Thomas Jefferson "Tom" Brookshier (December 16, 1931 – January 29, 2010) was an American professional football player, coach and sportscaster. He was a starting defensive back for the Philadelphia Eagles for seven seasons, from 1953 to 1961. He later paired with Pat Summerall on the primary broadcast team for National Football League (NFL) games on CBS during the 1970s.
|Born:||December 16, 1931|
Roswell, New Mexico
|Died:||January 29, 2010 (aged 78)|
|NFL Draft:||1953 / Round: 10 / Pick: 117|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Brookshier attended high school at Roswell High School in his hometown of Roswell, New Mexico. At Roswell, he received all-state honors in football, basketball and baseball. As a three-year letterman in football at the University of Colorado from 1950 through 1952, he was a defensive back, fullback and return specialist. One of his gridiron teammates was astronaut Jack Swigert, who was on the crew of the ill-fated Apollo 13. Brookshier was also a relief pitcher on the university's baseball team, and played one season of minor league baseball in 1954 for the Roswell Rockets of the class-D Longhorn League.
He was a 10th-round NFL draft pick. He played defensive back for the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League from 1953 to 1961, missing both the 1954 and 1955 seasons to serve in the United States Air Force. He was a starter on the Eagles' NFL Championship team in 1960, and was selected for the Pro Bowl twice. Brookshier's playing career ended because of a compound leg fracture, sustained while making a tackle on Willie Galimore in an Eagles' 16–14 victory over the Chicago Bears at Franklin Field on November 5, 1961. He was a member of the Eagles' Honor Roll and was one of only eight players whose numbers were retired by the team. Brookshier's number was 40.
Brookshier began sportscasting for WCAU-AM-FM-TV in Philadelphia in 1962, and became the station's sports director the following year. He joined CBS in 1965 as a color commentator for Eagles telecasts, and continued to call regional action after the network moved away from dedicated team announcers in 1968.
In the early 1970s, Brookshier and Summerall co-hosted This Week in Pro Football, a weekly syndicated highlights show produced by NFL Films. After CBS dismissed its main pro football voice Ray Scott in 1974, the network went against its standard practice of using a professional announcer for play-by-play by promoting Summerall and partnering him with Brookshier. The two former NFL players became arguably American television's most popular sports broadcasting team for the remainder of the decade. Describing the pair's on-air rapport, Summerall said, "With Brookie, it was more of a conversation, like two guys in a saloon." Besides many regular-season and playoff contests, most of which involved the Dallas Cowboys who were the National Football Conference's most dominant franchise at the time, the duo called Super Bowls X, XII and XIV. Brookshier also worked pre- and post-game shows for four other Super Bowls. He and Summerall also appeared as themselves on film in Black Sunday, which was partially filmed at Super Bowl X.
Brookshier and Summerall called a heavyweight title fight between Muhammad Ali and Jean Pierre Coopman live in prime time on Friday, February 20, 1976. Brent Musburger and Phyllis George of The NFL Today co-hosted the telecast that night. Meanwhile, Don Dunphy supplied some commentary between rounds. A month earlier, CBS assigned Summerall and Brookshier to announce a Ken Norton bout against Pedro Lovell, a mere eight days before they called Super Bowl X.
Brookshier became the subject of controversy in 1983 because of a remark he made during an NFL broadcast of an Eagles–Saints game on December 11. After a program note for an upcoming telecast of an NCAA men's basketball game between North Carolina State and Louisville, Brookshier said that the players on the Louisville team had "a collective I.Q. of about 40, but they can play basketball." Given a chance to walk back the statement by partner Charlie Waters, Brookshier doubled down, saying "it's the truth."
This resulted in Neal Pilson, then president of CBS Sports, apologizing to Louisville school officials and later suspending Brookshier for the last weekend of the NFL regular season. Louisville's athletic director, Bill Olsen, felt that the remark was racist, since Louisville's starting five were all African American. Brookshier later apologized, calling his remark "stupid" and "dumb", but was angered over CBS's reaction, saying "I'm not about to be judged on one comment." He added, "I've done a lot of things for charity. Now my own network is bailing out on me and taking me off the air. After 20 years at CBS, I deserve better than this." The apology was accepted by the university and university president Donald Swain invited Brookshier to be the featured speaker at the school's annual football kickoff luncheon in Clarksville, Indiana on August 2, 1984. Brookshier was reinstated in CBS's announcing lineup for the 1984 season, continuing as a network commentator through 1987.
In 1989, he hosted the morning show of the then-nascent 610 WIP sports format; the program was called Breakfast with Brookshier, before he was paired with Angelo Cataldi and the program re-dubbed Brookie and the Rookie, and then finally simply Brookshier and Cataldi. He left broadcasting and was last known to be working as a consultant for CB Richard Ellis, an international commercial real-estate firm.
- Plati, David (January 30, 2010). "Football, Broadcasting Legend Tom Brookshier Passes Away". University of Colorado Athletics. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
- "People". Sports Illustrated. April 27, 1970. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
- Maule, Tex (October 21, 1963). "Football's Hot Corner". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
- "Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles – November 5, 1961". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
- Air Force Football, 2009, The Coaches p. 66
- "Tom Brookshier quits football". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. March 13, 1963. p. 10.
- "Ray Scott, 78, Voice of Packers During Glory Seasons in the 60's". The New York Times. March 29, 1998. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
- Leggett, William (January 23, 1978). "Insightful And Delightful". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
- Goldstein, Richard (January 31, 2010). "Tom Brookshier, Eagles Star and Broadcaster, Dies at 78". The New York Times. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
- Hagger, Jeff (20 October 2014). "Pat Summerall and Tom Brookshier calling boxing in 1976". Classic TV Sports.
- "History of #1 analyst demotions". Classic Sports TV and Media. 18 February 2013. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- "TV SPORTS; DILEMMA FOR CBS OVER LOUISVILLE GAME". The New York Times. December 20, 1983. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
- "Sports briefs". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). December 14, 1983. p. 23.
- "Sports people; Brookshier Penalized". The New York Times. December 14, 1983. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
- "Sports people; Louisville Gesture". The New York Times. July 12, 1984. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
- "Sports people; Brookshier's 'Penance'". The New York Times. August 3, 1984. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
- Ward, Frank (January 30, 2010). "Tom Brookshier a huge part of my sports world growing up". The Daily Philadelphian. Archived from the original on October 29, 2010. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
- Gehman, Jim (November 19, 2005). "Where Are They Now: DB Tom Brookshier". Philadelphiaeagles.com. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
- Brookover, Bob (January 31, 2010). "Tom Brookshier, broadcaster and Eagles great, dies". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved January 25, 2012.