Former Washington Redskins General Manager Bobby Beathard never thought he would be entering the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his career. He went into Redskins Park because of his love of the job, which led to the creation of three Super Bowl champion teams .
When Beathard received the call that he was selected as a member of the 2018 class, the feeling was overwhelming as he was told that he'd be the 31st Redskins player, coach or administrator to be inducted
"All the years I've worked, I never thought, 'boy I hope I make the Hall of Fame someday,'" Beathard said on Friday's Pro Football Hall of Fame induction call. "I just don't think you think about that. If I hadn't made it, I had a lot of fun working and we had a lot of success. It's just unbelievable. You do all of that and you end up getting some accolade or whatever it is like that...It's really a great honor and I feel like one of the luckiest guys in the world."
Beathard changed the way NFL general managers today use first-round picks as valuable asset in trading. Despite only making three first-round selections in his 11 years as general manager, the Cal Poly alum thrived off scouting players that were overlooked in talented draft classes.
Utilizing picks in the later rounds, Beathard's trades allowed the Redskins to select four players who would eventually make the Redskins Ring of Fame during his tenure. He believed that gaining players after the first and second round was more important than sticking with one standout prospect.
"I just always had a plan," Beathard said. "If I ever got in that position, I knew I had a plan of how I wanted to do it. It wasn't that the No. 1 draft pick was the most important thing. Every year, we'd go out all year to all these colleges scouting, looking at the players. And if it was a draft that was deep in talent, I thought it was more valuable to get the later picks because there were real good players down there not only in the first round. If you had a high pick in the first round, trade that and get multiple picks where all the other players were. Fortunately it worked out for us."
One of the moments that changed Beathard's career was during the 1987 NFL Players Association strike. While other teams scrambled to find new players during the 24-day strike, Beathard had a blueprint for how the Redskins were going to compete in those games.
He scouted players from all over, including some that he saw play in a touch football league and ones he witnessed from Canada to form an entire team of replacement players that competed for three weeks. With Beathard believing those games would mean something later on in the season, the team composed of entirely replacements won all three of their games that helped Washington to Super Bowl XXII.
"Looking back on the year with the strike, it was probably one of the most gratifying years we ever had," Beathard said. "There were a few teams that we heard of that didn't take getting a team together, replacement players, as serious as some other teams and we took it pretty seriously. I played in a touch football league and some of the touch football league were pretty good. I called some of the guys in the touch football league to ask them if they ask them if they wanted to play on the replacement team and those guys did and they ended up getting Super Bowl rings.
"The replacement year was one of the real fun years we ever had and one of the greatest memories we had because some teams didn't take it as seriously and we thought that if we could win any replacement games it would help us in the end. Fortunately we were able to do it."
Now that he has the same honor of being in the Pro Football Hall of Fame like the players and coaches he brought in, Beathard said that his induction is a testament for the success his NFL teams had.
"It's quite an honor, of course. I've been up there several times to see other people's inductions," Beathard said. "The only bad thing was when I found out I was going to be there, I thought, 'oh no I have to make a speech.' So that was the bad part of it, but other than that I'll get through that. It was great. I was born in Ohio, so I thought, 'gosh to have the Hall of Fame be back there, it's really nice to get to go back there.' It means that during the whole time that I got to spend all those years in the NFL, I guess we all did a pretty good job to get our teams there."