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Question for the Old Men Here: Riggins


grhqofb5

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The younger generation of Redskins fans know John Riggins and have heard about his exploits, especially that great run during 1982 playoffs. What we don't hear a lot about was his earlier years with the skins. I know he came over from the jets and played during the Pardee years, then sat out the 1980 season in a contract dispute of some sort. Its been said that Riggins was a rebel, and he can certainly be outspoken even today. My question is: How did the Redskins fan base view Riggins during that period before he won the Super Bowl?

Edit: deleted request to compare to owens

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The younger generation of Redskins fans know John Riggins and have heard about his exploits, especially that great run during 1982 playoffs. What we don't hear a lot about was his earlier years with the skins. I know he came over from the jets and played during the Pardee years, then sat out the 1980 season in a contract dispute of some sort. Its been said that Riggins was a rebel, and he can certainly be outspoken even today. My question is: How did the Redskins fan base view Riggins during that period before he won the Super Bowl, and how did his behavior compare to that of Terrell Owens?

TO isn't worthy to lick the grass stains off Riggo's shoes...'nuff said...

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Riggins was a folk hero back then. To contrast him with TO, Riggins was revered by his teamates. He was the only non lineman to be included in the Hogs. He didn't do huge celebrations after every TD. He acted like thats what he was supposed to do.

Other than being a uniquely talented player he has NOTHING in common with TO.

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TO isn't worthy to lick the grass stains off Riggo's shoes...'nuff said...

Yeah we all understand that... What I really want to know is how was Riggins behavior viewed by the Redskins fanbase as a whole, not so much compared to that of Owens. I'll make an edit.

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Riggins was a folk hero back then. To contrast him with TO, Riggins was revered by his teamates. He was the only non lineman to be included in the Hogs. He didn't do huge celebrations after every TD. He acted like thats what he was supposed to do.

Other than being a uniquely talented player he has NOTHING in common with TO.

Riggins was and is much more noble than TO. On the field he got it done without much fanfare. Off the field he was an absolute wildman, but the fans loved that sort of stuff - hearing about him D&D in public, telling Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Conner to lighten up while passed out drunk under her table - these were the things of folk-legend to Redskins fans. We loved him because he was a rebel, but it NEVER interfered with the team in the press.

I LOVED that he never spiked the ball (dances were all but unheard of then).

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Riggins was and is much more noble than TO. On the field he got it done without much fanfare. Off the field he was an absolute wildman, but the fans loved that sort of stuff - hearing about him D&D in public, telling Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Conner to lighten up while passed out drunk under her table - these were the things of folk-legend to Redskins fans. We loved him because he was a rebel, but it NEVER interfered with the team in the press.

I LOVED that he never spiked the ball (dances were all but unheard of then).

Exactly...Riggo was a real character in his day, but he never bad mouthed his team or the Redskins organization. On the field or off, he was ALL REDSKIN!!!:cheers:

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His off-field antics were notorius, but he made an ass of himself without being a detriment to the team. He also didn't criticize his team or his coach. He was a real team guy, and while he enjoyed the spotlight at times, he never sought it. He also didn't spend a second thinking about what his next post-TD celebration would be. He always acted as if he'd been there a few times before and just walked away.

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It's funny now, to think back. When we first signed Riggo we weren't real good. Then he decided he wanted to "retire". You must keep in mind that this was before "instant media". You read "The Sporting News" or "Sports Illistrated" (back when both were more creditable), or hoped to catch the occasional new clip. You heard stories about Riggo fishing or hunting. Then suddenly he was back! You got bits and pieces (at least I did) of a story about Gibbs visiting him one morning...Riggo already with beer in hand...and they arrived at some sort of agreement. I actually thought "whatever"; he won't make that much difference anyway. Then we had the draft that included Bostic, Jacoby, and Grimm (I think). Then we drafted Monk, picked up Charlie Brown, ect and we were off. You probably know most of the rest. We went on the streak at the end of Joe's 1st year, and I still remember Jimmy the Greek saying we would have been favorites, or VERY dangerous at the very least, if we had been able to make the playoffs. Then we won the Super Bowl the next year. The first is always the best! It was a strange and wonderful time. Sorry to ramble so long...too many memories! :point2sky

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There is no comparison between Riggo or TO . Riggo didn't tear in to his teammates or coaches Riggo was more a free spirted person a lot of what he did was to himself it didn't hurt the team but come sunday he was ready to play he gave 110% he left not one thing out there on the field.

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but he never bad mouthed his team or the Redskins organization.

He saved that for his broadcasting exploits later on

At the time, the team needed to add some character to the team for the fans to get excited about. The fact that Riggins was that and a marquee talent that played hard and produced is why he became such a hero. It was such a different time in the early 80s that its hard to draw any comparisons. The guy was a scoring machine that won a Super Bowl MVP and is in Canton. Loyal fans will point to that before they laugh at his perceived selfishness when he left the first time, the 'Sandra baby' incident, etc. He was a very popular guy with his team mates, they used to hook up after practice in an equipment shed and down a few brewskies - for example, much to the disliking of a certain HOF coach.

