A long strider yet also a smooth, crisp route runner, Carroll Dale was the Packers’ big-play receiver when they won three straight NFL championships under Vince Lombardi from 1965 to 1967. During that span, Dale caught 92 passes for 1,996 yards, a 21.7-yard average per catch, and 14 touchdowns. Dale’s average per catch for all eight of his seasons in Green Bay was 19.7, still the team record for receivers with 150 receptions or more.
While the Packers were unable to sustain their success once Lombardi stepped down as coach following the 1967 season, Dale continued to play at a high level. He was selected to the Pro Bowl three straight years from 1968 to 1970. “To me, Carroll Dale is fantastic. He’s the Don Hutson of the ’60s and ’70s,” fellow receiver Boyd Dowler said in 1970.
Two of Dale’s biggest plays came in NFL championship games following the 1965 and ’66 seasons. When the Packers beat Cleveland for the 1965 title, Dale scored their first touchdown by coming back for an underthrown Bart Starr pass and scoring on a 47-yard play. In the 1966 NFL title game when the Packers beat the Cowboys in Dallas, 34-27, Starr and Dale teamed up on a 51-yard second-quarter touchdown.
In terms of catches, Dale’s most productive regular-season game came in a victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in 1969 when he caught nine passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns. In a loss to Detroit in 1968, he gained 205 yards on six receptions, including two touchdowns.
“He’s as fine a route runner as I’ve ever seen,” Starr said of Dale in 1970. “I think Carroll is deceptive with his speed. Because he runs so smoothly, he eases by a defensive back and the guy hasn’t realized he’s that fast. He runs beautiful routes … What I’m saying is that Carroll is a great artist. He’s really gorgeous to watch run when he runs a route.”
The Packers acquired Dale from the Los Angeles Rams on April 13, 1965, in a straight-up swap for linebacker Dan Currie. Dale had played for the Rams from 1960 to 1964, but never on a winning team.
In his first season in Green Bay, Dale injured a quad muscle against Dallas in the preseason and didn’t become a starter until mid-year. Thereafter, he started every regular-season and postseason game through 1972. He was listed as a flanker his first four years and then as a wide receiver starting in 1969 when the NFL first used the term in its official lineups. In all, Dale played in 111 regular-season games for the Packers and started 106. He caught 275 passes for 5,422 yards and 35 touchdowns. He also started eight postseason games, catching 29 passes and averaging 18.4 yards.
The Packers waived Dale on Sept. 12, 1973, and he was claimed by Minnesota. Packers coach Dan Devine offered Dale a job as a special assistant, but he chose to play a final season with the Vikings. Dale was a backup on a Vikings team that lost to Miami in Super Bowl VIII.
Born April 24, 1938, in Wise, Va. Give name Carroll Wayne Dale.
- Wide Receiver: 1965-72
- Height: 6-2; Weight: 200
- College: Virginia Tech, 1956-59
- Pro Bowl Selection (game played since 1950): 1968, ’69, ’70