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|Date of birth:||August 17, 1949|
|Place of birth:||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Height:||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight:||225 lb (102 kg)|
|High school:||Covington (LA) Pine View|
|NFL draft:||1971 / Round: 1 / Pick: 10|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
Isiah "Butch" Robertson (born August 17, 1949 in New Orleans, Louisiana) is a former professional American football player who played linebacker for the Los Angeles Rams (1971–1978) and the Buffalo Bills (1979–1982). He was selected to six Pro Bowls during his years with the Rams. He picked off 25 passes in his career, returning three for touchdowns. He scored a fourth touchdown on a fumble recovery in 1978. According to Rams and Bills records, Robertson also sacked the quarterback 25½ times and recorded 16 fumbles in his career.
Isiah Robertson combined size, strength, quickness, speed, toughness, and a knack for making the game-breaking play. Isiah was one of the NFL's fastest linebackers. He was clocked at 4.6 in the 40-yard dash.
In 1970, his senior year at Southern University, he made 112 tackles and had 45 assists. Isiah was chosen to The Sporting News and TIME 1970 All-American team in 1970 as well as being named AP and UPI small college All-American Teams. Isiah returned an interception 102 yards for a game-winning touchdown against Grambling with only a few seconds to play.
He still holds the longest interception record (102 yards) and had 11 interceptions in 3 years. He concluded his college career by receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in business marketing.
He was a first-round draft choice of the Los Angeles Rams in 1971, the 10th player chosen overall.
In 1971, Isiah's rookie year, he established himself as one of the NFL's new stars, replacing the departed Jack Pardee as the Rams' starting strongside linebacker. He was voted Defensive Rookie of the Year, selected Second-team All-NFL and also chosen to the Pro Bowl, played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Rams posted an 8-5-1 record, but missed the playoffs by half a game. The game which cost the Rams the playoffs might very well have been Isiah's first, when the Rams lost 24-20 to the New Orleans Saints when fellow rookie Archie Manning scored a touchdown on the game's final play.
In 1973 Robertson was voted First-team All-Pro. It was one of the best seasons of his brilliant career. He intercepted 3 passes that season and returned one interception 49 yards for a touchdown against the New York Giants on Monday Night Football. It was the first touchdown of his career. Isiah Robertson was considered by many as the best linebacker in the NFL. The Rams finished with a great 12-2 record and won the Western division.
In 1974, Isiah had an excellent season making All-Pro once again and named to his third Pro Bowl. The Rams posted a 10-4 record and won the Western division title again. In the playoffs, the Rams played the Washington Redskins. In the 4th quarter, with the Rams leading the Redskins only 13-10, Isiah intercepted quarterback Sonny Jurgensen's pass and ran 59 yards for a touchdown that sealed a 19-10 victory for the Rams.
In 1975 was voted All-Pro and made the Pro Bowl for the fourth time. He intercepted 4 passes for 118 yards and 1 touchdown. On Monday Night Football, against the Philadelphia Eagles, Isiah intercepted a pass and ran 76 yards for a touchdown showcasing his great speed. The Rams beat the Eagles 42-3. In 1975 the Rams finished with a 12-2 record and won their division. In the playoffs, the Rams defeated the explosive St. Louis Cardinals 35-23. The Los Angeles Rams would face the Dallas Cowboys in the 1975 NFC Championship game.
In 1978, his last year with the Rams, he was credited with 25 tackles, 4 sacks, and 2 fumble recoveries. Isiah returned a fumble 16 yards for a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings in a Rams 34- 17 victory. He only started 6 of the 13 games he played in, losing his starting job to Bob Brudzinski. Robertson may be best known for a play in the 1978 season, when, while attempting to tackle then-rookie Houston Oilers running back (and NFL Hall Of Famer) Earl Campbell, Robertson was head-butted in the sternum and run over by Campbell on his way down the field against the Rams. The play is often shown as a part of NFL Films highlights; especially those concerning Campbell. What is not commonly known is that Campbell was knocked out of that game by a hard hit to his thigh.
After the season, the Rams traded Isiah to the Buffalo Bills. After he was traded Robertson signed a 4-year $1 million contract making him among the highest paid NFL linebackers, averaging $250,000 a season. In 1979, in his first year as a member of the Bills, Isiah brought his 8 years experience and football savvy to the young Bills linebacking corps, which included standout rookie Jim Haslett. He had another outstanding year. Isiah registered 96 tackles, a quarterback sack, recovered 2 fumbles, and had 2 interceptions. In a game against the Cincinnati Bengals, he intercepted a pass and ran 23 yards for a touchdown. It was the last touchdown of his career.
In 1980, Isiah had 85 tackles. The Bills posted an 11-5 record and won the Eastern division. They lost 20-14 in the playoffs to the San Diego Chargers.
In 1981, Robertson had 50 tackles and 31 assists for a total of 81 tackles. The Buffalo Bills posted a 10-6 record and were a wild card team in the playoffs. They defeated the New York Jets 31-27 in the playoffs and then lost to the Cincinnati Bengals in another playoff game.
Isiah would play one more year, 1982, in which he was a backup.