Tom Brookshier

by Mike Magers

Thomas Jefferson Brookshier was raised in Roswell (Chavez County), New Mexico.  He was an All-State player in football, basketball and baseball at Roswell High School.  Tom went on to be a three year letterman (1950-1952) in football at University of Colorado, playing defense, offense and special teams.  He was known as one of the fiercest hitters in the Big 7 Conference, earning first-team all Big 7 as a junior and senior.  He was also a relief pitcher on the Buffaloes’ baseball team.  At his memorial service, teammate Frank Bernardi joked, “He had a really good fastball; he just never knew where it was going!”

He was a 10th round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1953.  Drafted comparatively low, Brookshier knew he had to make an impression to avoid being cut at training camp.  He related that the team’s number one pick was running a pass pattern down the field toward him.  Brookshire delivered a hard hit that knocked the player out.  Tom said he thought he would be released then and there, but when the coach jumped up and yelled, “I like that!” he knew he might have a chance.

His rookie season with the Eagles, he intercepted eight passes.  The following two years he spent in the U. S. Air Force, having been in the ROTC at Colorado.  While in the Air Force, he became an assistant coach of the Air Force Academy with Buck Shaw, later to be his head coach with the Eagles.  Brookshire went on to complete seven seasons with the Eagles, being selected All-Pro and twice making the Pro Bowl team (1959 and 1960).   His playing career ended after he broke his leg in a 1961 game with the Chicago Bears.

Tom then transitioned to a career in broadcasting.  As he was recovering from his broken leg, CBS Radio asked him to do a sports show in the mornings.   He then began filling in on WCAU in Philadelphia.  He went on to a long and successful career in national broadcasting, and was teamed at various times with Pat Summerall, Dick Vermeil and John Madden.  After retiring in 1987 from CBS television broadcasting, Brookshire completed his career working in sports radio in Philadelphia on station WIR.

The Philadelphia Eagles retired his jersey number 40 and he was inducted into the Eagles Hall of Fame in 1989.

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