Bobby Beathard's teams appeared in seven Super Bowls during his lengthy NFL career in various front offices, but none of his tenures were more exciting than his time with the Redskins.
Sixteen years after Bobby Beathard left the ranks of NFL general managers, he remains one of the best men to ever hold the position in league history.
In total, Beathard appeared in four Super Bowls in the role of general manager, the first three of which came with the Washington Redskins.
Starting on Feb. 24, 1978, when he was named Redskins general manager, Beathard would go on to help Washington earn two Super Bowl titles while accumulating a regular season record of 105-63 before leaving the organization after the 1988 season.
On Saturday, Beathard stepped to the podium alongside Redskins president Bruce Allen at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va., for a press conference to announce his soon-to-be induction into the Redskins' Ring of Fame.
Beathard will be inducted during a ceremony that will take place during the Redskins' annual homecoming against the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 13.
"I was in the NFL a long time with different teams, but our favorite memories are certainly here because when we were with the Redskins, our kids were growing up here, went to high school in Virginia, and went on to college [in] different places," Beathard said. "Just being able to be around this – I came to the Redskins from the Miami Dolphins, and the years at the Miami Dolphins including the '72 season of undefeated teams and being with [Don] Shula, I learned a lot more than I ever had up until that time about football. So I felt coming into a situation like this that I felt prepared because I never wanted to go into a situation that I felt was too big for me or where I wasn't prepared."
One of Beathard's biggest decisions came in 1981.
After the Redskins parted ways with head coach Jack Pardee in 1980, Beathard decided to bring in Joe Gibbs as the team's next head coach.
Gibbs had slowly worked his way up the coaching ranks, eventually becoming the San Diego Chargers' offensive coordinator under Coryell.
But Beathard saw head coaching potential in Gibbs after receiving confirmation from one of his friends – Ernie Zampese – that the future Pro Football Hall of Famer was more than ready for the job.
"I called Joe and said, 'Do you want the job?' He said 'yeah,'" Beathard recalled. "So, I said, 'I've got some coaches on our staff here at the Redskins that I would like you to keep, you pick some coaches on offense that you want and we will put a staff together.'"
Not everyone was initially on board with the Gibbs decision, though.
Check out these photos of the legendary Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs!
So I went into [former Redskins owner] Mr. [Jack Kent] Cooke and he said, 'What are we going to do about a coach?' I said 'I've got a coach.' He said 'What do you mean you've got a coach? You didn't even tell me about the coach,'" Beathard said. "I said, 'Well, we haven't hired him but I got a coach I am thinking of.' He had some ideas and he said 'OK, who is it?' I said 'Well, you probably haven't heard of him. It's a guy named Joe Gibbs.' He said 'Joe Gibbs? Who in the hell is Joe Gibbs?' He said, 'When we announce a guy named Joe Gibbs, they will crucify me!' He is talking about not me but he is talking about him. So he did not want us to hire Joe Gibbs. I said, 'I already told him he could have the job and we have already put the staff together.'"
The situation only got worse when the Redskins opened up the 1981 season on a five-game losing streak.
But the combination of Beathard and Gibbs slowly turned around that season, as the team posted a respectable record of 8-8.
That season laid the foundation for an incredible run that collected three Super Bowl appearances and two Lombardi Trophies.
"We started winning and I'd start to go to [Cooke's] house and he'd bring Joe out once in a while and he'd say, 'Joe, you're the coach I always wanted! I told Bobby to get Joe Gibbs – I don't want you to screw this up. We've got to have Joe Gibbs here,'" Beathard said with a smile. "That was a story I always liked from him."
Bringing Darrell Green on board
Unlike the Redskins under George Allen's control, Beathard liked to keep the team's first round picks by the time the NFL Draft rolled around.
After defeating the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII, the Redskins held the 28th and final pick in the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft.
Beathard used it on little-known cornerback by the name of Darrell Green.
Green's diminutive size and college background wasn't the normal concoction for an NFL superstar, but the seven-time Pro Bowler was one-of-a-kind.
"A little-bitty corner, but he had the fastest 100-meter time in the world that year and all that," Beathard recalled of Green's selection. "I knew that coach down there (at Texas A&I), Coach [Gil] Steinke, and he had a number of players come out of there. So anyway, I decided Darrell was going to be our guy, if he's still there. I couldn't believe he'd still be there. And Richie Petitbon was our secondary coach, our defensive coordinator. I told Richie that I had found a guy and he said, 'Who is it?' and I said, 'I'll tell you later because somehow it will get out.'"
Even though Green was just 5-foot-8, Beathard admitted he looked even smaller in person.
"[Petitbon] said, 'Bobby, there's nobody – nobody – that little that can play in this league,'" Beathard said.
Just one guy could, though.
"It worked out pretty good," Beathard said with a smile.
Working his magic
Just two games into the 1987 season, NFL players went on strike. Unlike the 1982 season where team operations completely shut down during that strike, teams created makeshift rosters full of undrafted free agents and castoffs.
That's when Beathard was at his best.
Over the three-week span that replacement players took the field, the Redskins were just one of three teams to win all of their games.
Instead of winning with the likes of Doug Williams at quarterback, they were doing so with Ed Rubbert and Tony Robinson.
As Art Monk stayed away, Anthony Allen was racking up 200-yard games.
"We brought a bunch of rag-tag guys in but our coaching staff was great because our coaching staff took it seriously and thought, 'If we can just win a few games in these strike years, then we'll still be in the running,'" Beathard said. "We won all our games in the strike year and then when the strike ended, we actually kept a lot of those guys on the team. They got Super Bowl pay. It was one of the real highlights all the time I was in the NFL. That strike year was one of the real great memories I had. That was because when you get coaches like that, that are willing to do that, it made it all better."