Buddy Dial

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Buddy Dial
No. 83, 84, 26
Position:Wide receiver
Personal information
Born:(1937-01-17)January 17, 1937
Ponca City, Oklahoma
Died:February 29, 2008(2008-02-29) (aged 71)
Houston, Texas
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:194 lb (88 kg)
Career information
High school:Magnolia (TX)
NFL Draft:1959 / Round: 2 / Pick: 22
(By the New York Giants)
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:98
Receiving yards:5,463
Player stats at NFL.com
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.

Early years[edit]

Dial was born in Ponca City, Oklahoma, but grew up in Magnolia, Texas. He attended Magnolia High School, where he played six-man football, while being a three-time All-District End and linebacker.

He helped his team achieve district titles in 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.

In 2002, he was inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame.

College career[edit]

Dial accepted a football scholarship from Rice University. At 6–1 and 185 pounds, he played as a two-way end. 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 an 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.

Professional career[edit]

New York Giants[edit]

Dial was selected by the New York Giants in the second round (22nd overall) of the 1959 NFL Draft. He was waived before the start of the season on September 22.[1]

Pittsburgh Steelers[edit]

On September 24, 1959, he was claimed off waivers by the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he became a star, after being teamed with quarterback Bobby Layne.[2]

In 1960, he set a club record by having a 24.3-yard average per reception. He tallied 40 receptions for 972 yards and 9 touchdowns.

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 and a franchise record). He became the first player in team history to gain 1,000 receiving yards and also set a club record with 235 receiving yards in the sixth game against the Cleveland Browns, including the longest pass play in Steelers history (88 yards).[3] He set a franchise record by scoring at least a touchdown in 11 consecutive games.

In 1962, he recorded 50 receptions for 981 and 6 touchdowns. He had one of his most famous moments after scoring a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys. A loud cannon charge was set off right in front of him (a Steelers tradition) as he ran into the endzone; which has been remembered by NFL Films as one of the league's greatest follies.[4] The team made the Playoff Bowl, losing 10-17 against the Detroit Lions.

In 1963, he collected 60 receptions (fifth in the league) for 1,295 yards (second in the league and breaking his club record), a 21.6-yard average (led the league) and 9 touchdowns (tied for seventh in the league).

On January 1, 1964, with the team looking to shore up its defense, he was traded to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for first round draft choice Scott Appleton, who was selected by the Cowboys after previously agreeing to the deal with the Steelers.[5] Appleton ended up signing with the Houston Oilers of the AFL, who had also drafted him in the first round.[6] 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.[7]

Dial left with team records of 229 receptions for 4,723 receiving yards, 42 touchdown receptions, single-season touchdown receptions (12), single-game receiving yards (235), single-season receiving yards (1,295), career yard-per-reception average (21.6) and single-season yards-per-reception (24.3). He was a two-time Pro Bowler.[8]

In 2018, he was inducted into the Steelers Hall of Honor.[9]

Dallas Cowboys[edit]

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 1965, he started 7 games, before being passed on the depth chart by second-year player Peter Gent. He recorded 17 receptions for 283 yards and one touchdown.

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. He announced his retirement in 1968.

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, a 20.8-yard average (second in league history), 44 touchdowns, and 4 carries for 14 yards.

Personal life[edit]

Dial started Christian devotional services with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys. While playing for the Steelers, he recorded an album of inspirational songs called Buddy Dial Sings on Word Records. In 1966, he recorded a single with Challenge Records 59352, called Baby/Back In The Old Days. It became a 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 (eventually losing a kidney), before receiving treatment in the late 1980s. On February 29, 2008, he died at the age of 71, because of complications with prostate cancer and pneumonia.[10]


  1. ^ "Giants Cut Buddy Dial". Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  2. ^ "Steelers Take Dial of Giants". Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  3. ^ "Obituary: Buddy Dial / Steelers end only 5 years but high in record books". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. March 4, 2008. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  4. ^ "Team's male squad had a blast, briefly". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. October 2, 2007. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  5. ^ "1964 draft left lasting impact on Dallas Cowboys, NFL". NFL.com. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  6. ^ "Houston Oilers Sign Appleton". Star-News, via Google News. Wilmington, North Carolina. United Press International. February 2, 1964. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  7. ^ "Roamin' Around". Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  8. ^ "How Steelers Choked On Scott Appleton". Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  9. ^ "Steelers 2018 Hall of Honor Class revealed". Pittsburgh Steelers. July 28, 2018. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  10. ^ "Bettis case rekindles painkiller debate in NFL". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Retrieved February 3, 2019.

External links[edit]