Former Titans' Scout C.O. Brocato Deserves to Be Contributor Finalist For The Hall Of Fame

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Discussions of Hall of Fame candidacies from the coach/contributor committees were beefy a year ago, the first year the category was in its current construction and produced one candidate for the entire committee to consider for induction.

Don Coryell, the former Chargers coach and passing-game innovator, became a Hall of Famer out of the spot.

C.O. Brocato
C.O. Brocato/ Courtesy Tennessee Titans

This year, ties in the voting intended to narrow the field to 25 made for 29 semifinalists including Bud Adams, whose complicated case we’ve covered here before, and C.O. Brocato, the heralded scout whose name is on the Titans’ draft room.

He scouted for the Oilers-Titans franchise for 40 years. [Unlocked]

While Brocato is unlikely to jump to the top of the list and earn a posthumous gold jacket and bronze bust as a member of the 2024 class, it would be significant for him to make the field of 12 finalists (or more in the event of a tie or ties) who will be discussed at an Aug. 15 meeting by the sub-committee, of which I am a member.

Looking at the other scouts in the field, and many of the other contributors, I don’t know that there are a dozen who had as lingering an effect as Brocato.

“There are countless scouts around the league who have benefited from C.O.’s generous wisdom,” said Dane Brugler, the respected draft analyst from The Athletic. “This is the man who created the 3-cone drill, which became a combine workout in the mid-90s and is still prominently used today as an evaluation tool. C.O.’s fingerprints are all over the scouting world. Even though he wasn’t on the field on Sundays, his impact behind the scenes is legend - and legends belong in the Hall of Fame…”

“I received my scouting education from several around the league, but C.O. was my most influential teacher. He taught me that being a successful scout wasn’t about being smarter than everyone else, it was about caring more than everyone else. And nobody cared more than C.O. Scouting was his life.

The Titans named their draft room after Brocato shortly before his death in 2015.

For an obituary at the team’s website, legendary personnel man Gil Brandt said Brocato was a giant in connecting college and professional football.

“C.O. was a special person, in that he did more for relations between colleges and the NFL than anyone,” Brandt said. “He was a good evaluator, was very thorough, and more than anything he was loyal to Mr. (Bud) Adams and the Oilers and Titans organization. …But we lost someone who was not only a great evaluator who helped teams be successful, but also a great humanitarian and a person who built a bridge of relationships between colleges and the NFL.”

Blake Beddingfield, who writes for this site, was one of numerous Brocato protegees who found open doors thanks to his mentor, getting to know not only high-profile coaches but other key connections on important campuses.

“C.O.’s impact on scouting not only influenced the Oilers/Titans but impacted the entire NFL scouting community,” Beddingfield said. “C.O. was well known and popular amount scouts of all ages and most young scouts wanted to get to know and learn from him. If he took you under his wing, it brought you instant credibility within NFL circles and among college coaches and the contacts you made by being around him.

“I watched college football’s best coaches – Nick Saban, Bob Stoops, Tom Osborne, etc. -- bend over backward to please and accommodate C.O. while on a school visit.”

Floyd Reese told stories of Brocato urging him to sign Wes Welker out of Texas Tech in 2004.

But the Titans GM was wary of the 5-foot-9, 185-pound receiver who initially signed with the Chargers at a time when the franchise felt the league trending to big receivers and corners.

The scout never missed a chance to remind his boss of Welker’s ultimate success with the Patriots, which included two appearances on the AP’s First Team All-Pro Team and five consecutive Pro Bowls.\

Brocato did help the Titans select some others of note: Earl Campbell, Mike Munchak, Bruce Matthews and Steve McNair.

And the whole league used his 40 times. His stopwatch served as the official time at the combine for decades, per Beddingfield.

“C.O. trained and develop each of the scouts that covered his southwest area,” Beddingfield said. “That is all 32 teams’ worth. He ran pro days for the universities and schools would not start an event until he was ready. He was given respect, admiration and love by people in this business because he always gave the same thing back to them. A true ‘one of a kind’ scout and even more so as a person.” 

Here is the full list of the 29 semifinalists in the coach/contributor category:

K.S. “Bud” Adams Jr.: In his 54 years as founder, owner, chairman of the Board, president and CEO of the Titans/Oilers franchise, Adams was an enduring figure in the NFL.

Roone Arledge: Television industry executive and producer whose creativity, leadership and technical innovations revolutionized the presentation of both news and sports.

C.O. Brocato: A scout for 40 years with the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Oilers/Tennessee Titans.

