Contributor / Contributor
Class of 2018
"We did it a little bit different than a lot of people. A lot of people in the league thought I was nuts. Maybe that was true, because I started trading away first-round draft picks and first-round draft picks were valuable…but we figured if it was a draft that we had evaluated…and it was rich in talent, we could get players in the later rounds."
Bobby Beathard was a highly-regarded personnel administrator during his 33-year career which included stints with the Kansas City Chiefs (1966-67), Atlanta Falcons (1968-1971), Miami Dolphins (1972-77), Washington Redskins (1978-1988) and San Diego Chargers (1990-99).
Beathard, a longtime general manager and personnel administrator, played an integral role in the success of each of these franchises. He began his career as a part-time scout for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1963, but left to scout for the American Football League before returning to the Chiefs in 1966 when the team played in Super Bowl I. In 1972, Beathard was named director of player personnel for the Miami Dolphins before the Washington Redskins hired him as general manager in 1978.
His visionary thinking soon became a template for the NFL where first-round draft picks were weapons to be used in trades. His keen sense for talent was apparent on each team, but especially in 1982 when the Redskins Super Bowl-winning team included 27 free agents signed by Beathard since he joined the team. In his 11 years in Washington, the Redskins had only three first-round picks. The team went to the Super Bowl three times and won twice.
Collectively, his teams won 10 division titles, seven league/conference championships and four Super Bowls – Super Bowls VII and VIII with Miami and Super Bowls XVII and XXII with Washington.
Beathard was hired as general manager of the Chargers in 1990 and immediately brought hope to a city hungry for a winner. In just his third season in San Diego, the organization won its first AFC Western Division championship in more than a decade and by 1994, the team made its first Super Bowl appearance.
Year-by-Year Team Records
1966 Kansas City Chiefs... 11-2-1 (1st)
1967 Kansas City Chiefs....... 9-5-0 (2nd)
1968 Atlanta Falcons........... 2-12-0 (4th)
1969 Atlanta Falcons............. 6-8-0 (3rd)
1970 Atlanta Falcons............. 4-8-2 (3rd)
1971 Atlanta Falcons............. 7-6-1 (3rd)
1972 Miami Dolphins......... 14-0-0 (1st)
1973 Miami Dolphins......... 12-2-0 (1st)
1974 Miami Dolphins......... 11-3-0 (1st)
1975 Miami Dolphins............ 10-4-0 (2nd)
1976 Miami Dolphins.............. 6-8-0 (3rd)
1977 Miami Dolphins............ 10-4-0 (2nd)
1978 Washington Redskins... 8-8-0 (3rd)
1979 Washington Redskins. 10-6-0 (3rd)
1980 Washington Redskins. 6-10-0 (3rd)
1981 Washington Redskins... 8-8-0 (4th)
1982 Washington Redskins 8-1-0 (1st*)
1983 Washington Redskins 14-2-0 (1st)
1984 Washington Redskins 11-5-0 (1st)
1985 Washington Redskins. 10-6-0 (3rd)
1986 Washington Redskins 12-4-0 (2nd)
1987 Washington Redskins 11-4-0 (1st)
1988 Washington Redskins... 7-9-0 (3rd)
1990 San Diego Chargers... 6-10-0 (4th)
1991 San Diego Chargers... 4-12-0 (5th)
1992 San Diego Chargers. 11-5-0 (1st)
1993 San Diego Chargers..... 8-8-0 (4th)
1994 San Diego Chargers. 11-5-0 (1st)
1995 San Diego Chargers... 9-7-0 (2nd)
1996 San Diego Chargers..... 8-8-0 (3rd)
1997 San Diego Chargers... 4-12-0 (5th)
1998 San Diego Chargers... 5-11-0 (5th)
1999 San Diego Chargers..... 8-8-0 (3rd)
* NFC regular season finish in strike-shortened season.
(Division Finish in Parentheses)
Qualified for Postseason in Bold
1966 Kansas City Chiefs (AFL Western Division, AFL champions)
1972 Miami Dolphins (AFC Eastern Division, AFC, Super Bowl VII champions)
1973 Miami Dolphins (AFC Eastern Division, AFC, Super Bowl VIII champions)
1974 Miami Dolphins (AFC Eastern Division champions)
1982 Washington Redskins (NFC*, NFC, Super Bowl XVII champions)
1983 Washington Redskins (NFC Eastern Division, NFC champions)
1984 Washington Redskins (NFC Eastern Division champions)
1987 Washington Redskins (NFC Eastern Division, NFC, Super Bowl XXII champions)
1992 San Diego Chargers (AFC Western Division champions)
1994 San Diego Chargers (AFC Western Division, AFC champions)
Full Name: Bobby Beathard
Birthdate: Jan. 24, 1937
Birthplace: Zanesville, Ohio
Died: Jan. 30, 2023
High School: El Segundo (CA)
Bobby Beathard’s speech was delivered through a video presentation.
BOBBY BEATHARD: Joe Gibbs, hey, thanks a lot for all the nice things you said. You had something to do with it, too, so ‑‑ but, really, thanks a lot. Those are nice things.
There are way too many people to thank for getting me into the Hall of Fame, so I'm just going to thank a few.
First off, Don Shula. I think working for Don Shula was probably the thing that really prepared me for my career in the NFL. And then when I got the call from Jack Kent Cooke and Ed Bennett Williams to come up to Washington, I couldn't believe it. I thought: Well, I'll go up there, but I ‑‑ for this job, I don't know. So, I took the job, and it was probably the best decision I made.
And Joe, Coach Gibbs, the kind of coach that every guy in my position would want. So, it didn't matter who we brought in, whether it was a first round pick in the draft or the last pick in the last round of the draft, each one of those players got the same chance. And because of that, we ended up getting to three Super Bowls.
And I've got to thank the Spanos family. Getting back to San Diego was like a dream come true. I got to be near my parents. And fortunately, we got enough players out there to get to another Super Bowl.
I want to thank all the great players, the talented players we had on those teams who became great friends off the field as well.
And I can't forget all of the assistant coaches and all the scouts we had. They all played as big a part as anyone in this. Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen for all the wonderful things they did for myself and the family and putting me in that ring of honor at the Redskins.
I want to thank all of our friends through the years who supported us in the good years and the bad years. And a special thanks to all our fans. My gosh, to the greatest fans in the NFL.
I want to thank my family, my kids, my grandkids. I was gone a lot, and they always supported me, no matter what. Of course, I couldn't have done all this without my wife, Christine. She put up with a lot, but she understood it was a job I loved to do. I owe so much of it to her. I love you, babe.
And, lastly, to the Hall of Fame, not only for this great honor that they've given me but also for all the wonderful things they do for the retired players.
There are so many people I want to thank, but, God, my memory is so bad now that I can't remember everybody. So, for all of those who I've named, and those who I haven't named, I'm really grateful for this honor. Thank you.