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Cowboys Midsummer Madness, Round One: Gil Brandt vs. Don Meredith

As we head into the summer doldrums, BTB introduces its own form of March Madness to get you through the slow period until training camp: a 64-player "Best Cowboy of all time" tournament! Today’s first round match-up features six seed Gil Brandt facing off against eleven seed Don Meredith

As we inch ever closer to the weekend, BTB helps you get through your day with an other matchup between a great player and a great front office man. Today's face-off is between sixth-seeded Gil Brandt, a man who revolutionized the draft process, and arguably the only player who preceded him as a Cowboy, eleventh-seeded Don Meredith. Who will emerge to face Larry Allen in round two? Read the bios and hit the poll, people!

Wanna keep tabs on the state of the bracket or look ahead to future contests? All the Midsummer Madness info you could ever want can be found right here.


Player: Gil Brandt

Position: vice president of player personnel

Seed: 6


Name Years Career AV Pro Bowls All-Pro RoH HoF
Gil Brandt

Bio: Brandt had served as a part-time scout for the Rams under General Manager Tex Schramm in the 1950s, so when Schramm took command of the newly formed Dallas franchise in 1960, he tagged Brandt to be in charge of scouting. Indeed he served in that capacity for 29 years, overseeing the acquisition of seven Hall of Famers and thirteen members of the Ring of Honor. In 1964, Brandt and his scouting team had a windfall year, selecting three future Hall of Famers in Mel Renfro, Bob Hayes and Roger Staubach.

For much of his career, Brandt was well ahead of the curve. He understood the value of draft picks long before other teams did. As a result, he routinely traded solid players for high draft picks, which he used to selects stars. Using this method, he engineered draft day trades to secure Bob Lilly, Too Tall Jones, Randy White and Tony Dorsett. Imagine: a team that was never worse than 8-6 during the 1970s managed to pick first overall (1974); second overall (1975) and second overall again (1977). In a four-year span, an already loaded team got an infusion of elite talent.

In addition, he helped pioneer many of the scouting techniques used by NFL clubs today, such as creating a coherent, systematic grading system (in fact, the Giants still use the system he developed); using computers to store data on prospects; finding potential prospects in other sports and outside the United States; the use of psychological testing; emphasizing undrafted free agency; scouring small schools and HBCUs for prospects (witness Rayfield Wright, Bob Hayes, and Everson Walls). In addition, he was instrumental in the centralization of the evaluation process, including the development of the NFL Combine.

Selected by Dallas in first round (17th player overall), 1990 … Won rushing crowns in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995 … Led NFL in rushing touchdowns three times … Major contributor to Cowboys Super Bowl XXVII, XXVIII, XXX victories … Named first-team All-Pro 1992-95 … In 1993, named NFL’s MVP and MVP in Super Bowl XXVIII … 11 straight 1,000-yard seasons … Became NFL’s all-time rushing leader in 2002 … Career totals: 18,355 yards and 164 touchdowns rushing; also had 515 receptions … Born May 15, 1969 in Pensacola, Florida. - See more at:


Player: Don Meredith

Position: quarterback

Seed: 11


Name Years Career AV Pro Bowls All-Pro RoH HoF
Joe Donald Meredith

Bio: Meredith is considered by some to be the original Dallas Cowboy; he came to the team before the franchise had adopted a nickname, hired a head coach or conducted any kind of draft. A month before the 1960 draft (in which the fledgling Cowboys did not participate), Meredith signed a personal services contract with Tecon Corporation, owned by Clint Murchison, thus ensuring that he would play for Dallas when and if the prospective team officially became an NFL franchise. They did, and he became the team's first quarterback of note.

Meredith spent his first two years as a backup to Eddie LeBaron, started eight games in 1962, and finally earned the starting job in 1963. As the expansion Cowboys became respectable, Meredith's game improved; in 1965 and '66, he lead the league in yards per completion and, in the second of those seasons, Meredith earned NFL Player of the Year honors while leading the Cowboys to their first postseason berth, something he would continue to do for the duration of his career. Sadly, the 1966 and '67 postseasons were marked by heartbreaking defeats to the Packers in NFL Championship games, the second of which was the famous "Ice Bowl."

Although he never led the Cowboys to a Super Bowl, Meredith had an cannon arm (the longest completed pass - with no yards after catch - was an 83 yard bomb from Meredith to Bob Hayes), and was exceptionally tough; he took a beating while the Cowboys were still in expansion mode, and was booed relentlessly by Cowboys fans who didn't understand the degree to which he was carrying a mediocre team. For his career, Meredith threw for 17,199 yards and 135 touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Bowl 3 times.

Alright, BTBers, which man advances to the next round?

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