(CBSDFW.COM) – From leading the Dallas Cowboys front office to helping create the NFL Combine to making the draft more interactive, Gil Brandt has done it all. And now, his contribution to the game of football will be recognized as he gets enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Brandt has already compiled a scrapbook of memories ahead of the enshrinement ceremony in August as he thinks about the exclusive company he’s set to join.
“I’m number 321, and there’s 326 of us… I don’t know if anything like that ever sinks in,” he said.
If the small number of people who can ever say they’re a Hall of Famer doesn’t remind Brandt of how special the honor is, his increased visibility in his own neighborhood certainly does.
“A lot of people recognize me on the street and congratulate me… I go to the grocery store, and I’ll have women [and men] come up to me and congratulate me… all of a sudden… it was like I’m a nobody and now I’m a somebody,” Brandt said.
Far from a nobody, Brandt will always sit on the Mount Rushmore of people who made the Cowboys who they are today. He’ll also be known as the league’s founding father of evaluating talent.
“I have to thank Clint Murchison because he supplied the money… to Tex Schramm because he let us do it… and Tom Landry because he embraced the idea,” he said.
When fans see the modern-day NFL Combine and the art of measuring players beyond their college game highlights, they should know it started with Brandt.
“The combine was started to give players physicals,” Brandt said. “In 1977… we did a few drills… vertical… standing broad jump… 40-yard dash.”
Brandt also worked with the league when the NFL Draft first became interactive.
“The draft is now the second most talked about event and the other is the Super Bowl,” he said.
The Hall of Fame inductee decided to choose Cowboys owner Jerry Jones as his presenter at enshrinement ceremony. Jones is known for breaking up the trio of Brandt, Schramm and Landry when he bought the team in 1989.
“More than anything, I wanted to do that to show that you don’t hold a grudge,” Brandt said.
How does Brandt sum up his legendary journey?
“I thought I was pretty good… but I was better than I thought I was,” he said.