John Riggins

Running Back

“The Diesel”

John Riggins

14 seasons
11,352 rushing yards
104 rushing TDs
250 career receptions
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14

seasons

11,352

rushing yards

104

rushing TDs

250

career receptions
View full stats

"I’m not much for X’s and O’s. All that stuff really can’t prepare you for a defense. You have to adjust to what they do from play to play. That’s why I like to carry the ball a lot. It lets me get a feel for what the defense is doing.”

Read John Riggins' Bio

(Kansas)...6'2'', 230...Robert John Riggins ... Kansas All-American ... No. 1 draft pick, 1971 ... Career record: 11,352 yards, 104 TDs rushing; 2,090 yards receiving; 13,442 combined net yards, 116 TDs ... Most Valuable Player with 166 rushing yards, 43-yard winning touchdown, Super Bowl XVII ... Had five 1,000-yard rushing seasons ... Played in 1976 Pro Bowl ... All-NFL, 1983 ... Voluntarily sat out 1980 season ... Born August 4, 1949, in Seneca, Kansas.

BIO

John Riggins New York Jets & Washington Redskins

"I’m not much for X’s and O’s. All that stuff really can’t prepare you for a defense. You have to adjust to what they do from play to play. That’s why I like to carry the ball a lot. It lets me get a feel for what the defense is doing.”

Running back John Riggins played 175 games in 14 seasons with the New York Jets and Washington Redskins. A Big Eight rushing champion who broke Gale Sayers’ rushing record at the University of Kansas, Riggins was the first pick of the New York Jets and the sixth player selected in the 1971 NFL Draft.

He played in New York for five years but signed with the Redskins in 1976 as a free agent. His nine-year tenure with the Redskins was interrupted in 1980, when he voluntarily sat out the season.

The 6-2, 230-pound Riggins was not a spectacular running back but he was a classic workhorse ball carrier who specialized in the tough yardage in the big games. He carried 2,916 times for 11,352 yards and 104 touchdowns during his career. He also caught 250 passes for 2,090 yards and 12 touchdowns. His 13,435 combined net yards are among the best ever, as is his 116 touchdowns by rushing and receiving.

Riggins played in the 1982 and 1983 NFC championship games and Super Bowls XVII and XVIII and made the most of his comparatively few postseason appearances. He was the Most Valuable Player in Super Bowl XVII with a then-record 38 carries for 166 yards. He capped off his big day with a 43-yard touchdown run that clinched Washington's 27-17 victory over Miami.

Riggins rushed over 1,000 yards five times in his career and over 100 yards in 35 games, including a then-record six in post-season. He rushed 251 times for 996 yards and 12 touchdowns in nine post-season contests. Riggins followed his Super Bowl XVII success with a sensational season in 1983 when he rushed for a career-high 1,347 yards and a then-record 24 touchdowns. Following that season he was named All-Pro for the first time in his illustrious career.

STATS

John Riggins's Stats

Year

Team

G
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Rec
Yds
Avg
TD
1971 New York Jets
14
180
769
4.3
1
36
231
6.4
2
1972 New York Jets
12
207
944
4.6
7
21
230
11.0
1
1973 New York Jets
11
134
482
3.6
4
23
158
6.9
0
1974 New York Jets
10
169
680
4.0
5
19
180
9.5
2
1975 New York Jets
14
238
1005
4.2
8
30
363
12.1
1
1976 Washington
14
162
572
3.5
3
21
172
8.2
1
1977 Washington
5
68
203
3.0
0
7
95
13.6
2
1978 Washington
15
248
1014
4.1
5
31
299
9.6
0
1979 Washington
16
260
1153
4.4
9
28
163
5.8
3
1981 Washington
15
195
714
3.7
13
6
59
9.8
0
1982 Washington
8
177
553
3.1
3
10
50
5.0
0
1983 Washington
15
375
1347
3.6
24
5
29
5.8
0
1984 Washington
14
327
1239
3.8
14
7
43
6.1
0
1985 Washington
12
176
677
3.8
8
6
18
3.0
0
Career Total
175
2916
11,352
3.9
104
250
2090
8.4
12
Additional Statistics: Passing: 2-0