When LeRoy Butler sits down with Charlie Berens to talk Lambeau Leaps, honest to Pete, it's fun
Comedian Charlie Berens spent an hour talking to retired Packers safety LeRoy Butler on his “CripesCast” podcast, and ranking memorable Lambeau Leaps was just half the fun.
A lumbering John Kuhn, whose feet barely got off the ground (something about getting tangled up in a TV crew's cords), scored low. Mason Crosby got points for originality — and a helping hand. Antonio Freeman had good form but got docked for taking the easy route.
As the inventor of the Lambeau Leap, Butler knows a little something about how it’s done, so when it was time to roll the tape on the one he did on Dec. 26, 1993, that started it all, “I gotta give that one a 10,” he said, laughing.
His guest appearance proved to be a mini oral history of the Lambeau Leap, with Butler talking about how it was a completely spontaneous celebration move when he scored his first touchdown on a bitterly cold day during a game against the Los Angeles Raiders.
“OK, again, 17 below. I have on pantyhose, it’s really cold ...” he said, as he set up the clip. He pointed out the part where teammate Doug Evans told him right after his leap that he smelled like beer and how coach Mike Holmgren told him to never do it again or there would be fines.
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And so one of Lambeau Field’s most beloved traditions was born. It was further popularized after wide receiver Robert Brooks wrote a song about it called “Jump in the Stands,” with lyrics that include “my idea came from LeRoy Butler you know, but he stuck to the wall like Velcro.”
Butler shared with Berens the story of how, when President Bill Clinton visited Packers practice at Lambeau in the ’90s, he told Brooks they should slip him a copy of the new song.
“Man, the Secret Service will shoot us,” Brooks told Butler.
But Butler did it anyway.
“Mr. President, my boy Robert Brooks, 8-7, 8-7, has a new song called ‘Jump in the Stands.’ I did the Lambeau Leap, and and he wrote a song about it,” Butler said.
Clinton’s reaction: “What’s the Lambeau Leap?” He stuck it in his coat nevertheless and said he would give it a listen.
“Secret Service is looking like, ‘Hey, it’s the Packers, right? Yeah, you can take it,’” Butler said.
The Lambeau Leap “blew up” after the song, and, if not for Brooks, Butler said the Lambeau Leap would never have become famous. The two of them are just beginning to write a movie about the Lambeau Leap, he said, and he hinted to Berens they may be looking for a narrator down the road.
Butler also talked about his new Leap Premium Vodka that came out in January. The business venture came after a phone conservation with former Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway, who co-founded Gray Duck Vodka in 2018. He was interested in partnering with Butler on a vodka.
“I said, ‘Well, guess what, I don’t drink,’” Butler told him.
“Huh?” Greenway responded. “... Everybody drinks in Wisconsin.”
After reading that 50-Cent doesn’t drink but has his own brand of cognac and Champagne, Butler saw it as a way to reach an audience that some of his other off-the-field projects did not. It was also a chance to be an owner and not just endorse a product.
He already has an idea for his next venture: a 1936 hard lemonade made with his Leap vodka and Milwaukee Brewers great Robin Yount’s Robinade Old School Lemonade. The 1936 in the name a reference to Yount's number (19) and Butler's (36).
Butler said he has a recipe and has reached out to Yount about a possible collaboration.
The “CripesCast” with Butler covered a lot of territory beyond all things leap-related.
Butler, who lives in Oak Creek, talked about growing up with braces on his legs, the many lessons his mother taught him, why he chose to retire in Wisconsin (it’s the people), race relations, how his first name is pronounced differently depending on where you live, his six daughters, ages 16-35, how he met his current wife (whom he married at the Lambeau Field Atrium in 2019) and his love of walleye fishing. Listen to the full podcast here.
Contact Kendra Meinert at 920-431-8347 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @KendraMeinert.