Fans of the New Orleans Saints and the former St Louis Cardinals before they moved to Arizona are mourning a loss this morning. I would hazard to say most NFL fans who consider themselves to be "old school" are feeling a bit misty-eyed as well. One of the game's best offensive linemen who was known to play the game with "extra enthusiasm" has died.

The family of Conrad Dobler, a mainstay of some 129 regular-season NFL games, announced that he passed away on Monday at the age of 72. Dobler spent six seasons with the then St Louis Cardinals and two more with the Saints in New Orleans and two more playing for the Bills in Buffalo. During his time on the field, Dobler was known as a fierce competitor on the offensive line.

He was also known around the league as the NFL's dirtiest player, a charge Dobler never denied. His reputation landed him on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine that featured the headline Pro Football's Dirtiest Player. Dobler said in an interview in that issue of SI that he would and we are paraphrasing, "do anything he could get away with to protect his quarterback".

Conrad Dobler played in the NFL when it was a physical game. The rules had not been adjusted to protect "investments" under the center. So, the protection of the quarterback was key to helping an NFL team win. Dobler did it as well or better than most. His play on the field earned him three consecutive Pro Bowl invitations. His reputation made him a celebrity off the field.

As you can see he parlayed his image as a troublemaker into a brief stint as a beer hawker for Miller Lite. And if we are being honest and nostalgic, that era of the "Taste Great, Less Filling" campaign of commercials for Miller Lite were some of the best sports-themed commercials ever created.

Dobler died Monday in Pueblo Colorado. He was 72.

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