Five memorable moments from the HOF career of Robert Brazile
Robert Brazile will receive his gold jacket and bust during the first weekend of August when the Pro Football Hall of Fame inducts its Class of 2018.
Nicknamed “Dr. Doom,” Brazile was the sixth overall pick of the 1975 NFL draft and became a walk-in starter with the Houston Oilers. He played 10 seasons, all with the Oilers, and was voted to seven consecutive Pro Bowls (1976-82). He was the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1975 and a first-team all-pro selection in both 1978 and 1979. The Oilers advanced to the AFC championship game each of those seasons but lost both times to the eventual Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Brazile was elected to the Hall of Fame as a senior candidate in his 29th year of eligibility.
Here are five of the top moments of Brazile’s career:
HBCU. Jackson State has produced only three Top 10 NFL draft picks – and two of them came in the same year. The Chicago Bears took Walter Payton with the fourth overall selection of the 1975 draft and the Oilers claimed Brazile with the sixth overall choice. Brazile becomes the fourth Jackson Stater with a bust in Canton, joining Payton, cornerback Lem Barney and offensive tackle Jackie Slater.
Fast starter. Brazile made both his debut and a statement On Sept. 21, 1975 at Foxboro. He was part of a defensive effort that shut down the Patriots, 7-0. The Oilers added Hall of Fame nose tackle Curley Culp in 1974, facilitating the move to a 3-4 scheme, and Brazile became the prototype for the weakside rush linebacker position. With Hall of Fame end Elvin Bethea lined up in front of Brazile, the Oilers quickly became one of the NFL’s best defensive units. Houston would post five shutouts in Brazile’s first six seasons, including three in a row in season openers (1975-77).
Ball hawk. Although credited with 48 career sacks, Brazile wasn’t strictly a one-dimensional pass rusher. He also excelled in pass coverage, intercepting 13 passes in his career. He picked off Cleveland’s Brian Sipe three times and Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw twice. He also intercepted Pro Bowlers Ken Anderson and Jim Hart once apiece.
Shark attack. In addition to reaching those two AFC title games, the Oilers qualified for the playoffs three times in Brazile’s first six seasons, posting a 55-35 record. But the back end of his career wasn’t as rosy. Houston opened each of Brazile’s final two seasons 0-10 and lost 44 of a possible 57 games over his final four seasons. But one of his best days came in a 1982 loss in Philadelphia to the Eagles. Brazile intercepted Ron Jaworski and also sacked Jaws twice in a 35-14 setback.
Durability plus. Brazile started the season finale against Cleveland in 1984 at right outside linebacker. He made three tackles that day in a 27-20 loss at the Astrodome. But his stats didn’t matter as much as his presence did. Since becoming a first-round draft pick of the Oilers in 1975, Brazile started every game over the next 10 seasons – 147 consecutive games without a miss. It also was Brazile’s final game in the NFL. His wife Cookie died in a car wreck that season and Brazile walked away from football.