BILL DUDLEY

BILL DUDLEY

Class of 1966
Halfback >>> 5-10, 182
(Virginia)
1942, 1945-1946 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1947-1949 Detroit Lions, 1950-1951, 1953 Washington Redskins

William McGarvey Dudley ... Virginia's first All-American, 1941 ... Steelers' No. 1 draft choice, 1942 ... Unorthodox style, but exceptionally versatile, awesomely efficient ... Won rare "triple crown" (NFL rushing, interception, punt return titles), 1946 ... All-NFL , 1942, 1946 ... Most Valuable Player, 1946 ... Gained 8,217 combined net yards, scored 478 points, had 23 interceptions in career ... Born December 24, 1921, in Bluefield, Virginia ... Died February 4, 2010, at age 88. 

Bill Dudley must have firmly believed that the ball belonged to him. He wanted it all the time. And it seemed there wasn't anything he couldn't do with it. The 5-10, 182-pound halfback ran, passed, punted, and placekicked. He returned punts and kickoffs, caught passes, and was a deadly defender.

Dudley, who was nicknamed “Bullet Bill,” even though he was never considered to be fast, was a first round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1942. He demonstrated from the start that his relatively small size and lack of blazing speed wasn’t a detriment. In the first game of his pro career he ran for a 55-yard touchdown and in his second game scored on a kickoff return. He finished his rookie season as the league’s leading rusher with 696 yards and earned all-league honors.

Dudley’s nine-year National Football League career was unique in that he played three seasons each with the Steelers (1942, 1945-1946), Detroit Lions (1947-1949), and Washington Redskins (1950-1951, 1953). His career was interrupted in 1943 and 1944 when he served with the Army Air Corp during World War II.

He returned to the Steelers during the 1945 campaign. The 1946 season was, for Dudley, one for the record book; as he led the league in rushing, punt returns, interceptions, and lateral passes attempted. Never before had an NFL player led the league in four distinctly different statistical categories, and it’s not likely to happen again anytime soon. Naturally, Bill was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player that year.

The following season, Bill again demonstrated his tremendous versatility when he scored 11 touchdowns for the Lions on one punt return, one interception return, seven pass receptions, and two rushes. Six times Dudley was named first- or second-team All-NFL. He was also named to three Pro Bowls, and more than likely would have been named to more had the annual event not been temporarily discontinued.

Year Team
G
No.
Yds.
Avg.
TD
No.
Yds.
Avg.
TD
Sack
Fum
1942 Pittsburgh
11
162
696
4.3
5
1
24
24
0
0
0
1945 Pittsburgh
4
57
204
3.6
3
0
0
0.0
0
0
1
1946 Pittsburgh
11
146
604
4.1
2
4
109
27.3
1
0
8
1947 Detroit
9
80
302
3.8
2
27
375
13.9
7
0
4
1948 Detroit
7
33
97
2.9
0
20
210
10.5
6
0
6
1949 Detroit
12
125
402
3.2
3
27
190
7.0
2
0
8
1950 Washington
12
66
339
5.1
1
22
172
7.8
1
0
5
1951 Washington
12
91
398
4.4
2
22
303
13.8
1
0
4
1953 Washington
12
5
15
3.0
0
0
0
0.0
0
0
0
Career Total
90
765
3057
4.0
18
123
1383
11.2
18
0
36
                         
Year Team
G
No.
Yds.
Avg.
TD
No.
Yds.
Avg.
TD
1942 Pittsburgh
11
20
271
13.6
0
11
298
27.1
1
1945 Pittsburgh
4
5
20
4.0
0
3
65
21.7
0
1946 Pittsburgh
11
27
385
14.3
0
14
280
20.0
0
1947 Detroit
9
11
182
16.5
1
15
359
23.9
0
1948 Detroit
7
8
67
8.4
0
10
204
20.4
0
1949 Detroit
12
11
199
18.1
1
13
246
18.9
0
1950 Washington
12
12
185
15.4
1
1
43
43.0
0
1951 Washington
12
22
172
7.8
0
11
248
22.5
0
1953 Washington
12
8
34
4.3
0
0
0
0.00
0
Career Total
90
124
1515
12.2
3
78
1743
22.3
1
                     
Year Team
G
Int
Yds.
Avg.
TD
FumRec.
Yds.
TD
Punt
Yds.
Avg.
1942 Pittsburgh
11
3
60
20.0
0
0
0
0
18
572
31.8
1945 Pittsburgh
4
2
47
23.5
0
0
0
0
2
36
18.0
1946 Pittsburgh
11
10
242
24.2
1
7
30
0
60
2409
40.2
1947 Detroit
9
5
104
20.8
1
2
0
0
15
657
43.8
1948 Detroit
7
1
3
3.0
0
4
28
1
23
825
35.9
1949 Detroit
12
0
0
0.0
0
1
-2
0
34
1278
37.6
1950 Washington
12
2
3
1.5
0
1
0
0
14
585
41.8
1951 Washington
12
0
0
0.0
0
1
4
0
27
942
34.9
1953 Washington
12
0
0
0.0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0.0
Career Total
90
23
459
20.0
2
17
60
1
193
7304
37.8
Additional Career Statistics: Passing: 222-81-985, 6 TDs, 17 Ints; Scoring: 43 TDs, 33-66 FG, 121-127 XP,

