“Football was never my life. The guys [and] the relationships were my life.” – John Riggins
NFL Network’s Emmy-nominated series A Football Life continues this week with a profile of the Hall of Fame running back John Riggins. Premiering Wednesday, November 21 at 8:00 PM ET, John Riggins: A Football Life explores the life of the running back known as ‘the Diesel,’ from his upbringing in Centralia, Kansas, to his NFL career with the Washington Redskins and New York Jets, and the colorful personality he was known and loved for.
The one-hour documentary features sit-down interviews with Riggins, his brothers Frank and Bill Riggins, former teammates Joe Theismann and Joe Namath, and former Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs, among others. John Riggins: A Football Life also includes footage from the infamous Salute to Congress Dinner Riggins attended in 1985, and his Hometown Hall of Fame plaque ceremony at Centralia High School from October, 2012.
A first-round pick of the New York Jets from the University of Kansas in 1971, Riggins played five seasons in New York before signing with the Washington Redskins. After sitting out the entire 1980 season, new Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs traveled to Kansas to convince Riggins to return to the team. Under Gibbs, Riggins flourished and had the best seasons of his career, which included a victory in Super Bowl XVII in which he was named MVP after rushing for a then-Super Bowl record 166 yards, and a season at the age of 34 when he rushed for a career-high 1,347 yards and a then-record 24 touchdowns.
John Riggins: A Football Life includes interviews with the following people:
Frank Riggins – John’s older brother
Bill Riggins – John’s younger brother
Lisa Marie Riggins – John’s wife
Joe Namath – New York Jets quarterback, 1965-76
Joe Theismann – Washington Redskins quarterback, 1974-85
Joe Gibbs – Washington Redskins head coach, 1981-92 & 2004-07
Pepper Rodgers – University of Kansas football coach
Len Mohlman – Centralia High School football coach
Emerson Boozer – New York Jets running back, 1966-75
Ron Saul – Washington Redskins guard, 1976-81
Jeff Bostic – Washington Redskins center, 1980-93
John Kent Cooke, Jr. – Former Washington Redskins President
Charles Robb – Former Virginia Governor
Emmy-nominated actor from CBS’ The Good Wife, Josh Charles, narrates.
For the first look at John Riggins: A Football Life, visit:
Following are select quotes from John Riggins: A Football Life:
– “Football was never my life. The guys [and] the relationships were my life. I have an ability to relate to damn near everybody.” – John Riggins
– “I realized in that moment that physically speaking my talents were well beyond Joe [Namath’s] talents. So then I realized, ‘What am I doing here? This doesn’t make sense because it’s always going to be about Joe.’” – John Riggins
– “After that I was pretty much defeated. I look back on it and there were a lot of things going on, but to me it was like, ‘OK, this is as good as it’s going to get.’” – John Riggins on the loss to the Dallas Cowboys in 1979
– “The biggest misconception is that he is a clown. He’s not a clown; he’s a showman instead. He knows intuitively the right thing to do and yet do it in a colorful way.” – John Kent Cooke, Jr.
– “He was just everything you want in a great, big running back. You didn’t hit John; John hit you.” – Joe Theismann
– “John event went to George Allen one time and said, ‘Hey, why don’t you give me a 60 [jersey] number since I’m only going to get the ball once or twice a game?’” – Ron Saul
Below is the remaining broadcast schedule for A Football Life, airing on Wednesday nights at 8:00 PM ET:
- December 5 – Barry Sanders
- December 12 – Marcus Allen
- December 19 – The Immaculate Reception
Airing throughout the NFL season, A Football Life examines the iconic individuals and subjects that have had an undeniable and profound impact on the history of the National Football League, offering an inside look into their untold stories.
Every episode of A Football Life and all NFL Network programming is streamed live on NFL Mobile from Verizon, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
NFL Network airs seven days a week, 24 hours a day on a year-round basis and is the only television network fully dedicated to the NFL and the sport of football. For more information, log on to www.nfl.com/nflnetwork. NFL.com is the exclusive internet home of NFL Network.
– NFL MEDIA –