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RIP to Conrad Dobler, the Unapologetic 'Dirtiest Player in NFL History'

Bettmann. Getty Images.

It is with a heavy heart that this Boomer announces the sad passing of legendary NFL guard Conrad Dobler, dead all too young at the tender age of 72. 

Yahoo - Former NFL offensive guard Conrad Dobler died at the age of 72, the Arizona Cardinals announced Monday. The team did not give a cause of death.

Dobler began his career with the Cardinals, who at the time played in St. Louis, after being drafted in the fifth round of the 1972 draft out of Wyoming. He made three Pro Bowls with the team from 1975-1977.

Dobler and future Hall of Famer Dan Dierdorf were on the same Cardinals' offensive line in 1975 that allowed only eight sacks in one season (sacks weren't counted as an official statistic until 1982). Dobler went on to play for the New Orleans Saints and Buffalo Bills to close out his 10-year career. He played in 129 regular-season games.

It's rare indeed that an interior lineman achieves the high honor of becoming a household name across America, but Dobler did. For his blocking, to be sure. But talent was only a small percentage of his fame. Which is to say, his infamy. Because over the course of his stellar career, Conrad Dobler became known for one aspect of his football above all others:

Dirty play. His name was invoked so regularly for his vicious style that it could've been listed between "foul" and "illegal" in the thesaurus under "dirty." You Millennials and Zoomers have had your Albert Haynesworths, your Ndamukong Suhs, your Vontaze Burficts, and of course your Mac Joneses. But they merely walk in the footsteps along the Unsportsmanlike Trail that Dobler blazed. 

Best of all, he embraced it. Like a great wrestling heel, he created this image and never broke character. He was a figure out of a different time the violent game he chose. In fact, like any great WWE villain, he spun it into comedy gold. I'll die on the hill of arguing the Miller Lite commercials of the late 1970s-80s represent the greatest campaign in the history of advertising. And I feel like I'm one of maybe 10 people in America still making reference to Dobler's. It comes up whenever I'm trying to start a bargument. But usually just gets a shrug from people who have no memory of what I'm talking about:

There's no doubt in my mind the NFL's Copyright Cops will kick in the door of this establishment and haul this video out with its hands ziptied behind its back. But I'll link it here anyway. Just in the hopes some people can hear Dobler explain how much he enjoys a "Snot Bubbler." Which was his term for when he'd hit someone so hard a snot bubble would appear in his nostril. And how he'd get Snot Bubbled too, only to get up and vow to the guy who Snot Bubbled him that he'd find him before the game was over. Come for that, stay for Dan Dierdorf saying how he and a teammate went out for beers to celebrate the day Dobler got cut. Only to have him return two weeks later and immediately start fighting everyone on the Cardinals roster.

Giphy Images.

This is how American manhood used to be represented. Tough. Aggressive. With a mean streak as wide as an aircraft carrier battle group. Unrepentant about how nasty they were. But ready to take a hit as well as dish one out. That is, before two-ply soft, puss generations like mine got TV remotes and game controllers in our hands and became more sofa than man. To the point where today, the existence of a man like Conrad Dobler is almost unimaginable. A relic from a bygone era. Like a frozen caveman thawed out, sent to the U. of Wyoming, stuffed into a helmet and pads, and unleashed upon an unsuspecting world. 

So rest in peace, legend. The peace you gave no one with the misfortune to line up across from you in the interior of all those offensive lines. Conrad Dobler's kind passes this way but once.