In response to TexasPat's comment:
Does not matter that his teammates were not all great.
In response to ccnsd's comment:
I believe Butkus is overrated quite frankly. He is a worthy hall of famer but how can he be the greatest when he played for only two winning teams and he never played in the playoffs. The Bears defense was mostly average when he played. Other than his first couple of seasons the Bears defense was not that good. He is not as good as Singletary in my opinion or anywhere near Ray Lewis in my opinion.
Butkus never was surrounded by the caliber of players that Singletary was. If anyone was overrated, it was Singletary. Ditto the case with Ray Lewis. Butkus was the Bears' defense in those years. They had little else.
RESPONSE: Not all great? They were terrible! What do you mean, that doesn't matter? Every opponent he faced keyed on him.
Other than his funny beer commercials and his wit there is nothing that makes him the greatest MLB ever. His bears defenses were generally average and the teams usually lost. There is nothing to quantify his greatness.
RESPONSE: Obviously, you've never seen him play...or heard what his contemporaries had to say about him. Yes, the Bears' defenses with him were "average"...but were that good because of him. In addition, his defense was constantly on the field, because the Bears' offense during that time was offensive. The primary reason that they had nothing at QB. The starting QBs for the Bears during his career, from '65-73, were the "great" Rudy Bukich ('65 & '66), Boston College's favorite son Jack Concannon ('67, '69, & '70), Virgil Carter in '68, and Bobby Douglas ('71-'73).
Singletary and Lewis played on historically great defenses with bad QB play yet were in the playoffs constantly.
RESPONSE: Yes!! They were both surrounded with talented players. The '85 Bears were the greatest defensive team of all-time...and the 2000 Ravens were close to it. Opposing offenses could not key on Singletary and Lewis, because of the talent surrounding them. As for bad QB play...Jim McMahon was not a bad QB. Both the Ravens and Singletary's Bears were also under better management at the time they played, which translated into greater team success. When Butkus played, an aging George Halas was winding it down.
What makes Butkus so great? All pro teams, fine, I agree he is a hall of famer but without the media love he would never be considered one of the greatest ever.
RESPONSE: LOL!! As I said above, you've obviously never saw him play. He was the most feared defensive player in the game, during his era.
There is nothing else you can point at that shows he is better, nothing. Under the logic of bad team mates you could argue almost any mediocre player is secretly great.
RESPONSE: How is that logical?? LOL!!
His teammates could not have been that bad, they were NFL Champions just two years before his rookie season which by the way was the best defense he ever played on.
RESPONSE: The "63 were a veteran team, that went downhill fast with age. George Halas believed in playing veterans, kind of like George Allen, but not as extreme. Are you trying to argue that the team got worse because they added Butkus? LOL!!!