Life presents many difficult decisions. Many.
Not all of them are hard though, and for the Redskins, the decision to retire John Riggins' number should require the same amount of brainpower as flipping a light switch.
If the Glory Days of the Redskins franchise are defined by The Hogs - the hardworking, mega-talented offensive line - their de facto cult leader was Riggins.
He played for Washington for nine seasons, skipping one full year in a contract dispute before Joe Gibbs showed up at his house in Kansas in 1981 and asked him to come back. While he had some impressive seasons before Gibbs' arrival, the two men made sweet music once Riggins returned to the Redskins offense.
A true workhorse runner, Riggins scored 62 regular season touchdowns with Gibbs as head coach and went over 1,200 rush yards in both 1983 and 1984. His playoff performances are even more legendary, including the most iconic play in the organization's history.
🎥 January 30, 1983: 37 years ago today
Super Bowl XVII: Redskins (+3 | O/U 36.5) vs Dolphins
🗣 "He's going to go all the way!"
John Riggins scores a 43-yard TD on a crucial 4th & 1 to give Washington the 4th quarter lead and the eventual 27-17 win.pic.twitter.com/Up1NGgJW5K
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) January 30, 2020
While he made the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992, Riggins' numbers don't tell the whole story. He was charismatic and flashy in an outlaw type of way and fans loved him for it.
Dalton Ross is the Executive Editor at Large for Entertainment Weekly and an unabashed Redskins fan. He summed up what it was like to root for the Redskins when Riggins was running wild:
He made BY FAR the biggest cultural impact as a player over the past 40 years. I can't understate the love affair this town had with him in the 1980s. Just massive. The nicknames (The Diesel, Riggo's Rangers), the biggest play in franchise history, the bow at midfield of the playoff game against the Vikings, the Sandra Day O'Connor story!!!!. It's not just numbers with him. Even with the Smurfs, the Fun Bunch, and the Hogs, he was the face and personality of the team.
The face and personality of the team during it's best period of football? Retire his number.
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