For me if it wasn't for John Riggins I probably would not of been drawn to the Redskins. My fav 2 players were him and Monk. You couldn't have to more different personalities but they both produced on the field and were held in high regards by their team mates and opponents. The media coverage was about football games instead of the off the field situations, so I didn't care who did what outside the lines. Pride in being a redskins fan came from having a clue about good football, being knowledgeable, and shaking RKF on Sundays, and having an unrelenting support of the team -regardless.

Times change, but the faithful stay the same...

:logo:

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john_riggins.jpgriggins.jpg

0207_large.jpg

***

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/sports/redskins/longterm/1997/history/allart/super82.htm

Riggins, Redskins Run to Super Bowl Title, 27-17

By Paul Attner

Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, January 31, 1982; Page A1

PASADENA, Calif., Jan. 30 — The Washington Redskins rode John Riggins' record-breaking 166 yards rushing today to their first National Football League championship in 40 years, finishing off this magical season by overpowering the Miami Dolphins, 27-17, in Super Bowl XVII.

Moving behind the Hogs, his surging offensive linemen, Riggins was magnificent, scoring the winning touchdown on a 43-yard run in the fourth quarter. Carrying a Super Bowl record 38 times, he disrupted Miami's No. 1-rated defense with his relentless runs, rallying the Redskins from a 17-10 halftime deficit to only their third NFL title in history ...

***

http://www.footballresearch.com/articles/frpage.cfm?topic=riggins

JOHN RIGGINS THE DIESEL

By Don Smith

The Coffin Corner Volume XVI, 1994

John Riggins was an all-America running back at the University of Kansas where he surpassed most of Gale Sayers' rushing records. He was the No. 1 draft choice of the New York Jets and the sixth player chosen in the 1971 NFL draft. Yet he wasn't at all sure he would make it in the pros.

"I wasn't a very good player in college, to tell you the truth," he insisted. "I thought I might be the first No. 1 draft choice to be cut. I'd seen a few big names flop just ahead of me."

But Riggins was not cut. Instead he launched a 14-year pro career that saw him play five seasons with the Jets and nine years with the Washington Redskins. In 14 seasons, he rushed for 11,352 yards, the sixth highest total of all time, and he accounted for 13,435 combined net yards, ninth most ever. His 116 career touchdowns and 104 rushing touchdowns are both No. 3 in the record book. Those achievements were recognized for posterity in 1992 with his election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame ...

:helmet:
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The year he held out, fans were naturally ticked off at him. A better comparison would be Ricky Williams, not TO. In retrospect, him holding out was the best thing that could've happened, because it meant Pardee got fired, opening the door for Gibbs, and Riggo came back stronger after the time off (unlike Ricky Williams). In addition, looking back his "retirement" is understandable, since Pardee for some incomprehensible reason insisted on making him a blocking fullback instead of a rushing tailback. :doh:

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Riggins was a lot like John Belushi's character in the movie Animal House. Party Animal, Wildman, Crazy. etc.
Thats a great comparison! He never bad mouthed the organization, he was just a wild guy.

I remember a friend of my dad saying (very loudly) at training camp '81, "are you going to sit out another year?!..." I didn't understand what he was talking about at the time because I was 8 yrs old. Everyone just rolled their eyes at my dad's friend.

Wow the things you remember.

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To answer your question, prior to the "Great Gibbs Decision" his first year when he decided to go to a single back, double tight end formation, Riggins was used as much for blocking and short yardage as a featured running back in Washington. After the 0-5 start, Gibbs more or less invented what we now refer to as Smashmouth Offense. He had inhereted by no design of his own a massive offensive line. In fact, he thought Joe Jacoby was a DT when he first showed up for practice. Gibbs decided the best way to turn the season around was to overpower defenses with the Hogs and constant pounding by Riggo. Riggins' popularity as a key component to Hog football began to rise as the power game took shape it and reached a peak in Super Bowl XIII with the infamous touchdown run. The next year, he endeared himself to fans forever when he would spend the week prior to each game in the hospital in traction for his bad back and then run for 100+ yds. in the game. Redskin fans love that kind of toughness and dedication. Had it not been for Gibbs, though, Riggo just might have been a mere footnote in Redskin history.

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Most people don't remember that the first two years he was here George Allen used him primarily as a blocking back for Mike Thomas. He was one of the first big name free agents to switch teams and we wouldn't give him the ball. It was very frustrating at the time. And to the fan that said the Skins weren't very good when we first got him, that isn't correct. The first year he was on the team we went 10-4. The next year was Allen's last. Also John Riggins never played on a team with a losing record while he was with the Skins.

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I can't remember anyone who didn't think his exploits were hilarious (except for the 1980 season, which was sort of a non-exploit).

I don't remember which game(s) but I do remember at least once near the end of a game after a virtuoso performance, he came off the sideline and took a bow. The fans loved it.

:bow:

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