Tom Coughlin: Two-time Super Bowl-winning coach (XLII, XLVI) with the New York Giants. Also first head coach of the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars, taking team to two AFC Championship Games. Overall NFL record of 182-157 in 20 seasons.

Alex Gibbs: Member of two Super Bowl-winning teams in Denver (XXXII-XXXIII) as assistant head coach/offensive line coach. NFL career spanned four decades and included stints with the Raiders, Chargers, Colts, Chiefs, Falcons, Texans and Seahawks in addition to the Broncos.

Ralph Hay: Owner of the Canton Bulldogs from 1918-1922 and hosted the NFL’s formational meeting in his automobile dealership in downtown Canton.

Mike Holmgren: Head coach of the Green Bay Packers from 1992-98 and the Seattle Seahawks from 1999-2008. Overall record of 174-122 includes victory in Super Bowl XXXI with the Packers and an NFC crown in Seattle.

Frank “Bucko” Kilroy: Worked in player personnel and scouting for the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys. He was the Patriots’ general manager from 1979 to 1982 and vice president from 1983 to 1993.

Eddie Kotal: Scout for the Los Angeles Rams from 1947-1961 and was one of the first to scout Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Robert Kraft: Owner, chairman and CEO of the New England Patriots since 1994. His teams have won six Super Bowls.

Elmer Layden: Commissioner of the National Football League from 1941-46 after a successful career as a player and coach at the college level.

Jerry Markbreit: Official in the NFL for 23 seasons, rising to referee in only his second year. Assigned to 25 postseason games, including four Super Bowls – a number no other referee has surpassed.

Virginia McCaskey: Became principal owner of the Bears in 1983 upon the death of her father, Hall of Famer George Halas. Celebrated her 100th birthday this past Jan. 5.

Rich McKay: General Manager, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1994-2003; general manager, Atlanta Falcons, 2003-08; president/CEO, Atlanta Falcons, 2008-present.

John McVay: Joined the 49ers in 1979 as the team's director of player personnel and spent 21 seasons with the Club, ultimately presiding over five Super Bowl-winning seasons as vice president/director of football operations.

Art Modell: Owner of the Cleveland Browns from 1961-1995 and Baltimore Ravens from 1996- 2011.

Buddy Parker: Head coach of the Chicago Cardinals (1949), Detroit Lions (1951-56) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (1957-1964). Overall NFL record of 107-76-9 and winner of back-to-back NFL titles with the Lions in 1952 and 1953.

Carl Peterson: President, general manager and CEO of the Kansas City Chiefs from 1989- 2008.

Dan Reeves: Head coach of the Denver Broncos (1981-1992), New York Giants (1993-96) and the Atlanta Falcons (1997-2003). Overall coaching record of 201-174-2 and four conference championships in 23 seasons, Two-time AP Coach of the Year.

Art Rooney Jr.: Employed with the Steelers since 1961, from 1964 through 1986, worked in the Steelers’ Scouting Department. Currently a Steelers vice president and member of the Board of Directors.

Marty Schottenheimer: Head coach of the Cleveland Browns (1984-88), Kansas City Chiefs (1989-1998), Washington Redskins (2001) and the San Diego Chargers (2002-06). Overall NFL coaching record of 205-139-1 in 21 seasons.

Jerry Seeman: Line judge, head linesman, referee and director of Officiating from 1975- 2000.

George Seifert: Won two Super Bowls in his eight seasons as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers (1989-1996), Also coached three seasons for Carolina Panthers (1999-2001). Overall record of 124-67.

Mike Shanahan: Head coach of the Los Angeles Raiders (1988-89), Denver Broncos (1995- 2008) and the Washington Redskins (2010-13). Two Super Bowl titles in his 20 seasons with an overall record of 178-144.

Clark Shaughnessy: Head coach of the Los Angeles Rams from 1948-49 and longtime assistant coach for the Washington Redskins from 1944-47 and Chicago Bears from 1951-1962.

Seymour Siwoff: Owner and president of Elias Sports Bureau, the official statisticians of the NFL, from 1952-2019.

Jim Tunney: NFL official from 1960-1991. Worked as a field judge from 1960-67 and a referee from 1968-1991.

Lloyd Wells: Scout for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1963-1974. First full-time African American scout in the NFL.

John Wooten: Director of Pro Scouting for the Dallas Cowboys from 1975 to 1991. Created Player Development programs for the NFL in 1991. Vice President/Player Personnel for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1992 and assistant director of pro/college scouting for the Baltimore Ravens until his retirement in 2002. In 2003, Wooten became chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, a position he held until 2019.  

You are not authorised to post comments.

Comments powered by CComment