Gil Brandt Dallas Cowboys & National Football League

“The first thing we had to do was understand what a football player was made of. We’d look at things like strength, explosion, competitiveness, agility and balance. Then…We had to put a value on what we were looking for.”

Gil Brandt was a highly-regarded personnel administrator during his 29-year career with the Dallas Cowboys (1960-1988). Brandt, the vice president of player personnel for the Cowboys, helped Dallas grow into one of the most powerful and popular sports franchises in America. His innovative management and personnel systems are standard operating procedure today.

It was Brandt’s eye for talent and the scouting systems he put in place that helped transform the Cowboys from an expansion team in 1960 into “America’s Team” just seven seasons later. The Cowboys put together 20 consecutive winning seasons (1966-1985), appeared in five Super Bowls including victories in two (Super Bowls VI and XII) during his tenure.

Brandt oversaw the drafting of nine Cowboys’ players who are now enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame beginning with Dallas’s first ever pick in 1960, defensive tackle Bob Lilly, and culminating with his final first-round pick in 1989, quarterback Troy Aikman. That list also includes a pair of seventh-round selections in tackle Rayfield Wright and receiver Bob Hayes and a 10th round draft choice in quarterback Roger Staubach.

Brandt was the first one to use computers for scouting and talent evaluations, the first one to use psychological tests to evaluate the mental makeup under pressure. It was the way he and the Cowboys graded college prospects that led to building the NFL Scouting Combine to streamline the evaluation process. The event has now grown into a three-day production ahead of the annual NFL Draft.

He began working for NFL.com as a historian and player analyst since the site’s inception in 1995. Brandt is also regarded as a draft expert and provides his insight through columns on NFL.com and appearances on radio shows nationwide each week during the season.

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