Former Washington executive and Hall of Fame general manager Bobby Beathard, who helped build two of the franchise's Super Bowl rosters in the 1980s, passed away at his home in Franklin, Tennessee on Jan. 30. He was 86.
Beathard, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018 for winning four Super Bowls as an executive, had 35 years of combined NFL experience working with Washington along with the Falcons, Dolphins, Chiefs and Chargers. Washington fans, however, will remember him most for crafting the rosters that led to Washington winning Super Bowls XVII and XXII.
Many of the players he drafted, such as Don Warren, Art Monk, Russ Grimm and several others, were still on the team when Washington went on its third Super Bowl run during the 1991 season.
"The Washington Commanders mourn the passing of the great Bobby Beathard. Bobby was a man of extraordinary class and integrity and was the architect behind the greatest teams in this organization's history," the Commanders said in a statement. "He cared deeply about everyone he worked with and always put the team first. Bobby is rightfully enshrined in both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Washington Ring of Fame and will go down as one of the greatest executives in NFL history. We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife Christine, children Kurt, Casey, Jeff and Jaime along with the entire Beathard family. Bobby's impact on our franchise and community will never be forgotten."
Much of Washington's legacy can be traced back to Beathard, from his drafting of Hall of Fame players like Monk and Grimm to the hiring of Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs. His work led to Washington being a powerhouse of the NFL in 1980s and early 90s, and his impact could be felt long after he stepped away from the role prior to the 1989 NFL Draft. A key example of that was the effort he put into drafting the players who eventually became "The Hogs," which is still regarded as one of the best offensive lines ever assembled.
Throughout his time in the NFL, Beathard had a reputation of being one of the best talent evaluators in the league. Columnist Clark Judge told The Washington Post the Beathard "changed the way people looked at players," and Sport Illustrated even went as far as to dub Beathard "the smartest man in the NFL."
"Beathard's energy is infectious," Paul Zimmerman wrote in the 1988 profile of Beathard. "His scouts work their tails off for him, jog with him, eat granola and raisins with him. He goes with them on the road, pounds the pavement, as he has done for 25 years. They were a frenzied band of recruiters in the days before the 1987 players' strike, and their work paid off. Not one Redskin veteran crossed the picket line, but the young replacements went 3-0."
Beathard once said that "a lot of people in the league thought I was nuts." Regardless of what people thought of him, the results were undeniable. Beathard just knew how to build championship teams.
"He's the best general manager in the history of the National Football League," said former Washington general manager Charley Casserly, who was on Beathard's staff for 11 seasons in Washington. "I was lucky enough to work for people like him.
"Bobby was a great human being, excellent eye for talent, very easy to get along with, would listen to you, encouraged you to have your own opinion. He would think outside the box and was very aggressive in his way of doing things."
In addition to his Hall of Fame induction, Beathard is a member of Washington's Ring of Fame and the franchise's 90 Greatest.