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/linebacker.

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.

College career[edit]

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 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. In 2002, he was inducted into the National High School 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, but was waived before the season started.[1]

Pittsburgh Steelers[edit]

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

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.[2] 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.[3]

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.

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.

Personal life[edit]

Dial started Christian devotional services with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys.

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.


  1. ^ "How Steelers Choked On Scott Appleton". Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  2. ^ "Houston Oilers Sign Appleton". Star-News, via Google News. Wilmington, North Carolina. United Press International. February 2, 1964.
  3. ^ "Roamin' Around". Retrieved February 3, 2018.

External links[edit]