All-NFL: 1942 (OF, AP, IN, NY) • 1946 (UPI, NY, PF) • 1947 (NY, PF, HA) • 1948 (HA)

All-NFL Second Team: 1950 (NY) • 1951 (NY)

All-Pro: 1946 (HA)

All-Pro Second Team: 1946 (AP)

All-Pro Third Team: 1947 (UPI)

(3) – 1942, 1951, 1952

(at time of his retirement following 1953 season)

• [2nd] Longest Punt Return – 96t (vs. Pittsburgh, Dec. 3, 1950)

Steelers’ records held by Dudley
(Records through the 1946 season, Dudley’s final season with Pittsburgh)

• [1st] Most Rushing Yards, Season – 696 (1942)
• [1st] Most Points Scored, Season – 48 (1946)
• [1st] Most Touchdowns Scored, Season – 6 (1942)
• [1st] Most Punts, Season – 60 (1946)
• [1st] Most Yards on Punt Returns, Season – 385 (1946)
• [1st] Best Punting Average (Min. 20 Kicks), Season – 40 (1946)
• [1st] Most Interception Return Yards, Season – 242 (1946)
• [1st] Most Punt Returns, Season – 27 (1946)
• [1st] Most Passes Intercepted, Season – 10 (1946)
• [1st] Longest Kickoff Return – 84 (1942)
• [1st] Greatest Total Yards Gained, Season – 1,861 (1946)
• [2nd] Most Points Scored, Career – 104

Lions’ records held by Dudley
(Records through the 1949 season, Dudley’s final season with Detroit)

• [1st] Most Points Scored, Career – 291 (1946-49)
• [1st] Most Opponent Interceptions, Career – 21 (1946-49)
• [1st] Most Touchdowns Scored, Career – 38 (1946-49)
• [1st] Most Touchdowns Scored, Season – 11 (1947)
• [1st] Most Points Scored, Season – 81 (1949)
• [1st] Longest Punt Return, Game – 84 (vs. Chicago Bears, Oct. 19, 1947)
• [Tied for 1st] Most Extra Points Made, Season – 30 (1949)
• [Tied for 1st] Most Field Goals Made, Season – 5 (1949
• [2nd] Most Rushing Yards, Career – 2,305 (1946-49)
• [2nd] Most Rushing Attempts, Career – 605 (1946-49)

Redskins’ records held by Dudley
(Records through the 1953 season, Dudley’s final season with Washington)

• [1st] Most Field Goals Made, Season – 11 (1953)
• [1st] Longest Punt Return, Game – 94t (vs. Steelers, Dec. 3, 1950)

NFL Statistical Championships
Rushing Titles: 1942, 1946,
Punt Return Titles: 1946
Interception Titles: 1946

Team Statistical Championships
Rushing Titles: 1942, 1946, 1949D
Passing Titles: 1942, 1946
Scoring Titles: 1942, 1945, 1946, 1947D, 1948D, 1949D, 1950W, 1951W, 1953W
Interception Titles: 1946, 1947D
Kickoff Return Titles: 1947D
Punt Return Titles: 1947D, 1949D, 1950W, 1951W

D Detroit Lions W Washington Redskins All other titles with the Pittsburgh Steelers

• 1946 NFL Most Valuable Player (OF)
• 1940s All-Decade Team


Year Team W L T Division Finish
1942 Pittsburgh Steelers 7 4 0 (2nd)
1945 Pittsburgh Steelers 2 8 0 (5th)
1946 Pittsburgh Steelers 5 5 1 (5th)
1947 Detroit Lions 3 9 0 (5th)
1948 Detroit Lions 2 10 0 (5th)
1949 Detroit Lions 4 8 0 (4th)
1950 Washington Redskins 3 9 0 (6th)
1951 Washington Redskins 5 7 0 (3rd)
1953 Washington Redskins 6 5 1 (3rd)

 

Full Name: William McGarvey Dudley

Birthdate: December 24, 1921

Birthplace: Bluefield, Virginia

Died: February, 4, 2010 at age of 88

High School: Graham (Bluefield, VA)

Enshrined into Pro Football Hall of Fame: September 17, 1966

Other Members of Class of 1966: Joe Guyon, Arnie Herber, Walt Kiesling, George McAfee, Steve Owen, Hugh “Shorty” Ray, Clyde “Bulldog” Turner

Pro Career: 9 seasons, 90 games

Drafted: 1st round (1st overall) in 1942 by Pittsburgh Steelers

Uniform Number: #35 with Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins, #44 with Detroit Lions

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