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Strange but true: UT lineman gets draft advice...from space!

Tommy Nobis was drafted by Atlanta in the NFL and Houston in the AFL. A Houston astronaut sent a message for Nobis from space!

HOUSTON — Space - the final frontier. But a battleground for the rights to a football player?  It’s a strange but true Houston sports story.

Its December 1965, Gemini 7 blasted off into orbit for a two-week flight. At the two million mile mark, astronaut Frank Borman has interest in a star...on Earth.  

Tommy Nobis, a bone crushing lineman from the University of Texas, was chosen first overall by Atlanta in the National Football League draft and fifth overall by Houston in the American Football League draft. 

A bidding war ensues.

Borman, a Houston-area resident, decided to interject since his two sons are Oilers ball boys and he has the highest pulpit in the universe.

“Tell Nobis to sign with Houston,” Borman informed the Gemini controllers in Houston.

When word got to Nobis, he was impressed.  The Atlanta Falcons? Not so much.

They hoped Nobis would ignore that from-orbit advice.

“All I’ve got to say is people in Georgia pay taxes, too, to get Borman in space,” said Buddy Erickson, Atlanta Falcons spokesperson, back then.

Less than a week later, Nobis signed with Atlanta and became 'Mr. Falcon' during a Hall of Fame-worthy career.

Had Nobis joined the Oilers, owner Bud Adams joked he would have made Frank Borman an honorary scout.


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