Big Lead Sports Bar


RIP, Buddy Dial

It's not every day that a Pittsburgh Steeler-related death gets virtually ignored, but today is one of those days. Buddy Dial, a former Steeler wide receiver who's in both the College and High School Halls of Fame, recently passed away at the age of 71 in Houston, Texas.

John Henry Johnson, left, Bobby Layne, Dick Hoak

and Buddy Dial hold the original Steelmark in 1962

He wasn't a Super Steeler, and his last game as a member of the black and gold came in 1963, but I thought it was newsworthy. He was one of those pre-merger players who really took a beating, as he later experienced significant health problems brought on by the abuse of painkilling drugs. Kind of like Brett Favre sans the media adulation.
The PG outlined the significance of Dial's presence to the Steelers' early-'60s passing attack, and it still stacks up against some of the gaudy numbers put up in the modern NFL:
Even though the NFL has turned to a more prolific passing game the past 30 years, Mr. Dial set the Steelers' record for most touchdown receptions in a season, 12, in 1961 -- it has since been equaled by Louis Lipps and Hines Ward. Mr. Dial also ranks 11th in team history with 229 receptions and sixth with 4,723 receiving yards. His 235 yards receiving against Cleveland in 1961 are second in Steelers history. His 1,295 yards receiving in '63 rank sixth highest on the team in a season, and his 42 career touchdowns are fourth.
As your elders will gladly tell you, the Steelers pretty much stunk up until the '70s. But Dial was a part of winning Steeler teams in three of his five seasons, reaching the Playoff Bowl in 1962 and coming within a last-game loss of playing for the NFL championship in 1963.
Dial was a clean-living man, but in a Chad Johnson-esque moment, he did play up one end-zone incident:
Although he was among the league's most accomplished receivers, an enduring vision of Mr. Dial remains on one of NFL Films' blooper films. After he caught a touchdown pass in a 1962 game, Mr. Dial was startled in the end zone when the Steelers male cheerleaders, called the Ingots, fired a cannon packed with powder seemingly right into Mr. Dial's face. A theatrical man by nature, Mr. Dial leaped as if he were truly shot.
It's hard for any Steeler death to make a blip on the radar screen after Myron last week, but Dial was still a noteworthy forefather of Steeler history.
Buddy Dial [Wikipedia]

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