|No. 66, 69|
October 1, 1950 |
|NFL Draft:||1972 / Round: 5 / Pick: 110|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
Dobler was drafted in the fifth round out of the University of Wyoming in the 1972 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. He played right offensive guard for the Cardinals from 1972–77, next to Hall-of-Famer Dan Dierdorf at right tackle. In those years, the Cardinals had solid offensive lines, especially for pass blocking; they allowed just eight sacks in all of 1975, then a record (though helped by quick releases from quarterback Jim Hart). Dobler was an important cog of this success, making three consecutive Pro Bowl appearances from 1975–77.
Dobler quickly developed a reputation as a nasty player, and he did little to tone down that image. On the contrary, he seemed to revel in it, probably believing that this would intimidate some defensive players, as indicated by the following quote: "I see defensive linemen jump to knock a pass down. When that happened near me, I'd smack 'em in the solar plexus, and that got their hands down real quick." As sportswriter Paul Zimmerman said: "Conrad Dobler was mean dirty. He tried to hurt people in a bad way...he made teams that he played on better. He played hurt, didn't complain, but he was a filthy, filthy player." He made the cover of Sports Illustrated, who heralded Dobler as "Pro Football's Dirtiest Player".
Saints and Bills
In 1978, the Cardinals traded Dobler to the New Orleans Saints, where he played for the next two years. Dobler then spent his final two final seasons with the Buffalo Bills, retiring after the 1981 campaign.
Dobler, known for such transgressions as punching Mean Joe Greene, spitting on a downed and injured opponent Bill Bergey, and kicking Merlin Olsen in the head, parodied his image in a Miller Lite beer commercial by getting a section of fans to argue the eternal question, "Tastes Great! Less Filling!" (Olsen got a measure of symbolic revenge by placing Dobler's name on a headstone in a scene from Olsen's TV series Father Murphy). Dobler paid a high price for his NFL career, having suffered through numerous operations to repair his battered body. Now disabled, Dobler has had nine knee replacements. Still in need of further surgeries, Dobler, like many other disabled pro football veterans, has been unable to gain disability assistance from the NFL.
On April 5, 2007, The Buffalo News reported that as a result of falling out of a hammock in 2001, Dobler's wife Joy became a paraplegic. Substantial medical bills for Joy's care put the Dobler family in such financial hardship that they could no longer pay for their academically gifted daughter Holli or their son Stephen to attend college. Champion golfer and philanthropist Phil Mickelson heard of the situation on ESPN and volunteered to pay for Holli's education at Miami University in Ohio and Stephen's at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. On June 21, 2018 Dobler will be enshrined into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame in Troy, Michigan.
- Dobler, Conrad; Carucci, Vic (1988). They Call Me Dirty. Putnam Adult. ISBN 978-0399133992.
- Dobler, Conrad (2009). Pride and Perseverance: A Story of Courage, Hope, and Redemption. Foreword by Dan Dierdorf. Triumph Books. ISBN 978-1600782985.
- "Dirtiest Professional Team Players". ESPN.com. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
- "Pro Football's Dirtiest Player". Sports Illustrated. July 25, 1977. ISSN 0038-822X.
- Weinreb, Michael. "A Dirty Shame". ESPN.com. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
- DiCesare, Bob (April 5, 2007). "Golf champ helps an ex-Bill". The Buffalo News.
- Conrad Dobler career statistics