2018 Hall of Fame: Robert Brazile got ‘Dr. Doom’ nickname approval from legendary broadcaster

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The Pro Football Hall of Fame will formally welcome its Class of 2018 on Saturday. This week, Yahoo Sports is highlighting memorable moments for each member of the eight-man class, leading up to the big ceremony. 

The Oilers’ Robert Brazile, putting the heat on <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/teams/pit" data-ylk="slk:Steelers">Steelers</a> running back Franco Harris in 1978, will formally enter the Hall of Fame on Saturday. (AP)
The Oilers’ Robert Brazile, putting the heat on Steelers running back Franco Harris in 1978, will formally enter the Hall of Fame on Saturday. (AP)

 Robert ‘Dr. Doom’ Brazile (1975-84)

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Before he was selected to seven Pro Bowls, Robert Brazile was given the nickname “Dr. Doom.” It stuck with him throughout his career. But how did it happen?

It all dates back to a breakfast.

Brazile, who was born in Mobile, Alabama, had just finished college at Jackson State in Mississippi. Ahead of a college all-star game, then-USC linebacker Richard Wood was having a conversation with legendary sportscaster Howard Cosell.

Wood had read cartoons in the Chicago Tribune, and he’d seen a character named “Dr. Doom.” So, he called Brazile over in the conversation with Cosell and proposed the usage of the nickname.

At first, Brazile was unsure how the nickname fit. Cosell, though, as witty as ever remarked: “It means ‘death on offensive men.’ It fits you.”

Throughout Brazile’s 10-season NFL career with the Houston Oilers, the nickname did fit. He was 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, which made for a lethal pass rusher. Houston knew this, so it adjusted its defense to a 3-4 set upon his arrival.

Brazile dominated in 1975, his first season in the NFL. He was named the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year, a season that set him up for long-term success, including a career in which he never missed a game.

Brazile recorded 1,281 tackles over the course of his career. He also had around 48 sacks, an unofficial number since the NFL didn’t record sacks until 1982. And while he’s known for being “Lawrence Taylor before Lawrence Taylor,” Brazile is most known for the nickname given to him during that breakfast in 1975.

When Cosell expanded on the meaning of the nickname that day, Brazile took to it. So many years later, it still sticks.

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