Class of 18 Finalist: Bobby Beathard

Class of 18 Finalist: Bobby Beathard

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Former longtime general manager and personnel administrator Bobby Beathard was recently selected by the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Contributors Committee as a finalist for the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018.

“It’s great to look forward to and see what happens,” said Beathard.

He is the sixth contributor finalist since the category was added to the Hall of Fame selection process bylaws in 2015.

“I really haven’t thought about it much. I don’t know. I don’t know. I thought if it didn’t I would go back to work and see what happens,” explained Beathard when asked if he ever thought this day would come.

To be elected, Beathard must receive the same 80 percent voting support by the entire 48-member Selection Committee on “Selection Saturday.” The Hall’s Selection Committee, at its annual meeting to be held on Saturday, February 3, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minn., will consider 18 finalists, including one Contributor Finalist (Beathard), two Seniors (Robert Brazile and Jerry Kramer), and 15 Modern-Era Finalists (to be determined from a preliminary list announced in early-September; trimmed to 25 semifinalists in November and to 15 finalists in January). Current bylaws call for a class no fewer than four or more than eight. The Contributor Finalist will be voted on for election independent of the other finalists.

“How much do I have to pay them?” joked the contributor finalist.

Four of the five contributor finalists have been elected to the Hall of Fame.

Beathard has demonstrated a keen eye for talent since becoming a part-time scout with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1963. He left the Chiefs briefly to scout for the American Football League and returned to Kansas City full-time after the AFL-NFL merger in 1966. He earned his first championship ring as a member of the 1966 Chiefs organization. Beathard then served as a scout for the Falcons, 1968-71.

In 1972, Beathard was named director of player personnel for the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins won the following two Super Bowls. Then on February 24, 1978, the Redskins made Bobby their general manager and he ultimately showed the league that first-round draft picks were weapons to be used in trades. In his 11 years at Washington, the Redskins had only three first-round picks. They went to the Super Bowl three times and won twice.

Beathard's handiwork was apparent on all three Super Bowl teams, including the World Champion Redskins of 1982 whose roster included an astounding 27 free agents signed by Beathard since he joined the team in 1978. The 1983 squad, which finished 14-2, also made it to the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl XXII team defeated Denver 42-10, in San Diego.

Beathard left the Redskins to serve as a commentator for the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) on its weekly "NFL '89" show during the 1989 season.

beathard-bobby-400When Alex Spanos named Beathard general manager of the Chargers January 3, 1990, it brought hope to a city thirsting for a winner. He turned the NFL’s oldest team of the 1970s the Washington Redskins into one of the most successful franchises of the 1980s. In just his third season in San Diego, the organization won its first AFC Western Division championship in more than a decade and, after five years, appeared in its first Super Bowl.

Upon taking over as general manager in 1990, he immediately set out to bring top athletes with a winning attitude to San Diego. Acting with the same vitality and decisiveness that has highlighted his 37 years as an NFL talent evaluator, his judgment was on the mark in 1990 when seven players from his first draft in San Diego ended up in the starting lineup, including Seau, a perennial Pro Bowl selection.

Chargers President Dean Spanos and Beathard hired Riley, whom Bobby has known literally since he was in high school, as head coach in January, 1999, to bring the excitement back to Chargers football.

Riley is one of a few new faces at the Chargers' training center these days. Beathard and the player personnel department landed a select group of key veterans during the 1999 offseason to augment the Bolts' roster.

Joining Pro Bowlers Junior Seau and Rodney Harrison, both Beathard draft selections, on the NFL’s top-ranked defensive unit will be ball-hawking free safety Darren Perry (Steelers), bone-crushing middle linebacker Eric Hill (Rams and Cardinals) and steady defensive end Al Fontenot (Bears and Colts).

On the opposite side of the ball, the Chargers will be directed by 12-year NFL signal-caller Jim Harbaugh, who was acquired in a trade with Baltimore to provide Riley's new offensive system with a proven leader. Jeff Graham, an eight-year veteran, gives Harbaugh and the Chargers' receiving corps a tough, physical presence.

The Chargers feel the 1999 offseason was even more fruitful than 1998 when the team cemented its lineup by grabbing running back Natrone Means, offensive linemen John Jackson, Aaron Taylor and Roman Portin, cornerback Charles Dimry and linebacker Gerald Dixon via free agency.

In addition to acquiring new players, the Chargers continued to sign their top players to long-term deals. In 1997, Seau was re-signed through the 2002 season to a contract that made him the highest paid linebacker in NFL history at the time. Several other key players also have inked multi-year deals, including Harrison, Dwayne Harper, Lew Bush, Raylee Johnson, Terrell Fletcher and Vaughn Parker.

When the 1994 San Diego Chargers earned a trip to Super Bowl XXIX in Miami, Florida, it marked the seventh time a Beathard team has journeyed to the world championship. Four times his team has produced a Super Bowl victory.

In addition to his role as general manager of the Chargers, Beathard was on the NFL’s College Relations Committee and the Working Group on NFL Europe Football Operations.

Beathard was Born in Zanesville, Ohio on January 24, 1937. He grew up in the Los Angeles area and attended El Segundo High. He moved on to Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo where he played quarterback, 1956-58, and helped lead the 1957 and '58 teams to consecutive 9-1 records.

Bobby and his wife, Christine, reside in Franklin, Tennessee. Beathard was an avid runner, surfer and cyclist. He has run in dozens of marathons, including several Boston Marathons and has won the World Bodysurfing Championships multiple times. Beathard has four children: sons Kurt (Jan. 4, 1963), a former offensive coordinator at Western Carolina and Illinois State; Jeff (June 9, 1964), a twelfth-round choice of the Rams in 1988 and former scout for the Chargers; and Casey (Dec. 2, 1965), a songwriter and singer in Nashville, Tennessee, who also scouted part-time for the Chargers; and daughter Jaime (Sept. 25, 1968). Bobby also has 12 grandchildren, including C.J. Beathard who is a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.

The Modern-Era Nominees for the Class of 2018 will be announced on NFL Network during the “Contenders Show” on September 12, 2017 at 8 PM ET.

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