Former Cardinals guard Conrad Dobler, who embraced his reputation as Sports Illustrated once wrote as the "NFL's dirtiest player" even as it overshadowed his excellence as a Pro Bowler, passed away Monday at the age of 72.
Dobler told SI in the famous article that "I'll do anything I can get away with to protect my quarterback," and that brought him success on a Cardinals offensive line that set records in keeping quarterback Jim Hart from being sacked very often in the mid-1970s.
Dobler was a fifth-round pick of the Cardinals in 1972 and actually released at the end of the preseason before being re-signed three games into the season. From there, Dobler used the motivation of feeling disrespected to carve out a 10-year career, including the first six with the Cardinals. He also played with the Saints and Bills.
"Our hearts go out to the family, friends and former teammates of Conrad Dobler," Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill said. "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. 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 was a Pro Bowler from 1975-77, and started 77 of 80 games with the Cardinals. The offensive line allowed only eight sacks the entire 1975 season, a remarkable record, and just 40 total in his three Pro Bowl seasons.
Dobler was a key member of the Cardinals' teams that won at least 10 games from 1974-76 under Hall of Fame coach Don Coryell. He also leaned into his persona in famous beer commercials after his career was over.