July 03, 2007

The Dirtiest Man in Football: - Conrad Dobler and his part in the battle between the retired players and the Players Union.

posted by apoch to football at 06:06 AM - 14 comments

Thanks for this, apoch. It's a nice piece of writing, and a good look at one of the "old school" from the days before NFL stood for No Fun League. Conrad Dobler comes across as more of an over-extended, harried small-businessman who has had more than his share of bad luck, than he does as a crusading ex-football player. The denouement is yet to be written, but one can only hope that the story ends well.

posted by Howard_T at 09:13 AM on July 03, 2007

It is criminal the way we treat our retired workers in this country, and the pension system is not always fair, HOWEVER, Athelets today make more money in a year than most people make in a lifetime. There is education available to them for the sole purpose to prepare them for the life after Pro Sports. And still, at an alarming rate, we see athletes with little or no money left for the future. Cars, homes, land, toys, and bling will take away their nest egg. After the estate sales to pay back taxes, they are left with nothing or still in debt. And they are only in their 30's or 40's. Many have a college degree, but no education. Obviously this does not apply to all athletes, but you get my drift. I have a back injury from a job I had 20 years ago. Do you suppose they will help me now? I wish I had a portion of their money to save, invest,or even bury in the back yard. Time to get a job.

posted by scuubie at 09:15 AM on July 03, 2007

Athletes of today need to have their "posse" and "posses" cost money. (j/k) A lot of the athletes just think that the money will keep coming. They buy the big houses, the big cars, etc. A few divorces later and a knee injury here and there, they are standing on corners begging for cash.

posted by Knuckles at 09:52 AM on July 03, 2007

That certainly was a rose-colored look at a total asshole. If they wanted to push the retired player pension angle, you would think they would find someone at least a little sympathetic.

posted by bperk at 10:22 AM on July 03, 2007

Athletes today may make huge sums of money, but many of the players from "back in the day" didn't.

posted by drezdn at 10:25 AM on July 03, 2007

" Back in the day " a lot of players had a job during the off season. This taught them what it was like to earn a real living rather than being paid huge sums because they stayed in the gym to build muscle or field ground balls or practice jump shots when they should have been in class getting a real education. FOR FREE. No sympathy from this fan. If you want to dance you gotta pay the fiddler.

posted by Ironhead at 11:36 AM on July 03, 2007

This guy kinda reminds me of my ole boss Hugh Harris, an ex-NHL player from the 70's. His reminiscions and complaints, plus the cursing like a sailor bit are totally Hughie. He would lement how little he got paid compared to now and how spoiled athletes are in general these days. He himself has had a couple of knee operations like Dobler...man its spooky the similarities. It is sad that the millionaire, heck even hundred-thousandaire,(da bench warmers) players of the NFL wont give more to these guys who really need it for health reasons. Especially when you consider how popular the NFL is now, revenues have got to be at record highs, but the NFLPA cant find it in themselves to give to its retirees in need. Very sad.

posted by dezznutz at 12:30 PM on July 03, 2007

How can you not feel sympathy for retired NFL players, given the toll the game exacts on their bodies? From the article:

It's the Vicodin that frees him to creak up and down the three concrete steps from the curb to his office door, which he does these days by shifting his body sideways and hobbling up one by one, using his glossy black cane for leverage.
Dobler's definitely an asshole, and this article's writer goes way too far in excusing it, but I still feel sorry for him. The NFL chews up and spits out its athletes.

posted by rcade at 01:05 PM on July 03, 2007

Well I'll tell ya that if the players of today had half the heart and played for love of the game the way some of the old ballplayers back in the day did and not just play for the $$$ we wouldn't have these kind of problems. Don't get me wrong guys like TO are talented but it is such a shame to see them waste their talent on press conferences and publicists instead of focusing on the game and cheap shots. I remember watching the galloping ghost Red Grange play the game and I tell ya you could just feel the electricity in the air every time he got the ball. I mean you just knew something was going to happen. I remember one time when he and Iwere fishing and sharing a tater shoe sandwich he told me that he played one whole season with both his legs amputated and gave all his mone to charity and never once saw fit to complain. Well thanks for giving an old windbag like me the cahnce to just say whats on his mind . Now I gotta take my grandkids to the Super Bowl so I gues I'll just stop here. The Old THX512

posted by THX-1138 at 02:40 PM on July 03, 2007

No sympathy from this fan. If you want to dance you gotta pay the fiddler. Right, athletes are just a bunch of dancing monkeys and once they can't dance anymore, fuck 'em. Might as well put 'em to sleep.

posted by yerfatma at 03:35 PM on July 03, 2007

I don't see a problem with that, so long as the DNA is properly harvested and preserved. (*starts new THX tracker on username chart)

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 03:42 PM on July 03, 2007

Soylent Green is made of NFL Hall of Famers!

posted by The_Black_Hand at 08:23 AM on July 04, 2007

THIS JUST IN: Science now confirms that if a person devotes their life to violence, including but not limited to football, rodeo, boxing, demolition derby, gang membership, etc., upon reaching "the golden years" they will probably suffer lingering pain. In order to avoid this suffering they should consider a career with a better retirement plan, like teaching grade school, where they will make millions of dollars and be hailed as heroes in the media.

posted by texoma-slim at 09:18 AM on July 04, 2007

The NFLPA Mission Statement: "We, the National Football Players Association, pay homage to our predecessors for their courage, sacrafice, and vision"... Seems like this multibillion dollar industry treats this Mission Statement more like Mission Impossible. It is ironic that Conrad Dobler, who is 90% disabled (apparently if the man can still breath he is not disabled enough), receives more assistance from an individual in another sport than he does from the sport he played a decade in. Unsolicited gestures like this are apparently commonplace for Phil Mickelson and are rarely publicized. At a recent event, the NFL asked Conrad Dobler and Dan Dierdorf not to use their canes because it might make the league look bad. I suppose if either man fell and exacerbated their football injuries the league would not be concerned. Is the league not concerned how bad they look when a NBA owner has done more for the Kramer Gridiron Greats Fund than anyone in the NFL or that it was three baseball players who helped former Viking Brent Boyd when he was homeless? Conrad Dobler helped transform the "For God, For Country, For 4-9-1" St. Louis Cardinals into the "Cardiac Cardinals" - one of the most exciting teams to watch in the mid 70s. He also tied a NFL record for the fewest sacks allowed in a season. Dobler became a household name almost overnight. Some opponents remarked that if Dobler played at midnight he would be a pro bowl player. Soon after, St. Louis played on Monday Night Football and Alex Karras opened the telecast pretending to be Dobler by wearing fangs. ABC then showed the fans holding signs "Do It Dirty Dobler", etc. which they likely provided. TV began isolating on Dobler and showed him on instant replays just to see what he was doing. This revealed that Dobler was one of the best offensive linemen in the league. Someone asked me last year who my favorite golfer was and I responded that I did not have one. I have one now.

posted by longgreenline at 02:46 AM on July 08, 2007

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