Dick Butkus of the Chicago Bears was the prototypical NFL linebacker who defined the position for nine seasons. From his rookie year of 1965 through the first nine games of the ’73 season, Butkus was considered one of the most intimidating tacklers and pass rushers in the league. A two-time All-America selection at the University of Illinois, Butkus went on to the NFL where he recorded 22 interceptions and 27 fumble recoveries during his nine-year tenure. He enjoyed his most prolific season in 1970 when he made 132 tackles, 84 assists, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries. This is Butkus’ signed game-worn Chicago Bears Riddell football helmet from the early 1970's. It shows plenty of contact marks and game wear as even the gray, triple-bar facemask (9” wide by 9” high) has become dislodged over time. This signature in silver marker across the right side of the helmet rates a 9/10 and includes his uniform #51 and "HOF 79."
The navy blue plastic shell sports the club's newly christened "C" decals for the 1973 season on either side. The gray, three-bar face mask is intact, as are the snap-on ear pads and padded crown on the interior. Adhered within is a portion of the "RIDDELL" warranty sticker, while Butkus' number "51” can be found in vintage black marker on the inside of both ear holes with the left side version significantly more faded over time. This piece of Sunday gridiron apparel also bears a number of interesting style features, the combination of which are unique to Butkus including the shell style (large, spherical), snubber (cream colored), and the interior (leather headband. The prized heirloom displays significant wear throughout in the form of scuff marks and paint transfers.
Includes a letter of provenance from the Newport Sports Museum. Pre-certified by PSA/DNA (auto.).