Drew Pearson is the only first team 1970s All Decade offensive player to not be in the HoF. Coincidence? There are other deserving Dallas players but once Howley, Harris, and Pearson are all in I'll be generous and will consider Canton legitimate again. But that's the minimum.

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  • bachslunch - October 06 2011 01:30 PM

    RFF, there's nothing wrong with the Seniors Committee, at least for their work this year and last year. The two players they selected this time around have excellent HoF cases and have been waiting longer than any of the players you listed. You might also tell us why Charlie Waters at 2(0AP)/3/none even merits consideration -- I sure don't see it -- and why one should ignore Alex Karras's gambling suspension, which can indeed be seen as something potentially affecting on-field performance. And Randy W., I think it was a mistake to elect Paul Hornung into the HoF, which is why I don't think it's wise to compound the problem by voting in Karras. And I also don't think anyone here disagrees that Jerry Kramer belongs in the HoF -- it's just a matter of when his turn comes. Having only two Senior openings per year makes things a lot tougher, though.

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  • Real football fan - September 30 2011 08:06 AM

    the real football players that should be in are Chuck Howley,Charlie Waters,Ken Stabler,Ray Guy,Jerry Kramer Lester Hayes and Alex Karras . What is the problem with these writers and Senior Committee ?

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  • Randy Witke - September 02 2011 10:59 PM

    Jerry Kramer is an absolute must. There should be no disussion about this. Alex Karras also has been neglected, while Paul Hornung was inducted. Both Hornung and Karras were suspended one year for gambling. Stanfel and Butler are sound nominees.

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  • Mike - August 29 2011 08:05 AM

    There are always going to be people who are deserving. Another fine pair of candidates. And I believe, as a Cowboys fan, they have righted some of the wrong by electing Hayes and Wright in recent years, so get off their backs "rasputin".

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  • bachslunch - August 27 2011 11:04 AM

    Agreed that Chuck Howley and Jerry Kramer belong in the HoF, and Dave Robinson has a reasonably good argument also (Joe Robbie would not be eligible as a Senior, only as a regular candidate as a Contributor). But there are only two Senior slots per year, so unfortunately lots of fine players will have to wait. Both Jack Butler and Dick Stanfel are very HoF deserving, they've been waiting longer than most all the rest of the good Senior candidates, and both are in their mid-80s and still alive to enjoy this. I think the Senior committee did well here.

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  • Rasputin - August 27 2011 01:23 AM

    Another Steeler?!?! When is Chuck Howley getting in? The guy was a 6 time Pro Bowler, 5 time first team All Pro selection, and the first defensive player to win Super Bowl MVP. Time for y'all to drop this anti-Cowboys bias.

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  • Mark Pinheiro - August 26 2011 10:45 AM

    The Senior Committee again has over looked Jerry Kramer and Dave Robinson is another Packer that deserves to be in the HOF. Time to put Kramer and Robinson in the HOF!

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  • Wheaton Iceman - August 26 2011 09:37 AM

    The fact that Dave Robinson is passed over year after year is a shame. To be named All Decade for the 1960's is a pretty high honor considering the caliber of Linebackers playing at that time. I believe the selection process should be conducted by people that know a little something about football and the History of the NFL.

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  • Bob Fedowitz - August 26 2011 09:30 AM

    Please take into consideration to the NFL Hall of Fame, a man who so deserves to have been elected there way before now. His name is Joe Robbie. As a person who grew up in the Miami area, I saw all the wonderful, ingredible things Mr. Robbie did for the city of Miami. It is a travesty that Joe Robbie has not or ever been nominated to a place he so deserves to be. Without him, there may never have been my beloved Miami Dolphins, nor the stadium that once beared his name. With all the accomplishments that have been made because of him. All the other so many deserving men who played for the Miami Dolphins. All the Super Bowls that have been played there and the many more to come. Joe Robbie should seriously be considered for enshrinement. No man is more deserving! Thank you for you time and attention. Sincerely, Bob Fedowitz

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  • Slobknocker - August 25 2011 10:03 PM

    Once again Jerry Kramer from Green Bay is left off. Can someone tell me how someone can be on 50 year All Pro team, and not in the Hall. You guys messed it up again

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  • bachslunch - August 25 2011 07:32 AM

    Excellent choices by the Senior committee, now for the second season in a row after a bad run of nominees prior. Good work done here -- both are very deserving.

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