|No. 83, 84, 26|
January 17, 1937|
Ponca City, Oklahoma
February 29, 2008 (aged 71)|
|Height:||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Weight:||194 lb (88 kg)|
|High school:||Magnolia (TX)|
1959 / Round: 2 / Pick: 22|
(By the New York Giants)
|* Offseason and/or practice squad member only|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Gilbert Leroy "Buddy" Dial (January 17, 1937 – February 29, 2008) was an American football wide receiver in the National Football League for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys. He played college football at Rice University.
He helped his team achieve bi-district victories his junior and senior years, although they lost the class B regional championship to Sugar Land High School in 1953 and to Barbers Hill High School in 1954.
At 6–1 and 185 pounds, he played as a two-way end at Rice University. In 1956, he had 21 receptions for 357 yards, a 17-yard average, 5 touchdowns, and was selected sophomore lineman of the year in the Southwest Conference.
In 1957, he made 21 receptions (led the Southwest Conference) for 508 yards, a 24.2-yard average, 4 touchdowns and was named All-SWC. He contributed to Rice winning the conference championship in the Cotton Bowl, and was named to the All-Bowl All-Star team.
In 1958, he caught 19 passes (13.9-yard average) for 264 yards and 4 touchdowns. He was the team’s co-captain and Most Valuable Player. He also received consensus All-American and the Columbus Touchdown Club Lineman of the Year honors.
In an era where the offenses where run-oriented, he was recognized as one of the greatest Ends in the Southwest Conference history, even though he recorded only 61 receptions for 1,129 yards with a 18.5-yard average. He also posted 13 career receiving touchdowns, tying the school record set by another Hall of Fame end, James "Froggie" Williams (1946–1949).
In 1971, he was inducted into the Rice Athletics Hall of Fame. In 1993, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. In 2002, he was inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame.
New York Giants
In 1959, he signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he became a star, after being teamed with quarterback Bobby Layne. He held the team record for touchdown receptions in a season (12) and was a two-time Pro Bowler.
In 1961, he registered 53 receptions (tied for eighth in the league) for 1,047 yards (fifth in the league), a 19.8-yard average (third in the league) and 12 touchdowns (second in the league). In 1962, he had one of his most famous moments after scoring a touchdown against the Cowboys. As he ran into the endzone, a loud cannon charge was set off right in front of him (a Steelers tradition), heavily startling him; a moment that has been remembered as one of the NFL's greatest follies.
In 1964, he was traded him to the Dallas Cowboys, in exchange for the rights of their first round draft choice Scott Appleton. However, Appleton ended up signing with the Houston Oilers of the AFL, who had also drafted him in the first round. The shenanigans both teams used in the attempt to sign Appleton was one of Myron Cope's favorite stories and the transaction became known as the "Buddy Dial for Nothing" trade.
In 1964, he started in only one game, after being limited with a torn thigh he suffered in training camp that required surgery. He registered 11 receptions for 178 yards and one touchdown. His best game came against the Pittsburgh Steelers, when he tallied 5 receptions for 100 yards.
In 1966, he was a backup behind Gent, starting in only 3 games, while making 14 receptions for 252 yards and one touchdown. In 1967, he was placed on the injured reserve list after having back surgery.
His time with the Cowboys was a disappointment, where injuries and addictions to prescription drugs limited his playing time. Dial finished his career with 261 receptions for 5,436 yards (20.8-yard average), 44 touchdowns, and 14 yards on 4 rushes.
While playing for the Steelers, he recorded an album of inspirational songs called Buddy Dial Sings on Word Records. In 1966, while still assigned to the Cowboys, he recorded a single with Challenge Records 59352, called Baby/Back In The Old Days. It became a huge hit in various regional areas, topping the Dallas KLIF radio charts in late 1966 and early 1967, but failed to make the national charts.
Injuries during his NFL career led to significant health problems brought on by the abuse of painkilling drugs, before receiving treatment in the late 1980s. On February 29, 2008, he died at the age of 71, because of complications with cancer and pneumonia.