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John Spanos was named President—Football operations for the Chargers in May 2015. He oversees all of the team’s football operations, including player personnel, coaching, player finance and the salary cap, medical, equipment, video, player engagement and security. He also represents the team at League and Management Council meetings.
Spanos began working for the Chargers in 1995, originally spending his summers in the football operations department as an assistant. From 1998-2000, he worked on contract negotiations and managing the salary cap under the direction of Ed McGuire before moving to New York to work in the NFL league office.
In 2003 Spanos began working full-time as a scout. He methodically worked his way up through the organization before his career took a giant leap forward in 2013 when he was named Executive Vice President of Football Operations. This new position afforded him the opportunity to put his first big imprint on the organization, and he did just that as a key member of the selection committee responsible for the hiring of General Manager Tom Telesco. That year, the team returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2009 and won its first playoff game since 2008.
Spanos has seen his role in the NFL Draft grow exponentially since his ascension in 2013, and the results have been overwhelmingly positive. The team’s 2013 draft yielded Pepsi Next NFL Rookie of the Year Keenan Allen. The 2014 draft class was headlined by cornerback Jason Verrett, who was selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2015 after leading the team in interceptions and passes defensed. The 2015 NFL Draft yielded the team’s leading rusher in top pick Melvin Gordon, while second-round pick, linebacker Denzel Perryman, came within five tackles of the first 100-tackle season by a rookie in team history. The 2016 draft class produced NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Joey Bosa and tight end Hunter Henry, who led the team in touchdown receptions during his rookie season. Most recently, the 2017 draft class received high marks from media pundits as the team brought in, among others, Clemson National Champion wide receiver Mike Williams and All-American linemen Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney.
The 2017 season will mark Spanos’ 22nd year in the NFL and his 19th with the team, with previous assignments within the organization including stints as a pro and college scout (2003-05), assistant director of college scouting (2006-07) and director of college scouting (2008-12).
It’s no coincidence that Spanos’ ascension within the organization coincided with one of the most successful eras on the field in franchise history. From 2004-09, the Chargers won 67 regular-season games, third-most in the entire league. They also won three playoff games during that stretch, giving them 70 total wins from 2004-09, which was fourth-most in the league. The Chargers reached the playoffs five times from 2004-09 and advanced to the AFC Championship Game in 2007. Since 2003, the Chargers have been to the playoffs a total of six times.
From 2001-03 Spanos served two stints in the NFL’s Management Council office in New York. In 2008, he further expanded his business acumen when he was among a select list of NFL executives invited to participate in the NFL’s Executive Education Program at the Stanford Business School in Palo Alto, Calif.
Spanos continues to work closely with McGuire. They have managed the salary cap and retained some of the team’s top players, negotiating multiple contract extensions for several current and former All-Pro players including Antonio Gates, quarterback Philip Rivers and Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson.
Staying true to his scouting roots, Spanos serves on the board of directors for National Football Scouting and is an Honorary Member of the University of California-San Diego (UCSD) Athletic Board.
In June 2010, Spanos was named one of the “Top 40 Under 40” Greek-Americans by Greek America Magazine. The acknowledgment came in recognition of his achievements in both business and community leadership.
Spanos was born in Stockton, Calif. He attended The Bishop’s School in La Jolla where he lettered in football as a wide receiver and defensive back. He also lettered in golf and basketball, and was a member of three CIF championship teams. After Bishop’s, Spanos attended Wake Forest University, graduating with a degree in business.
John and his wife Jodie reside in Corona del Mar.