Dallas Cowboys

Original Cowboys triplets are in Hall of Fame: Gil Brandt joins Tom Landry, Tex Schramm

The legendary Dallas Cowboys triumvirate has finally taken its rightful place into football’s ultimate resting place.

Quarterback Troy Aikman, running back Emmitt Smith and receiver Michael Irvin are known as the Hall of Fame “Triplets,” who led the Cowboys to three Super Bowl titles and the team of the decade in the 1990s.

But it was the original triplets of general manager Tex Schramm, coach Tom Landry and scouting director Gil Brandt who built the franchise into champions and set the path for America’s team to become one of the most popular and valuable sports clubs in the world.

Landry and Schramm were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990 and 1991, respectively.

It took Brandt, 85, a little longer but as of Saturday night, he is finally at home where he belongs.

Brandt was one of eight voted in as members of the Hall of Fame Class of 2019.

There are now 17 members of the Hall of Fame with ties to the Cowboys.

“I’m speechless, and that doesn’t happen very often,” Brandt said. “I had a lot thrills in my life. It is unbelievable. I am just so happy I am going in and the Dallas Cowboys have another person in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”

Cornerback Ty Law, CB Champ Bailey, safety Ed Reed, tight end Tony Gonzalez, center Kevin Mawae and seniors candidate safety Johnny Robinson are the other newly enshrined members.

Brandt got in as a contributor candidate along with Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made it as a contributor candidate in 2017. Schramm also made it as a contributor.

A contributor is defined by the Hall as an individual who has made outstanding contributions to professional football in capacities other than playing or coaching.

Brandt contributions during his time with the Cowboys from 1960-1989 and beyond are certainly Hall of Fame worthy.

“Gil Brandt set the standard for all scouts and personnel executives to follow, and aspire to, in the NFL,” Jones said in a statement. “He drafted Hall of Fame players in the first round and in the late rounds and helped build the foundation for the tremendous legacy and success that Cowboys enjoy to this day.

“We are so proud of his accomplishments with the organization and just as grateful for what he has done over the course of the last 30 years an ambassador for the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys and the game of football.”

Brandt interestingly started his professional career as a baby photographer before becoming a part-time scout for the Los Angeles Rams in 1955 and being tapped by Schramm to join him with the Cowboys five years later.

He was the Cowboys’ chief scout from 1960-1989, helping build the franchise from its inception into its America’s team championship legacy with 20 consecutive winning seasons, five Super Bowl appearances and two Super Bowl titles during that time.

He is considered to be the godfather of modern scouting, as he pioneered many of the scouting techniques used by NFL teams today.

He was the first one to use computers for scouting and talent evaluations, and the first one to use psychological tests to evaluate the mental makeup. Brandt and the Cowboys were the first to scout other sports for talent and the first to look outside of the United States for players.

Under Brandt’s guidance, the Cowboys drafted or signed 10 players who are now in the Hall of Fame and 15 who are in the team’s hallowed Ring of Honor.

It was Brandt who started the trend of turning basketball players into football players. His fellow enshrinee Tony Gonzalez, a former college basketball player at California, is a part of that tradition that Brandt began by signing six-time Pro Bowl cornerback Cornell Green as an undrafted free agent in 1962.

He still beams with pride about Green as well as turning an expansion Cowboys team into champions. But he is most proud of how their success helped repair the national image of Dallas following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

“I am so proud we were so fortunate to bring Dallas five Super Bowls, and what we did more than anything is we got rid of the stigma on Dallas because of the death of the president. It’s because of the Dallas Cowboys

“I take all the pride in the world. I am a big Cowboys fan. I love to see them be successful.”

After being fired, along with Schramm and Landry, when Jones bought the team in 1989, Brandt remade himself as an NFL historian, consultant and media personality in what is now a career in pro football that spans more than 63 years. He now works for NFL.com, SiriusXM NFL Radio and helps the NFL run the scouting combine and annual college draft.

But Brandt is a Cowboy at heart and always will be. It all started with him, Schramm and Landry.

“I think you have to thank (then owner) Clint Murchison, Tex Schramm and Tom Landry,” Brandt said. “What we did was revolutionary. Clint supplied the money. Tex was all go with anything that was new and Tom was okay with implementing playing basketball players.

“I think probably Tex, and Tom, and myself had our disagreements, but they were never in public. They were aired in a room. After we left the room, everyone was on the same page.”

And now they are all in the same rightful place.

Brandt and the others will be officially enshrined into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio in August.



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Clarence E. Hill Jr. has covered the Dallas Cowboys as a beat writer/columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 1997. That includes just two playoff wins, six coaches and countless controversies from the demise of the dynasty teams of the 1990s through the rollercoaster years of the Tony Romo era until Jason Garrett’s process Cowboys.
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