Most NFL players have probably never heard of C.O. Brocato. But Brocato knew thousands of NFL players.
And Brocato didn’t just know their names. He knew their heights and weights, their 40-times and bench-press numbers, whether they were flexible enough in the hips to get low and explode out of their stances, or tight and stiff with a slow first step.
Brocato, who died this morning at the age of 85, was one of the greatest scouts in the history of the game of football. This year the Titans unveiled the C.O. Brocato Draft Room at their facility in recognition of his 41 years of service to the Titans and Houston Oilers franchise.
Asked this year about Brocato’s continuing contributions to the Titans, General Manager Ruston Webster said no one could match Brocato’s institutional knowledge.
“He’s sort of a walking history book,” Webster said. “He tells the story of working out Earl Campbell, and those things are priceless. I think we all enjoy hearing them. It’s helpful for people coming into the organization to know a lot of that history, as well as for everyone in the organization to know about him.”
Brocato was credited with inventing the three-cone drill, now a Scouting Combine staple, and was well known in the scouting community for setting his alarm clock for 5 a.m. but waking up even earlier so he could be the first to attend a workout.
A linebacker and kicker at Baylor in the 1950s, Brocato was the head football coach at Jesuit High School in Louisiana from 1958 to 1967, then became defensive coordinator at Northern Arizona in 1968, and defensive coordinator at Texas-Arlington in 1971. He began scouting for the Oilers in 1974. His name has been considered for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and he deserves further consideration — even though he was probably more proud of the players he scouted who made it to Canton.
Photo via Tennessee Titans.