"Bullet Bill"


4:45 p.m.

I recently learned that one of my favorite Hall of Fame members, Bill Dudley, is being honored by his hometown of Bluefield, Virginia.  It is a richly deserved recognition.  Bill is already in the Pro Football and College Football Halls of Fame, and should be a charter member of the All-Time Good Guys Hall of Fame when someone decides to start one. 
For those not familiar with Bill Dudley’s pro football accomplishments, let me start by stating that he may well be the most versatile player ever to step on an NFL playing field.  That’s saying a lot considering all the greats the game has produced.  Bill played nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers (1942, 1945-46), Detroit Lions (1949-49), and Washington Redskins (1950-51, 1953).

{GALLERY}Now, my intention is not to bore you with a bevy of stats on Bill, but consider this; “Bullet Bill” as he was known, ran for a 55-yard touchdown in his first pro game.  That was, however, just the beginning.  During his nine-year pro football career – which was interrupted for two years while serving his country during World War II as a B-29 pilot in the South Pacific – Bill scored nine different ways (there are only ten ways a player can score).  Add to that, in 1946, his first full season back after the war, he captured pro football’s “Triple Crown,” winning three individual statistical championships (rushing, punt returns, and interceptions) in the same season.  He actually led the league in a fourth category, lateral passes attempted, but that is no longer a statistical category in the record book. 

Alright, you can stop trying to figure out the nine ways he scored.  Here they are: he scored touchdowns passing, rushing, receiving, and on punt returns and kick returns, interceptions, and on a fumble recovery.  He also kicked field goals and PATs.  The tenth way of scoring that eluded him was by way of a safety.  One more thing, in 1947, Bill scored 13 touchdowns on one punt return, one kickoff return, seven receptions, and four rushes.  Imagine the salary a player of his versatility would command today.

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Written by: Joe Horrigan