Gil Brandt

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Gil Brandt
Gil Brandt.JPG
Personal information
Born: (1932-03-04) March 4, 1932 (age 91) [1]
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
Career information
High school: North Division (WI)
College: Wisconsin
Career history
As an executive:
Career highlights and awards

Gil Brandt (born March 4, 1932) is an American former football executive who was the vice president of player personnel in the National Football League (NFL) for the Dallas Cowboys from 1960 to 1988. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.


Early years

A native of Milwaukee, he attended North Division High School where he was a 150-pound starting defensive back. He also lettered in basketball and track.

He enrolled at the University of Wisconsin, but left after two years.

Professional career

Gil Brandt's name as a member of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor at AT&T Stadium. Gil Brandt ATT Stadium.jpg
Gil Brandt's name as a member of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor at AT&T Stadium.

Brandt worked as a photographer who specialized in new-born babies and was employed as a part-time scout for the Los Angeles Rams based on a recommendation by Elroy Hirsch. [2] In 1958, he was hired as a full-time scout by the San Francisco 49ers.

He served as the Dallas Cowboys' chief talent scout since the club's inception in 1960. He had served as a part-time scout for the Los Angeles Rams under General Manager Tex Schramm in the 1950s. When Schramm took command of the newly formed Dallas franchise in 1960, Brandt was one of the first people he hired. Schramm, Brandt and Coach Tom Landry formed the triumvirate which guided the Cowboys for their first 29 years.

He helped pioneer many of the scouting techniques used by NFL clubs today, [3] such as:

He also made a reputation of acquiring high draft choices by making impactful trades, which were used to select players like Randy White, Ed "Too Tall" Jones and Tony Dorsett. [10]

Brandt's dismissal from the Cowboys on May 2, 1989, completed a purge that began with Jerry Jones' purchase of the franchise just over nine weeks prior on February 25 and also resulted in Landry's ouster and Schramm's resignation. [11]


Following the death of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins on the morning of April 9, 2022, during an interview on a Sirius XM NFL radio show later that same day, a host asked Brandt for his thoughts. Brandt replied that Haskins was "living to be dead, so to speak," and claimed that draft evaluators had criticized Haskins for his work ethic during his transition from college football to the NFL, stating, "It was always something. It was one of those, 'I'm not offsides, but they keep calling me for offsides.' It's a tragic thing. Anytime somebody dies it's tragic, especially when you're 24 years old and you've got your whole life ahead of you. Maybe if he'd have stayed in school an [extra] year, he wouldn't do silly things." [12] Brandt's comments generated significant controversy, including from several other current and former NFL players like Haskins's former teammate Cameron Heyward, who called Brandt's comments "disgraceful," [13] and former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, who called Brandt's comments "unacceptable." [14] Several called for Brandt to lose his job in NFL radio over the comments. [13] [15] Brandt later apologized for the comments in a statement on Twitter, saying he "reacted carelessly and insensitively" and apologizing for his "poor choice of words." [12] [16] [17]

Personal life

After a few years out of football, he returned as a print analyst and draft expert. [18] He currently contributes to as a senior analyst and is a major contributor in selecting the Playboy All-American football team. Brandt has also been responsible for inviting collegiate players to the NFL Draft every year. He is a regular on SiriusXM NFL Radio as a commentator on "Late Hits", "The Endzone", and the "SiriusXM NFL Tailgate Show".

He was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame on April 9, 2015. [19]

He was announced as the 22nd member of the Cowboys' Ring of Honor on November 2, 2018. [20]

On February 2, 2019, it was announced at the annual NFL Honors Awards that Brandt was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and his bust was sculpted by Scott Myers. [21]

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  1. Gil Brandt [@Gil_Brandt] (March 4, 2022). "Today I celebrate … 90 years ... Thank you Sara for the wonderful surprise this morning" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  2. "Brandt has left brand" . Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  3. "There Are No Holes at the Top" . Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  4. "Finding Giants: NFL scout's life not for the pampered" . Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  5. "Cowboys believe in analytics, but instincts as well" . Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  6. The Man Who Devised the Formula to Find NFL Stars
  7. "Cowboys Have MU's Green thinking football" . Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  8. "Austrian Kicker Off To Big Start With Dallas 11" . Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  9. 1 2 "NFL teams put potential stars to the test with exam" . Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  10. "Not easy to trade a veteran" . Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  11. "Brandt Latest to Be Fired in Purge of Cowboys," Los Angeles Times, Wednesday, May 3, 1989. Retrieved August 22, 2018
  12. 1 2 Kika, Thomas (10 April 2022). "Gil Brandt Apologizes for 'Disgraceful' Comments About Dwayne Haskins Dying". MSN. Retrieved 10 April 2022.
  13. 1 2 McGonigle, Justin (9 April 2022). "Gil Brandt Should Never Have Another Interview After His Despicable Comments on Haskins Death -". Steeler Nation. Retrieved 10 April 2022.
  14. Pantuosco, Jesse (9 April 2022). "Former NFL exec Gil Brandt criticizes late Steelers QB Dwayne Haskins in tone-deaf interview". Audacy. Retrieved 10 April 2022.
  15. Whitt, Richie (9 April 2022). "Dwayne Haskins Death: Cowboys Icon Gil Brandt Should Lose NFL Job Over Outrageous 'Eulogy'". FanNation: Dallas Cowboys News, Analysis and More. Retrieved 10 April 2022.
  16. "Ex-Cowboys executive Gil Brandt apologizes for comments regarding Dwayne Haskins' death". The Dallas Morning News. 10 April 2022. Retrieved 10 April 2022.
  17. Fisher, Mike (9 April 2022). "'I Was Careless': Cowboys Icon Gil Brandt Apologizes for 'Insensitive' Remarks on Death of Dwayne Haskins". FanNation Dallas Cowboys News, Analysis and More. Retrieved 10 April 2022.
  18. "Gil Brandt Amazing Memory" . Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  19. "Former Cowboys honored in Texas Sports Hall of Fame," FOX Sports Southwest, Friday, April 10, 2015. Retrieved August 22, 2018
  20. Eatman, Nick. "Cowboys Adding Gil Brandt to the Ring of Honor". Retrieved November 5, 2018.
  21. Former Cowboys vice president of player personnel Gil Brandt named to 2019 Hall of Fame class