Ex-Chargers GM Beathard again snubbed by HOF

August 17, 2016 GMT

The only sane answer to this insanity is that Bobby Beathard was a mad dictator in another life and has been found out.

Beathard was the football man his many disciples wanted to be when they grew up. He was king and everybody else was in his court. They sat at the kids’ table. He was the brain who found the brawn.

Let’s not say he’s been blackballed from the Pro Football Hall of Fame, although something’s fishier and smellier than a dead carp. Really. Please explain. Just what did he do? The media, which votes for this, liked him. He was accommodating. He even had all-important East Coast in him.


It has to go beyond GM-envy.

Did he rob banks with Bonnie? Has he been in Guantanamo waiting for the president to free him? Does he kick dogs? Did he surf so much he created global warming? Is he building a wall, vetting immigrants? Is he really Hope Solo?

This one fries me like a rancid piece of meat.

The Hall on Tuesday announced its two 2017 finalists in the Contributor category and many people who actually know something about football and less about The League’s political structure figured Beathard was a lock this time.

Uh-uh. Not so fast, Bobby.

The five media members who determined the finalists reached deep and came up with former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. And if that isn’t incredible enough, the other choice was Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

When my boss called me with this unfortunate information, I was driving, and I’m lucky my wife didn’t have to take over the wheel.

Year after year, they continue to make this horrific mistake. Now they’re compounding it.

You see, they all — and I mean everyone — tried to copy Bobby Beathard, shoving him into the 3-D Xerox. But they couldn’t match his touch, which was magic. He was a football matinee idol they couldn’t figure out.

And then, so late in a brilliant career, Bobby got the yips. For whatever reason, he lost the touch. So he found the sunset and faded into it.

Beathard was canned as Chargers general manager and then retired in 2000. The greatest purveyor of talent — especially unknown talent — the NFL has known should have been inducted into the Hall five years later.

He’s still waiting.

Few in the Hall have his resume. He was a scout with the Chiefs when they won the AFL championship. He was director of player personnel with the Dolphins when they won two Super Bowls (including the unbeaten season of 1972). He then became GM in Washington. He hired Joe Gibbs away from Don Coryell and the Chargers as head coach. He won two Super Bowls there (with two different quarterbacks), and another was won with his players (and a third different quarterback) after he left. He took over a polluted San Diego franchise in 1990 and had the Chargers in the Super Bowl five seasons later.


But the voters seem to remember the Beathard near the finish line, when he didn’t win, when he traded away top picks, when he drafted Ryan Leaf (which he had to do).

Two years ago, when the Hall first established the long overdue Contributor category, GMs Bill Polian and Ron Wolf were inducted. Polian’s Colts went 1-15 his last year there. He won one Super Bowl. Wolf won one Super Bowl as GM, in Green Bay, and was lauded for his work in Oakland. As good a football man as Wolf was, he wasn’t making any Raiders football decisions without the express, written consent of Al Davis.

I have no problem with their induction. Polian and Wolf are excellent football men. I do have a problem with them getting in before Beathard.

Last year, there was one Contributor finalist — former 49ers owner Ed DeBartolo. A great owner. But he got himself into all kinds of legal trouble and basically was drummed out of the League. A coincidence he went into the Hall the year the Super Bowl was to be played in the San Francisco area?

I was on the Hall’s voting committee and in the room, before the Contributor category was introduced, and Tagliabue’s name came up more than once. He never got the votes. I’ve retired from voting, but I can tell you February’s meeting to select Hall members is going to be Ali-Frazier in Manila.

He has no chance with West Coast voters, with a whole lot of voters. In his 17 years as commissioner, he basically ignored the West. He slammed San Diego before the last Super Bowl here. So he had labor peace. We forget his last collective bargaining agreement was so bad it had to be redone, that the owners went along with it so his parachute would be golden instead of urine yellow.

Jerry Jones? He owns the Cowboys and calls himself the GM. Truth is, he’s never won anything Jimmy Johnson didn’t create (you can make a great case for Johnson being in the Hall). Since 1996, Dallas has won exactly two (2) playoff games. Five straight times they lost in the first round. Their playoff record over 20 years: 2-7.

Hall of Fame stuff.

There’s no denying Jones is a powerful owner. His latest feat is said to be providing interference for Stan Kroenke’s run from St. Louis to L.A., where Jerry was hatched. Truth is, Kroenke didn’t need Jones’ help. He was going regardless (and as we soon will see, he doesn’t want any tag-along tenants in his Inglewood digs, either).

These two, and not Beathard?

He turns 80 in January. They could have given Bobby a Hall of Fame birthday present.

Instead, he’ll get what he usually gets — the shaft.