PRESIDENT BRUCE ALLEN: "Good afternoon, everyone. Today is a great day for the Washington Redskins and our proud history. The guy standing next to me is going to be our 49th member of our Ring of Fame at FedExField – Bobby Beathard.
"As you probably know and you'll see in this press release, his résumé is more than impressive. He's been with seven different Super Bowl teams in his career, obviously the architect of building the Washington Redskins."
BOBBY BEATHARD: "No, I went to seven Super Bowl games – I bought tickets… [laughter]"
ALLEN: "Yeah, you bought 'em all. Had them on the 50-yard line, too. Dan [Snyder] called Bobby ironically as planned on draft day to tell him he was going to go into the Ring of Fame. We were starting the second day and Dan called him and obviously Bobby was real happy. Bobby, we were talking last night about some of your great memories with the Redskins, and why don't you share some of those with the gang here today."
BEATHARD: "Well, I'm not as tall as I used to be. 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. 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.
"So I got here, and it was something I was anticipating would be a tough job, but then when I learned about the Washington, D.C. area, and the fans that the Redskins had, I thought, 'This will probably be the most fun I'll ever have in football.' And before this and after that, in all my years in football, I have never, ever been in an area that had fans like the Redskin fans. They were… I mean, we would come down, drive down Sunday mornings to the stadium real early in the morning and there were fans lined up along the streets for blocks coming into the Redskin stadium. And even then people honked their horns and would yell and all that, it was just the most amazing place.
"But anyway, this is a wonderful occasion for us, and a real honor to be brought back here by Bruce and Dan. Of all the years I was in the NFL, this organization has been the most supportive and the most fun. If I ever had to – thinking back of all the things – I've never been with an organization who has done this much for the people in it at present and the people who were in it in the past. It's just been great."
ALLEN: "Why don't you tell them… Last night we were also talking about building a team and you were talking about you loved building it through the draft, but if there was a trade or a free agent…"
BEATHARD: "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. We knew they were valuable, but we figured if it was a draft that we had evaluated before the draft, a group of college players coming out and it was rich in talent, that we could get players in the later rounds, we figured it was worth trading a first-round draft pick away when we could get these players in later rounds. So that was the reason for trading away first-round draft picks.
"We were criticized a lot for it. We kept the first round a couple times, but when we got good, we actually got one of our greatest players at the 28th pick, the last pick in the round, when we drafted Darrell Green. And so the way we did the draft it turned out, it ended up turning out better. We got more players because of not keeping that No. 1 draft pick.
"But, anyway, the way it was… and the coaches were a great coaching staff because I've been with teams where coaching staffs didn't even want to fool with players after their third-round pick. They said these guys aren't going to make the team anyway. Our coaches, Coach [Joe] Gibbs and the rest of the coaches, we had an agreement. It doesn't matter if the guy's a first-round draft pick or he was the last pick in the draft or kids that weren't drafted and we'd find as free agents right after the draft, they'd all be coached like first-round draft picks. So, I think on the first Super Bowl team and several after, if you look at the rosters of those teams, there were several players on each of those rosters that weren't even drafted, that were just there because they got an honest and a fair look and they worked their way through training camp and made the team."
ALLEN: "You know, he brought up coaches, and say the story like you did yesterday without some of the language, but what did Jack Kent Cooke say when you said you wanted to hire an assistant coach named Joe Gibbs?"
BEATHARD: "When I came in, Jack Pardee was the coach and I was there one year with Pardee and it was a whole different system than I wanted to put in at the Redskins. Jack Pardee was a George Allen guy and George did a great job, but they had a different philosophy. They wanted veterans and traded their draft picks away to get veterans. My philosophy when I came in, I said, 'I don't want to do that. I want to build through the draft.'"
ALLEN: "So when you told Mr. Cooke that you wanted to hire this guy, Joe Gibbs…"
BEATHARD: "We got rid of Pardee, and then I had a real close friend that I had a lot of faith in, Ernie Zampese, who was a great secondary coach in the NFL. I called Ernie, who was coaching with Joe Gibbs at San Diego, and I asked Ernie if Joe was ready for a head job. He said, 'Yeah, Joe is ready.' I called Joe and said, 'Do you want the job?' He said 'yeah.' 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.' So I went into Mr. 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.' 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.'
"So we lost our first four games and I would go out, I'd come in Monday with the coaches and look at the tapes – the films of the games – and leave Tuesday to go out to colleges around the country scouting. I got a call after we had lost a couple games and he said, 'I want you out at my house to speak,' and I said, 'I can't I'm leaving on a scouting trip.' And he said, 'Do you own the team?' and I said, 'No sir.' And he said, 'You get out to my house right now, and bring your coach. Not my coach, bring your coach out here.' So he'd ream us out every week. He said, 'I should fire you both.' But anyway, we started winning and I'd start to go to his 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.' That was a story I always liked from him."
ALLEN:"And one more thing for everyone, Bobby was talking – we were joking over a couple brews last night – about really what he thought was his great accomplishment. You were talking about the strike shortened season because you actually had to build two teams in that season. Why don't you tell them about that?"
BEATHARD: "Well one other thing before that, I'll tell you about the strike-shortened team. Did I tell you the story about Darrell Green? We had won a Super Bowl, so we had the last pick and I had been down to Texas A&I. It used to be called Texas A&I when Darrell was a corner down there. A little-bitty corner, but he had the fastest 100-meter time in the world that year and all that. I knew that coach down there, 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.'
"So we finally get to that part of the draft and I want to take Darrell Green. And I said, 'Rich, we're going to take Darrell Green.' He said, 'Who in the hell is Darrell Green?' I said, 'He's a corner at Texas A&I.' He said, 'What's he like?' and I told him, 'We drafted him.' He said, 'Bobby, there's nobody – nobody – that little that can play in this league.' And we got Darrell Green and he was even smaller than he thought."
ALLEN: "It worked out pretty good."
BEATHARD: "Yeah, it worked out pretty good. He lasted 18 years or whatever it was."
ALLEN:"But in the strike-shortened season?"
BEATHARD: "Yeah, we had a group of coaches that were really great. As opposed to a lot of the teams around the NFL that I spoke with in the strike-shortened year, we went out and grabbed a bunch of guys that we had already cut. I even took guys off a touch-football team I played with in LA. When I was out there, we had this real-neat offseason touch-football program that some NFL guys played in, bunch of rag-tag guys played in. We had a couple of guys on that team that I thought we're pretty good that weren't NFL players. Brought them back to play and they made the strike team.
"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.' 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. Because I talked to several guys around the league and they said, 'The hell with it, our season is down the drain. We don't want to coach these guys.' Our coaches did."
ALLEN: "That's great. I thank everyone. Congratulations. Our homecoming game vs. Minnesota, we'll unveil it and Bobby will be on the field, and might even be our homecoming king this year. Congratulations, Bobby."