When ESPN realized that play-by-play announcer Al Michaels might leave Monday Night Football for NBC’s Sunday Football (USA Today) they decided to hire Tony Kornheiser of The Post/WTEM/ESPN as the third man in the booth. Kornheiser joins new former Redskins QB Joe Theismann, who parlayed his experience analysing American Gladiators and Terps basketball into the Sunday night gig when ESPN held the rights, and new play-by-play man Mike Tirico. While it might sound great having two Washingtonians in the booth, I cannot get too excited because John Riggins is not one of them.
Riggins, the Super Bowl XVII MVP is a natural choice, in fact he is signed on for Sunday Night Football on Westwood One radio. Perhaps that is what is keeping him off MNF, but one would think his contract would accommodate leaving for the superior MNF gig. He is a Hall of Fame running back, a contributor to Redskins report and occasional soap opera actor. Most of all he’s a showman and a larger-than-life character on and off the field.
When Joe Gibbs went to Kansas to talk Riggins out of a holdout in ‘81, Riggo opened the door with a can of beer in his hand. Despite it being 9 a.m. Gibbs accepted the offer a beer and soon after Riggins signed and released a statement: “I’m broke. I’m bored. I’m back.” After an` epic performance in the ‘82 playoffs he bowed to the RFK crowd. In ‘85 he made perhaps his most memorable comment, “C’mon Sandy baby. Loosen Up. You’re too tight” to Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. He then fell asleep under the table. Later, he would apologize with a bouquet of flowers. Years later, O’Connor would in turn send flowers to Riggins when he made his stage debut in Olney.
MNF blew it this time, but hopefully in a couple of years, they can correct the mistake and put Riggins in the booth where he belongs.
Retconned from Metroblogging DC