Pro Football Hall of Famer Gil Brandt, widely regarded as the architect who helped build the Dallas Cowboys into one of the most successful and popular sports teams of all time, died Thursday, according to the Cowboys. Brandt was 91 years old.
“Gale was at the heart of the early success of the Dallas Cowboys and continued to serve as a great ambassador for the organization for decades afterward,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.
After six decades as an NFL executive — 29 years with the Cowboys — Brandt was inducted into the Hall in 2019.
As vice president of player personnel for the Cowboys, Brandt was praised for his acute ability to recognize player talent — having drafted nine Cowboys players who, like Brandt, are Pro Football Hall of Famers.
His first pick in 1960 was excellent defensive tackle Bob Lilly. His final impact came in 1989 when the Cowboys selected a quarterback named Troy Aikman, according to the Hall of Fame.
In 1964, Brandt seemed to see a future when a kid out of the U.S. Naval Academy was selected in the 10th round of that year’s draft. Although Roger Staubach was a Heisman Trophy winner in college, he needed to complete four years of service before joining the team in 1969.
“Staubach came to us as a 27-year-old rookie,” Brandt told NFL.com in 2016. “Even while he was on duty, he would write to me, asking for footballs to practice on – one time, he asked me to send more after the consignment we sent was blown up by a mortar shell.
The patience of Brandt and the Staubach cowboys paid off. The two-time Super Bowl champion was 85-29 as a starter and was inducted into the Hall in 1985.
With Brandt behind the scenes, Dallas appeared in five championship games, winning Super Bowls VI and XII. The team dominated from 1966 to 1985, achieving 20 consecutive winning seasons while adopting the nickname “America’s Team.”
According to the Hall of Fame, Brandt is credited with being “the first person to use computers to evaluate scouts and talent and the first individual to use psychological testing to evaluate the mental makeup of potential players under pressure.”
These types of successful evaluations were copied and developed into what is now known as the NFL Scouting Combine. Brandt is also credited with helping build the annual Player Draft into a three-day made-for-TV event.
“His innovative approach to scouting and evaluating players has helped the organization find players who were overlooked by others. The result has been the discovery of future Cowboys from smaller colleges, or even from basketball or college teams,” said Jim Porter, president of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Track in college.”
“He is credited with developing the use of computers in the front offices of professional football teams, but the real computer was the one in his head, where he stored an incredible amount of information that he loved to share with anyone who appreciated the game as much as he did.”
After his long stint with the Cowboys, Brandt used his experience as an analyst for NFL.com and on national radio broadcasts, according to the Hall of Famer.
Jones capped his devotion to Brandt by saying, “There are very few people who have been able to make the kind of generational impact that he has. Gill has been as committed to growing this league and the sport as anyone, and we are all grateful for that.”
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