It was a glorious weekend for Washington Redskins fans in Canton, Ohio, with another member of the family inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
So why wasn’t it more of a big deal around here? Why wasn’t there a mass exodus of Redskins fans to Ohio to bask in the glow of the celebration of the man who may be most responsible for the Super Bowl glory days of this franchise?
Why not more love for Bobby Beathard?
Joe Gibbs is probably the most beloved figure in Redskins history, the person most identified with the team’s three Super Bowl championships, the savior who actually returned, even if his return was less than successful.
But there is no Joe Gibbs without Beathard, the Redskins general manager who in 1981 convinced then-owner Jack Kent Cooke to take a chance on hiring Gibbs, a relatively unknown but highly regarded San Diego offensive coordinator.
Beathard was the architect of those Redskins teams that dominated the 1980s. He was the team’s general manager from 1978 through 1988 and oversaw the construction of the Super Bowl teams. But he left after 1988, weary of a growing power struggle with Gibbs — who introduced Beathard at the Hall of Fame ceremony.
When Beathard took a job in 1990 as the San Diego Chargers general manager, he built another Super Bowl team, the franchise’s first, in 1994.
Besides San Diego, he was also a scout on the great Kansas City Chiefs teams in the American Football League in the late 1960s and instrumental in those Miami Dolphin Super Bowl championship teams in early 1970s as director of player personnel.
Beathard is part of the great history of the Redskins and has a special place in the hearts and minds of Redskins fans for his work — particularly given the dysfunction they have witnessed in the front office under the ownership of Dan Snyder.
But the reality is, executives just don’t fill the buses for the trip to Canton.
Next year, though, may be different.
One of the biggest travesties of the voting process for Canton has been that Redskins great Joe Jacoby was eligible for election for 20 years and never got in, despite being a finalist three times.
I am not sure who on this planet doesn’t think Jacoby — voted to the NFL’s 1980s All-Decade Team, meaning he was considered among the most dominant at his position for his era — was a Hall of Fame tackle.
But he kept getting lost in the voting numbers game, and watched his friend and teammate along those great Hogs offensive lines, Russ Grimm, enshrined in Canton.
So now Jacoby’s Hall of Fame fate will be in the hands of the Senior Committee.
In a recent poll by the Talk of Fame Sports Network, Jacoby was named the most deserving candidate for that honor — and by a wide margin.
“Jacoby won in much the same way his Redskins won their final Super Bowl in 1992 — in a romp,” they said. “Jacoby received 80.4 percent of the vote to easily outdistance the other nine candidates, who included a pair of past NFL MVPs (John Brodie and Larry Brown) and a member of the NFL’s 75th anniversary team (Billy “White Shoes” Johnson). No other candidate received double-digit support with former 49ers running back Roger Craig a very distant second at 4.2 percent of the votes cast.”
I know one of those in that group is former Redskins running back Larry Brown, who also deserves a place in the Hall of Fame. But the Jacoby oversight is so glaring it needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
It would be hard to outdo the excitement of Redskins fans descending on Canton of 2008 — the year both Darrell Green and Art Monk were inducted — followed by Grimm two years later. But Jacoby is such a beloved figure, and the wait has been so long, it could rival those festivities of 10 years ago.
Here’s another reason: it may be the last Canton party for Redskins fans for a very long time.
Brian Mitchell, one of the greatest return men in NFL history and second on the all-time list in all-purpose yardage, behind only Jerry Rice, would seem to be the next worthy candidate via voter election, but he hasn’t gotten much traction to date. Neither has receiver Gary Clark, who was part of two Super Bowl championships and whose numbers are comparable to those of Hall of Famer Michael Irvin.
The Senior Committee could still consider Brown and possibly cornerback Pat Fischer, but we are more than 40 years removed from their playing days.
After that — the years following those Super Bowl championship teams — the pickings are slim. Actually, likely, none.
So while Redskins fans can be proud of Beathard taking his rightful place in Canton, the last party may be when the Joe Jacoby wrong is righted.
⦁ Thom Loverro’s podcast, “Cigars & Curveballs,” is available on iTunes, Google Play and the reVolver network.
Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.