Remember the guy who jumped out of the stands and caught a Kevin Butler field goal? He still has the ball…and fans haven’t forgotten him.
It was 11 years ago..just an ordinary Monday night game between the powerful Green Bay Packers and their arch-rivals in Chicago.
Bears’ fan Mike Pantazis was seated in the end zone..just off the tunnel at Soldier Field when a spur of the moment idea to grab a souvenir turned him into a cult hero. He’s been on national TV and he hasn’t lost his enthusiasm, especially now with the Bears off to a perfect start.
His basement has become a shrine to the catch, with Bears memorabilia and other mementos from his 15-minutes of fame hanging on the walls. But the two most significant pieces in his collection – the ball and his ESPY award – aren’t on display.
"They’re so special," Pantazis says. "I don’t want anything to happen to them."
Both items are kept in a secure location so they aren’t damaged or stolen, he says. Butler increased the ball’s sentimental value years ago by autographing it: "I kick it; You catch it, Kevin Butler."