Former Arizona Cardinals guard Conrad Dobler, a standout player who was prevalent in the 1970s, died at the age of 72.
The Cardinals announced the retired athlete’s death on Monday and did not reveal a cause of death. “Our hearts go out to the family, friends, and former teammates of Conrad Dobler,” Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill said in a statement.
“He was the kind of tough, physical, and fierce player that you love to line up with as a teammate and hate to line up against as an opponent.”
“On the field, Conrad was a big reason for the success of the Cardiac Cards of the 1970s,” he continued. “Away from it, he brought authentic joy and caring to everyone who had the privilege of being his friend, and that is what I will remember most.”
Dobler began his NFL career as a fifth-round pick in 1972. Although he played with the New Orleans Saints and Buffalo Bills, he was primarily known for the six seasons he spent with the Arizona Cardinals. He is considered responsible for helping the Cardinals win many games from 1974 to 1976 under Hall of Fame coach Don Coryell and even made it to the Pro Bowl from 1975 to 1977.
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Conrad Dobler’s notorious skills that branded him as the NFL’s ‘dirtiest’ player
The NFL star retired from the league in 1981, but he would go down in history as the league’s “dirtiest player” for his troublemaker ways. ESPN once voted him the No.1 dirtiest player, noting that he “punched Mean Joe Greene, he kicked Merlin Olsen in the head, he bit, he gouged, and once, he spit on a downed and injured opponent, the Eagles’ Bill Bradley.”
The 6’3″, 260-pound All-Pro right guard even recognized his scandalous routes to success in multiple Sports Illustrated articles. “I’ll do anything I can get away with to protect my quarterback,” Dobler admitted, per a 1977-issued article.
Dobler also openly shared he preferred physical violence as a means of getting under his opponents’ skin. “Verbal abuse could take all day. A faster and more efficient way to aggravate and intimidate people is to knock the stuffing out of them,” he explained. “Of course, I’m vindictive. I was a fifth-round draft choice, and who ever heard of a player from Wyoming?”
Needless to say, his presence will be deeply missed throughout the NFL and the Arizona Cardinals franchise.
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